Blaming higher education for having “no price”, Macron outlines a “systemic” reform of the universities

SPEECH – In front of the presidents of universities, Emmanuel Macron denounced higher education “at several speeds” and assured “that we do not will not be able to remain permanently in a system where higher education has no price”.

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It looks like a program. Emmanuel Macron, who has not yet announced his intentions for the presidential election which is fast approaching, outlined Thursday at the end of the France Universities congress his ambitions to reform higher education.

After having established a assessment of the actions of his government during his mandate, Emmanuel Macron assured the presidents of French universities that it was necessary “redouble your efforts so that on the horizon of 000 years, our university is stronger” and that it attracts “the best international students and talents”.

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A bygone “multi-speed model”The President of the Republic then denounced the French higher education system based on “a multi-speed model”, with on one side the Grandes Ecoles and on the other the universities. But this model is “gone” for Emmanuel Macron who sees in universities the future “pillars of excellence, the center of gravity for research as for training”. “We must launch a new investment policy in higher education and research for 07 years to come” he said.

He particularly regretted that, despite the opening of 085.000 places in faculties, “51% of students only take first year exams”. The reflection of a “problem of orientation and choice” which represents “a tremendous mess” for the Head of State. “It’s a waste for all those who have followed, provided the courses for these students, it’s also a waste because it means that we refused access to other students for whom it was sometimes the first choice.”

“A systemic transformation of our universities”

Emmanuel Macron finally pleaded for a “profound change of approach, a systemic transformation of our universities ” which have “no price for almost all of the students. “Beyond the question of means, we have a structural question and we cannot stay in a system where higher education is priceless for almost all students, where a third of students are scholarship holders. and where, however, we have so much student precariousness and a difficulty in financing a model which is much more financed with public money than anywhere in the world to respond to international competition” he declared. For this, the president proposes that universities “guarantee the orientation of young people towards employment” and pass with the State “real contracts of objectives and multi-annual means”.

Reactions on the left

The speech and especially the innuendoes of the president on a possible increase in the price of the expenses of registration for the university has aroused many reactions on the left. “Let’s refuse the establishment of a selection by money in the higher education. The university must be free”, wrote Alexis Corbière, LFI deputy and spokesperson for Jean-Luc Mélenchon, on Twitter.

The PS candidate for the presidential election Anne Hidalgo has for her part castigated “social brutality”. The spokesperson for her party Gabrielle Siry-Houari also denounced a desire “truly depressing” of the president “to destroy everything that makes up the French system”.

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“The college reserved for rich kids is the American model”, reacted the PCF candidate for the presidential election Fabien Roussel. Emmanuel Macron’s proposal is, according to him, “completely off the mark”.

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