Life Style

In Vendée, a “street course” to alert students to the distress of students



“It is no longer anger that we feel, but sadness”, says Antonin, 19, a second year student of the DUT Information Communication in La Roche-sur-Yon (Vendée). I am drowning in the flow of emails and social networks which are our only means of communication, I spend my time at home except to go out shopping and I have never known such a demotivation “.

With around forty other students, Antonin met yesterday afternoon at Place Napoléon, in the heart of La Roche-sur-Yon, for an outdoor class organized by their teacher, Olivier Ertzscheid, lecturer in information and communication at the University of Nantes (Loire-Atlantique).

→ READ. Higher education: towards a start of the 2020 academic year like no other

Not easy, between the passing of the buses, the Christmas music in the background and the bells of Saint-Louis church to follow this digital culture course with attention. But the location is meant to be symbolic for this teacher-researcher, who made this decision the day after the speech by the President of the Republic announcing the reopening of masses (with a limited capacity) but not that of the universities, on November 24. .

“I really took a blow with the club and I said to myself that after the street prayers, I was going to start street classes, he explains. It’s time to regain visibility after weeks of being invisible behind our screens. The universities must be reopened immediately because the students are in deep psychological, social and economic suffering… ”

“Gigantic demotivation”

After asking the diocese to organize a course in a church in La Roche-sur-Yon – a request to which the parish priest concerned was unable to give a favorable answer – Olivier Ertzscheid opted for an outdoor course, on the main square of La Roche-sur-Yon, where he teaches in the DUT Information Communication. Its first and second year students were invited, like any other passing student. Not all are there, because many have returned to live with their parents for this second confinement.

→ READ. The confinement undermines the morale of the students: “Once a week, I tell myself that I will let go of everything”

Lola, 21, may have left her studio to join her parents in Vallet, in the Nantes vineyards, she insisted on attending this outdoor class. “It’s very complicated to concentrate behind a screen, she admits. We are much more attentive in a classroom, surrounded by other students , abounds her friend Marie, 22 years old, delighted to find her classmates, the time of a sunny afternoon.

“We can adapt and shorten our sessions, the demotivation is gigantic, observes Olivier Ertzscheid. And that concerns everyone, from the dropout to the top of the class. Added to this is a considerable level of stress, especially during this exam period … “.

No “odd jobs”

The lack of sociability also weighs on them terribly. “I have a student who told me that he doesn’t even call his friends anymore, since they have nothing to talk about, he continues. This lack of social relations damages them. This generation really saw confinement as confinement… ”.

→ READ. Lighter confinement: help for students, but no lessons

There are also those who find themselves in great financial difficulty, for lack of access to the traditional “odd jobs” which make it possible to make ends meet. “I had to start an opener’s job in a performance hall but we are still waiting for it to reopen”, worries Ophélie, 25, in “Info-Com” with Marie and Lola. On the Nantes campus, a solidarity grocery store run by student volunteers distributes 300 bags of food aid every Monday, and requests continue to grow.

Not all of them can afford to have a proper Internet connection to allow them to take courses remotely. “I had to buy a USB key from a student who does not have 4G at home, says the teacher-researcher. There are thousands of students like that who pass through the cracks of the aids put in place… ”. For him, the term “sacrificed generation” is not excessive.

It is indeed a generation which does not see the end of the crisis, which no longer sees the horizon, he denounces. The closure of universities is like a never-ending day… ”. Antonin expands these fears to the uncertain world around him: “To see everything breaking down around us when we are building ourselves is morally very hard …”

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