Friday, May 8, 2009

Academia in France

A quarter of French Universities are at a standstill because of strikes and protests against proposed reforms. These reforms include requiring faculty to do research, paying people for performance, and allowing schools to act more autonomously. Article here

Some of the quotes in the article are priceless and demonstrate just how utterly clueless some of those in French academia are ...
"Competition is just a right-wing ideology - in the case of humanities, competitiveness doesn't even make any sense," says Sorbonne English Professor Barbara le Lan
and

"We have a republican conception of universities," explains Sandra Nossik, a student who has now spent eight years in the French university system and who was demonstrating last week in a Paris train station.

"They have to be open to everyone," she added. "We don't like this neo-liberal view of knowledge... and we don't want to have to answer to the government or businesses."

Thankfully here in the US, we have a highly competitive academic system which competes not only for the best students, but also for the best faculty and the best practices.