In this back-to-school week, universities are expected to welcome “The most fragile students” in groups of ten. In reality, priority is given to holding the exams. Started in December, these tests validating the end of the semester resumed on January 4. With face-to-face exams in some universities, others organized remotely, and sometimes a clever mix of the two, a certain “Cacophony” reigns, points out Maryam Pougetoux, vice-president of the UNEF student union.
Attempt to block the Sorbonne campus in the 5e arrondissement of Paris on the first day of the start of the school year, petition from students from the University of Paris-Est-Créteil… All denounce the holding of face-to-face tests, after months of distance learning and end-of-year celebrations, which could raise contamination rates. The rule set by the Ministry of Higher Education is however clear: “Face-to-face tests can be maintained”, if they respect ” very strict organizational constraints to ensure health security ”.
“I didn’t want to put myself in danger anymore”
Joanne, 21, started, anxious, two weeks of partial at Cergy-Paris-University. “If the gauges in the amphitheatres are respected, and the wearing of the mask too – although often under the nose – it is not the same outside the amphitheater, underlines the student in master of law. Distancing is hardly respectable in the corridors and during lunch breaks. “
For her part, Lili, 18, is reassured to have spent a partial from home on January 4. The student in history license at the Sorbonne (Paris-1) did not want to relive the same experience as in December. “Public transport, students confined to other regions returning to Paris… I no longer wanted to put myself in danger”, she says. Maryam Pougetoux, vice-president of UNEF, confirms. “We have seen students positive for Covid, or contact cases, wanting to come to their exams to avoid ending up in remedial sessions, it’s very risky”, she laments.
A principle of equity at stake
At Cergy-Paris-Université, where nearly 20,000 students will take their exams, the decision of face-to-face is defended by its president, François Germinet. In the name of the principle of“Equity” between students – this is to avoid connection problems at home or the hustle and bustle of the little brother – and some ” quality ” of the evaluation: it is necessary ” guarantee the value of the diploma ” with partials held in a limited time, without the possibility of cheating.
→ READ. Covid-19: back to school maintained
“We are facing a dangerous inequality, raises Joanne, the law student at this university. On the job market, the diplomas will be mixed: some will have spent partials face-to-face, the difficulty of which is greater, while others were on the computer with their lessons and the boyfriend next door. “
At the University of Bordeaux-Montaigne, the choice of distance was imposed on Lionel Larré, its president. “We feared that the health situation would not allow us to hold the exams in attendance and force us to change our minds at the last minute”, he explains. Difficult for the university to organize itself in the face of this “Constant uncertainty”, continues the president.
He accuses the government of “Contradictory injunctions” Between “The inducement” organize face-to-face exams and ” the ban ” to welcome students for lessons. “We do not wish to sanctify the evaluation. Pedagogically, it is especially the face-to-face lessons that are interesting for the pupils ”, he supports. Despite the circular of December 19, the partial reopening of universities on January 20 – depending on the evolution of the health situation – promises to be complicated. Many universities are announcing on their sites that the recovery will take place online, and not on the benches.