Monday, December 15, 2008

French Government Backing Away from Education Reforms out of Fear.

In this ambiance, the current education reforms in school and universities in France are likely to be watered down.... and the government may act with a bit more caution than they had anticipated. It has already started.
Well, just today, even though the Minister of Education in France had planned a press conference to announce the details of his high school reform, he just said out the blue that the press conference is canceled and the reform is postponed...
This is a very impressive move, just hours away from the official announcement and after repeatedly claiming he would budge. the Minister actually made very clear on tv (ITélé) that the tension lately with some high school students demonstrating in the streets or blocking the entrance of schools influenced his decision. No doubt the events in Greece played a part too.
However critical I may be of the reforms, this is bad strategy. The paradox (and the irony) is that by postponing indefinitely the reforms out of fear, the government has once again encouraged similar movements in the future. It seems that this government is as incapable as any other in France of negotiating and finding a consensus with all the parties involved. They try to do too much too quickly and in the end get nothing accomplished.
Wouldn't it be better to *really* listen to everyone first and consider all the options? By pushing things too hard, they give people plenty of reasons to go to the street and even threaten them with potential violence.

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