Emmanuel Macron defended himself on Monday for having proposed an increase in university registration fees.
He had launched on January 13: “We will not be able to remain permanently in a system where higher education has no price for almost all students.
The president explained that he was referring to paid professional training that would be provided by universities to adults during their careers.
In his speech of January 13, Emmanuel Macron proposes to establish paid continuing education at the university.
However, the government decided in 2018 on a significant increase in tuition fees for non-EU students, a decision that arouses mistrust from student unions over Emmanuel Macron's statements.
" I never said that !
“Castigating a “campaign” atmosphere, Emmanuel Macron wanted to clarify a controversy over university registration fees during a trip to Creuse on Monday.
"When you want to fight against student insecurity, you don't increase university registration fees," said the President of the Republic in response to a student's question.
This is also why, contrary to what I read everywhere in the press, I never said that.
The Head of State thus returned to an ambiguous sentence that he had pronounced on January 13, at the end of the Conference of University Presidents: “[…] We cannot remain permanently in a system where higher education has no price for almost all students [….].
In Creuse, the president wanted to clarify his thoughts: "What I was talking about is rather training, in particular lifelong professional training, that universities will have to put in place and which, they , are intended to be chargeable, and will allow universities to have income and to operate by giving themselves more resources.
Emmanuel Macron also defended his record, listing measures in favor of students: the abolition of Social Security payable by students, as well as the 1 euro meals at the Crous, launched in September 2020 for scholarship students then expanded in January 2021 to other students.
Since the start of the school year in September, the system is again reserved only for scholarship holders and students in precarious situations.
What did Emmanuel Macron say on January 13 in front of university presidents?
Had he actually ruled out an increase in registration fees for students?
The one who has not yet said if he was a presidential candidate had rolled out a program that will surely require more than the two and a half months remaining of his five-year term to be applied.
Returning to the failure rate in the first year of university and student precariousness despite the budgets allocated to fight against these phenomena, Emmanuel Macron had then advanced: “We therefore see clearly that beyond the question of means, we have a structural issue and we will not be able to remain permanently in a system where higher education is priceless for almost all students, where a third of students are on scholarships and where, however, we have so much precariousness student and a difficulty in financing a model that is much more publicly funded than anywhere in the world to respond to international competition.
He has not
therefore not explicitly mentioned an increase in registration fees.
The Head of State had begun by specifying a line of reform for universities: these must “first prepare our young people to exercise their future profession”.
Emmanuel Macron then argued that "the whole world of higher education" - "not just the university, [but also] engineering schools, business schools" - should play "a key role, a lot more important than today", for the vocational training of adults.
This "role" should, according to the president, "make it possible to improve the operation and the financing of our universities because all these training courses are training courses, as we know, which are remunerated by financing from the professional world, our companies, contributions also public.
If his sentence on higher education which "has no price" has aroused concern, in particular from student unions, it is because the government has already decided in 2018 on a massive increase in tuition fees. the university for foreign students from outside the community – that is to say students from outside the EU, Quebec and the European Economic Area.
These students must pay 2,770 euros in registration fees for a bachelor's degree and 3,770 euros for a master's.
PhD students are exempt.
Faced with the health crisis, the government has decided not to increase the registration fees for French students or students from the EU at the start of the 2021 academic year. The latter must therefore pay 170 euros for a year of license and 243 euros in masters.
Universities: Why the increase in tuition fees is still in the debate
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