Students will not have to show a health or vaccination pass to access the exams scheduled for January in universities, said Sarah El Haïry, Secretary of State to the Minister of National Education on Thursday.

It will not take "no vaccine pass to take the exams," said the Secretary of State for Youth and Engagement on CNews.

Partials in face

While the number of new cases detected of Covid-19 surpassed the 200,000 daily cases mark on Wednesday, the Minister of Higher Education and Research, Frédérique Vidal confirmed that the exams would take place in the faculties at the start of the school year.

Frédérique Vidal had indicated that the maintenance of face-to-face exams met the demand of students, stressing that 92% of them were vaccinated.

The incidence rate jumped 42% among 20-29 year olds, according to the epidemiological point published on December 23 by Public Health France.

A substitution session for students subjected to isolation

Despite this, the government chose not to postpone the start of the school year or the exams.

"We must keep these schools open for equal opportunities" and ensure that "this virus does not create greater inequalities," said Sarah El Haïry.

In a circular dated December 29 and addressed to heads of higher education establishments and rectors, the Ministry of Higher Education indicates that "exams can always be organized face-to-face" and asks universities to communicate to students what '' they must not come forward if they are in contact with or infected with Covid.

"For students subjected to isolation and who would then be unable to participate in one or more tests, you will ensure to organize a replacement session", indicates this circular.

"Adapting the methods of checking knowledge"

"The establishments can therefore always if necessary adapt the methods of control of knowledge, as long as they respect a period of notice of the students of 15 days before the beginning of the tests", continues the text.

"Universities have between two weeks and two months to organize them," said Imane Ouelhadj, vice-president of the UNEF after a meeting with the ministry on Thursday morning.

"A whole bunch of students have not yet had information on how the exams were going to go, and that's problematic," she lamented.

The UNEF criticized in a press release "the minimalist instructions of the minister and the lack of anticipation in the preparation of the re-entry in January" which "create a climate of anxiety-provoking uncertainty".

The students are also waiting for the new conditions on the recommended duration of isolation for contact cases, which the government must specify in the coming days.

In 2020-2021, 1.65 million students were enrolled in French universities.

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  • Frederique Vidal

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