Universities ordered to sort out their training

Published on September 8, 2023 at 5:20 p.m.Updated Sep 8, 2023, 5:24 PM

After the announcements of budget cuts and the speech on “sleeping money” in universities, the executive explains, at the start of the school year, that we must “think about the economic model of universities”.

“We want to launch work” on this subject, said the Minister of Higher Education, Sylvie Retailleau, this Friday during her back-to-school conference. The former president of Paris-Saclay University, who took gloves to announce upcoming drains on working capital to his former colleagues, at the end of last week, was this time much more radical. “It is our responsibility to use the money that is lying dormant, if we want solutions for the purchasing power of agents. With 1 billion euros unused, we need to think about the economic model of universities,” she said.

“Universities must do much better”

His remarks come after those of Emmanuel Macron, Monday evening, in his interview with YouTuber Hugo Travers . “We must have the courage to review our university courses and ask ourselves: do they lead to qualifications? Are they qualifying? » “The universities, with their budget, must do much better,” replied the Head of State.

“They must have the courage to say: “We are not leaving these training courses open because we have teachers on these training courses”, which is sometimes the case. But rather: “Does this training make it possible to train young people and provide them with employment? »» Too much training “takes place in poor conditions”, continued the Head of State. “So we have to reallocate things. » The executive clearly wants to clean up training, at the university as in the professional path .

“No more short training courses”

Emmanuel Macron wants to “develop more short training courses, between one and three years, as close as possible to the field, in peripheral towns where the cost of living is lower”. Universities are concerned, but also engineering and business schools. “With the resources we are providing, we must do much better,” he underlined last Monday, brandishing the figure of “50% of young people enrolled in a bachelor’s degree [qui] are not going to take the exam. And by pointing out “a huge problem of orientation and a form of collective waste “.

This is one of the axes of Sylvie Retailleau’s roadmap for this new school year. The minister says she wants “an acceleration of the transformation of the training offer to better train people in knowledge and professions”. “We must offer our students paths that allow them to become enlightened citizens, but also to integrate the professional world,” she emphasizes. We have not yet won the battle for successful guidance for the first university cycle in particular, we have not made enough progress on lifelong learning. »

Indicators for all licenses, by June

To “re-industrialize the country, decarbonize it and adapt training to the needs of society”, this requires guidance from middle school and short courses or licenses “synonymous with a smooth career path and successful professional integration” , adds Sylvie Retailleau.

Indicators on the integration rates of all general licenses will be put in place by June 2024. They will then concern, at the end of 2024, engineering and business schools and doctorates, to cover the entire field of higher education.

To invest in so-called promising sectors (sustainable food, digital, etc.), the executive is banking on calls for projects from the France 2030 plan, with “nearly 20,000 training places [qui] will be proposed on these issues. And also on the new objectives, means and performance contracts, which condition the money paid to establishments on the policy pursued. The government has just announced two new waves of contractualization.

In higher education, where the term “professional integration” was still popping up ten years ago, that of “performance” raises questions. Some university presidents are choked up at the idea of ​​their working capital being taken away and, they say, their good management being punished. One of them, although favorable to this logic of “performance”, also points out “the schizophrenia of a centralizing State which wants to manage everything, while holding a discourse on autonomy of universities “.

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