Genevieve Fioraso: "The autonomy law was a total illusion"

Francois Hollande promised a reform of the law on the freedoms and responsibilities of universities (LRU). Genevieve Fioraso, Minister of Higher Education and Research, announces to the world that "more than reform, it will be a new framework law for higher education and research that will replace the LRU" . This will be tabled in Parliament in early 2013, "after a large consultation of the entire university community." Of regional conferences will be held in October and late November-early national December.

Just named the new minister has increased visits to the university community: teachers, researchers, university presidents, unions ... Objective: To restore dialogue and trust. The method is welcomed. It does enough to calm the impatience?

What reform LRU you considering?

More than a reform, it is a framework law to replace the LRU. It will be tabled in Parliament in early 2013 after a consultation of the entire university community. Of regional conferences will be held in October and late November-early national December.

Will you return to university autonomy?

Absolutely not. But we must be realistic, the LRU has not really given the means to exercise this autonomy universities. This law has huge flaws: collegiality was abandoned and we are facing a hyperprésidentialisation. On paper, the President has all the powers. But in reality, as soon as he tries to make innovative, experimental or assert an independent political things, he rapped on the knuckles by the Ministry. This autonomy law is a total sham.

How will you do it?

We must reintroduce collegiality. This is the spirit of the university. But we can not do it by appointing a leader. It is not possible to have the same organization at a university that prevailing in a company. The manager of a President "corporate university", it does not work! This is antithetical to the culture of the university. Elsewhere in the world, there are "academic senates" [a body as a counterweight to the board] and a board with a dean or rector, who manages external relations.

Are you going to change the electoral system?

It will give less power to the president and to better distinguish what is the scientific strategy which is the management. In all cases, all the staff, all the players, first and foremost students should be more involved in the dialogue.

National Research Agency (ANR), evaluation of research and higher education Agency (AERES) ... teachers researchers complain of too many structures, what will you do?

Must be simplified. Take the example of the NRA. This institution is totally overwhelmed, it lacks positions. There is no question of criticizing but all projects that must be audited, it is late. The previous government gave him far too broad tasks without giving them the means. It will specify the scope of intervention.

Universities ask for money, what fiscal leeway will you?

I do not want to make any announcement, no promise. We are not in com '. We expect the audit of the Court of Auditors. We will do a full review in the third week of June. From there, we know our room for maneuver and the possible timing. There will be a supplementary budget. I discover still a ministry in which the 10th month trading [160 million annual] has not been budgeted. Other expenses, which I can not reveal at this time, which were announced and widely valued in the media and the community do not have either.

Francois Hollande promised autonomy allowance for students, will you afford to put in place?

All aid will be delivered flat in consultation with the student union: fiscal half-share, housing allowance, means-tested or rather fiscal independence of the student ... but it will not be ready for September 2012.

Operations renovation plan Campus slow to materialize on the ground and the use of public-private partnerships (PPP) is very critical. Will you challenge?

No agreement has been signed, not one euro cent of the state was paid to share engineering costs. The only ones that have released the money, it is the local authorities. There is a problem! We are currently experiencing all players Campus plan to take stock, to know where we are. There is no question of ignoring the quality work. I am told that PPPs are more efficient, but I see four years after their start, that is not a building out of the ground. They are expensive and only benefit large major construction. We need to consider other less complex legal and financial arrangements, with the support of the Caisse des depots where the university would retain the conduct of the operation.

Investments of excellence to provide France mega-universities are criticized by some of the university community. Appeals have been filed, one for Paris-Sorbonne Cité, another Marseille. Will you return to those already signed?

Stop to focus on Idex! We will not act again in the brutality but we will defer to the Idex flat. We léserons no good project. What matters is to have a strategy for sites and see if it needs to be helped. This strategy will be under a name that will be defined together.

Will there be then a rebalancing of the territory?

There will be a modified and rebalanced the territory vision. Why is the North, West and Rhone-Alpes region of graduate research, have been forgotten? Abroad, we take into account the diversity of universities. It does not create behemoths.

Money was promised under Idex. Will you put less in some places and elsewhere?

We will identify what is the reality of these billions. This is one of the missions of the Court of Auditors. Balance and networking will be preferred to an absurd competitiveness.

The license Success plan launched in 2007 is widely criticized. The failure in the first cycle is always very important. What are your remedies?

This is my main site. This plan has mobilized € 730 million and no indicator has moved. How these millions were they used? Why it did not work? My office and that of Vincent Peillon [Minister of Education] have seen to work on what is called the -3 years (high school) 3 years (the license). The orientation is paramount. All courses are respectable, whether for business or technology. There is no question of sending the broken pipe, without preparation, without gateway and unaccompanied reinforced, students who want to pursue their studies at the university with a technology tray. But perhaps he will put them through a more professionalized sector, accompany or why not give them one more year. They will also find places in the IUT, often taken by students in general bins.

There is a real debate around teacher training, would you think it is the university that provides?

Absolutely. And it must involve all teachers, even lecturers. On this subject, there is a huge reinforced by the reform of teacher training deficiency. Pedagogy can not be invented. Teaching is a real job. It must be learned.

Read "The government sites for higher education" in Le Monde, 3-4 June, available on newsstands 13 hours this Saturday, June 2

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