Tuesday January 12, during the weekly meeting of the parliamentary group La République en Marche, Jean Castex faced a salvo of arrests: the parliamentarians worried about the distress of the students, confronted with the isolation and the precariousness since the start of the health crisis. A few days earlier, Saturday, January 9, the suicide attempt of one of them raised the tension on the subject.
Two days after this offensive by deputies, Jean Castex announces, at the same time as the advance of the curfew at 6 p.m., the return of first-year students in half-groups for the only tutorials. With some deputies, we try to see “The start of a process”, the sign that “The file is passed on the top of the pile”, and we are satisfied to see that the Prime Minister was sensitive to the “Pressure” of the majority.
“The deputies are in their role by questioning the government. It is a work of common construction ”, nuance the entourage of Frédérique Vidal, the minister of higher education. And if “Last week was a pivotal moment at the start of the second semester”, “the ministry has been mobilized since the first day on the situation of the students”, we assure.
Yet members of the majority continue to find the government response insufficient. “It is not with tutorials in half-groups that we will solve the problem of the psychological distress of students, impatient an elected representative. We must do more and do it now: at the end of April, the academic year is over. “
“Doubling the number of university health psychologists will not be enough”, warns, about another measure of the government, the deputy MoDem Brahim Hammouche. “Today there is one psychologist for 29,882 students. It is 25 times below international recommendations ”, asserts the elected representative of Moselle, himself a psychiatrist. Supporter of a full reimbursement of psychology consultations for students, he is preparing to write to the government to suggest it.
A real desire to study
The concern of members of the majority over the situation of students goes back several weeks. From the beginning of November, the deputies Anne-Laurence Petel and Anne Brugnera had alerted the President of the Republic in a letter.
And since the beginning of December, the questions written to Frédérique Vidal, asking for perspectives, accumulate. Some are annoyed by his recent comments on the difficulty of enforcing health instructions for students.
“We must stop seeing the student as someone who endangers others and himself, protests one of them. The students show a real desire to study. “ The minister will also explain herself to the deputies on Wednesday January 27, during a hearing before the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Education.
Return to college, a priority
“We voted for a state of health emergency that allows the government to take action, and it is taking action. But it is also our job as parliamentarians to pay attention to the voices that say that health care cannot crush everything ”, pleads Bruno Studer, president of this commission.
If the deputy for Bas-Rhin considers that the return of students to universities is a priority, he also recalls the difficulty of arbitrating on these subjects. “We must not forget that on the other side, there are also epidemiologists who ask us to confine even more. “