Higher education under-performing

A university lecturer responds to Higher Education Minister Valérie Pécresse's claims

1 April 2010

WELL done on asking (some of) the right questions in your interview with Higher Education Minister Valérie Pécresse (Connexion, February). Two points:

Ms Pécresse says, of French students receiving grants, that “naturally we do run checks on their diligence in their studies”.

In 11 years as a professor in the French university system, I have never been asked to report on the diligence, or even attendance in class, of students with a grant. Nor has my wife. The only check is whether they show up for exams.

That is why we see students with grants in exam rooms doing nothing other than entering their name and student number on the exam paper.

She also says that “British diplomas are very well-recognised in France”. I have a Masters student who is French and who lived in Britain. There, she took the British teacher-training certificate (the PGCE). She has now returned to France. Her British PGCE is not recognised here.

Philip CARR, Professor of Linguistics
Department of English, Montpellier University

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