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France aims to tame students

The French authorities have decided to tackle the problem of the huge number of university students who do not finish their first study year. Currently around 50 percent of the new bachelor-level students quit their studies only after one or two semesters. To put an end to this, the French Minister of Education Valérie Pécresse has introduced a new action plan, "Réussite en licence". The goal of the project is to diminish the drop-out figure to 25 percent. In order to achieve this, the curriculum of the first study year is going to be re-organised. More focus is going to be on foreign languages and new technologies and communication between students and staff will be enhanced by regular meetings.

Another problem of the French state universities are the “ghost students”: students who register at universities but never attend classes or take exams. As the state higher education institutions are funded according to their student numbers, the Ministry of Education wishes to weed out the non-attending students in order to rationalise state spending. Many non-attending students register only for financial reasons such as student discounts and cheaper social security. It is estimated that 10-20 percent of registered students of literature in Sorbonne, for example, have never actually set foot in a lecture hall. In the future, the student number – and thus the amount of financing - is to be counted according to the attendance at the end of the courses.         

With these actions, the French Government continues to go on with its drastic education reforms. Previously, a new legislation granted the state universtities more responsibilites and autonomy to manage their teaching and research, a change not so well received among the French students. 

French Ministry of Education (in French)
Le Figaro