Is the image of a French university with two faces changing? Renowned for its excellence in a number of fields, in second and especially third cycles. But also known for its inability to achieve massive success at the start of the career of young people with increasingly heterogeneous profiles.
In any case, this is what the Minister of Higher Education is advancing, touting an increase in the success rate in license: the share of students obtaining, in four years maximum, this diploma of bac + 3 level has increased by just over 40% in 2016 to 45.5% in 2018. “And it should reach 47% in 2022”, rejoiced Frédérique Vidal, during her back-to-school press conference, Thursday, September 30.
A “collective victory”
“License failure is on the decline”, she assures, speaking of “Collective victory”. The minister does not take much risk by advancing this figure for a cohort which is barely entering the last part of its course. Because in reality, the vast majority of failures and dropouts occur in the first year, or even in the weeks following the start of L1.
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How to explain these good results? Frédérique Vidal highlights in particular better support for students, with tutoring programs. The action of the 20,000 tutors recruited last year (for 3.6 million hours worked) will also be repeated this year, she announced.
The Minister also sees in these good results the effects of a relaxation of the rules of the license, which formerly had to, except repeating, be carried out in three years, and which for several years can be the object of an adjustment. “Today, 10% of undergraduate students benefit from a personalized course”, she clarified.
Make his first year in two years
“Some universities offer the most gifted students to do their license in two years, a way of attracting candidates tempted more by preparatory courses”, continues Virginie Dupont, vice-president of the Conference of University Presidents. His, that of South Brittany, could in the future rely on hybridization – a mixture of face-to-face and distancing – to offer such a solution. And already, it allows ” for the most fragile candidates to immediately embark on a course in four years, by completing the L1 in two years “.
These new possibilities go hand in hand with the Parcoursup mini-revolution and its logic of selection, particularly in the sectors in tension. By giving them the possibility of answering “yes, if”, the orientation and assignment platform to higher education allows establishments to make the acceptance of certain candidates conditional on upgrading or development of courses. “This makes it possible, for example, to avoid welcoming into the ordinary course, in law, candidates who narrowly obtained an STMG techno baccalaureate, marketing and management, and who would probably have dropped out, as was the case before, from the start. first semester “, approves Virginie Dupont.
A Covid effect?
Seeing the success rate in bachelor’s degree climb, however, one cannot help but wonder if there is not a Covid effect, synonymous with greater leniency, as was the case for the 2020 session. of the bac (with 95.7% of the candidates who had obtained the diploma, ie 7 points more than in the previous session). “Colleagues were careful not to organize exams on the cheap, answers Virginie Dupont. In any case, they would not have wanted to find the following year students with an insufficient level ”.
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“The evaluation methods were different but the requirements were generally at least as high, in particular because some teachers thought that at a distance, there were more possibilities to be helped or to cheat”, abounds Maryam Pougetoux, vice-president of UNEF.
This union representative wonders more about the sociological profile of the students who benefit from this additional success in the license. The logic of selection on Parcoursup often benefits, she considers, candidates from more or less wealthy families. And Maryam Pougetoux to argue: “The fact of having passed, by paying, the BAFA, the animator’s license, or language certifications, can play a role in the selection of files. “