“ The longer we wait, the more the situation will become unmanageable “, deplores Michel Deneken, president of the University of Strasbourg, co-signer of a column published on November 25 by the Udice network, which brings together ten French universities. Michel Deneken and his peers are alarmed by a “Mental illness” growing among students. They ask for a resumption of classes in early January.
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Jean Castex, for his part, ruled out an early reopening of these “ large collective places ” and should stick to the horizon outlined on November 24 by the President of the Republic: two weeks after January 20, ie early February.
Too early to measure the damage
In addition to the deleterious effects of isolation on young people, Michel Deneken also fears for the course of the courses. “ Regardless of the quality of distance education, it is not the same, he continues. It is too early to say how many students will drop out, but what is certain is that the damage will be measured first in those who were, already, not the best off in life. “
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Inequalities also pointed out by the Federation of General Student Associations (Fage). “ From one university to another, distance learning continuity is not guaranteed with the same efficiency, regrets Yanis Limame, first vice-president of Fage. Students in pre-school classes can continue to follow their lessons. “
“Public places without the possibility of control”
A difference in treatment that university presidents struggle to understand. “ The government acts as if the colleges are public places with no possibility of control, wonders Michel Deneken. However, we are able to put protocols in place, with barrier gestures, physical distancing and occasional closures when a case is declared. All this had been put in place in September in an overall effective manner. “
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Will the government review its copy? The Prime Minister indicated that he was going, in these “ next days “, receive university presidents. At the same time, he announced new schemes for students, including 50 million euros devoted to the creation of 20,000 student jobs to support dropouts. Contracts will be signed with the CROUS for a period of four months, at the rate of ten hours per week. An initiative hailed by Fage and which should allow “ both to give a financial boost and to fight against the isolation of young people ”, hopes its vice-president Yanis Limame.
The latter also welcomes the prospect of an envelope of 56 million euros to double the emergency aid granted by the CROUS. “ The emphasis should be on communication, so that everyone is informed of their rights ”, he specifies. Before calling back : “Insecurity and social isolation have been a reality for many students for a long time. With the health crisis, these phenomena are taking on an unprecedented scale. “