Students in France are mobilising against a new reform of higher education. Students had struck or occupied at over 30 universities as Socialist Worker went to press.
The new president Nicolas Sarkozy’s law, passed in the summer, effectively privatises universities. It allows the state to stop financing them and opens up higher education to the market, as universities compete to attract private investment.
The students’ education then depends upon which local jobs need to be filled – they will become fodder for the bosses.
There are immediate implications. Economics studies will be financed by companies and the resulting qualifications would be linked to these companies – they would be worth less if you are sacked.
The less attractive studies – or less profitable – would lack investment, meaning that universities would increase student fees. This would create a two-tier education system.
In the longer term, the law would increase job insecurity within universities.
This reform is part of broader attacks on our public services and hard-won social rights.
In the universities, meetings involving hundreds and thousands of students have been taking place.
Our movement aims to bring together the different struggles taking place in transport, the fight against privatisation of the power company and the civil service, where workers will strike later this month.
The time of social fightback has arrived.