University selection not up for discussion

5th April 1996 at 01:00
University students and staff have a month to give their views on what the future direction of higher education should be.

Education minister Francois Bayrou has sent out a questionnaire covering all aspects of academic life and based on consultations with nearly 100 delegations.

He launched the higher education debate last October, after being given the job of introducing a student charter, one of President Jacques Chirac's election pledges.

Bayrou plans to conclude this phase of debate by the beginning of May, introducing the most urgent measures next October. He said in Le Monde that he regarded nothing as taboo, but he has ruled out the introduction of selection.

He said: "I place on record that I am against selection for entry into initial courses. This idea is not a remedy. It is socially unjust." He believed that a more appropriate choice of course would be a more effective way of reducing the high drop-out rate.

As well as tackling this early failure rate and the content of the proposed student charter, priority areas raised in the questionnaire were teaching methods and how universities can improve technological education and research.

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