May 12, 2006

FLUSH TWICE, IT'S A LONG WAY TO HADES:

Higher Learning in France Clings to Its Old Ways (ELAINE SCIOLINO, 5/12/06, NY Times)

There are 32,000 students at the Nanterre campus of the University of Paris, but no student center, no bookstore, no student-run newspaper, no freshman orientation, no corporate recruiting system.

The 480,000-volume central library is open only 10 hours a day, closed on Sundays and holidays. Only 30 of the library's 100 computers have Internet access.

The campus cafeterias close after lunch. Professors often do not have office hours; many have no office. Some classrooms are so overcrowded that at exam time many students have to find seats elsewhere. By late afternoon every day the campus is largely empty.

Sandwiched between a prison and an unemployment office just outside Paris, the university here is neither the best nor the worst place to study in this fairly wealthy country. Rather, it reflects the crisis of France's archaic state-owned university system: overcrowded, underfinanced, disorganized and resistant to the changes demanded by the outside world.

"In the United States, your university system is one of the drivers of American prosperity," said Claude All├Ęgre, a former education minister who tried without success to reform French universities. "But here, we simply don't invest enough. Universities are poor. They're not a priority either for the state or the private sector. If we don't reverse this trend, we will kill the new generation."


But retirees will still get their welfare checks, non?

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 12, 2006 4:13 PM
Comments

Bien sur.

Posted by: erp at May 12, 2006 5:43 PM

In the end they will fight over the levers of power, not realizing the levers are rusted in position and have to be removed.

Posted by: Mikey at May 13, 2006 11:17 AM
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