Some of these issues have been discussed here in the past, so I thought this may be of interest ...
From: William Keith <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2009 08:31:00 -0600
>Subject: Pétition : Appel international à tous les universitaires
>French universities are on a permanent strike.
>The French system of universities is public, with teachings and research
>of high quality. It has always enjoyed independence, liberty and
>recognition. But, within the past few months, the government has decided,
>brutally and without any concertation, to end this system and replace it
>by some sort of marketplace model of research where arbitrary decisions
>and instability prevail.
> The previous statute of the academics has ended and their teaching
> duties are now decided on face value.
> Permanent positions are being cut dramatically and being replaced by
> temporary, insecure and dependent positions.
> PhD students can now be fired without any justification during the first
> six months of their PhD, and are now made available to private industries
> without any recognition of their rights.
> The training of teachers is in distress.
> Universities are autonomous (but in fact, they compete with each other
> under a reinforced government control) and without sufficient funding,
> they will soon have to put in place tuition fees and put themselves under
> the influence of local funding sources
> The CNRS is suppressed and changed into a funding agency managed by
> Academic researches are evaluated by inadequate and inept "quantitative
> means" rejected by all scholar societies
>We, academics and researches from all around the world, assert that these
>decisions are bureaucratic, financially motivated and dangerous. Similar
>decisions were or are imposed in other institutions of many countries. As
>such, we support the French academics in their fight. If, the education
>and the research of the country of the Encyclopédie, of Voltaire and
>Rousseau, and of the Declaration of Human Rights, are now reduced to
>market laws and under the influence of the political powers, then it is
>the freedom of the whole world that is under threat.
>The powers that are imposing this new deal are organizing themselves. To
>defend our common values, we need to organize ourselves better and in
>greater number. Therefore, we call for all academics of all political
>sides, of all beliefs and of all creeds to join to oppose these changes
>that no humanist scientists of any time ever supported.
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