Wednesday, April 18, 2007

French science   posted by p-ter @ 4/18/2007 10:26:00 PM

While we here in the US go on about "framing" in the 2008 election (or whatever the hell that uproar was about), France is preparing for the first round of their presidential election on Sunday. The major candidates (Sego, Sarko, and the farmer dude) all answered some questions for Nature, which were published this week. Check the promises made in the answer to this question; I'm actually curious about the chances of real reform getting pushed through:
How would you modernize France's universities?

M. Sarkozy: As of the day after the elections, I will be ready to launch a major reform of French universities designed to give them much more autonomy. This will include powers to recruit, to fix salaries, to decide how they organize themselves, to build endowments and to diversify their funding sources. I will also rebuild the way that they are governed, restructuring their executive boards and the ways they choose their presidents.

M. Bayrou: After a massive increase in student numbers over the past two decades, enrolment has now stabilized, and this makes it possible to envisage a new phase of long-term development. The universities suffer three ills: the absence of recognition of the PhD, lack of funding and a poorly adapted governance structure. We need to reach spending-per-student levels equal to or more than the average of OECD countries, continue the rapprochement with the Grandes Ecoles that has now begun, and make changes in the ways the universities are run.

Mme Royal: I favour a rational, optimal use of resources based on evaluation; this means we must provide favourable working conditions for all researchers. If we supported only a small proportion of researchers it would mean that we would be paying the others without benefiting from their potential. That would be absurd.
I also find it striking how easily one can classify the candidates into their respective places on the political spectrum based on a single question.