BM71: French presidential election
With the presidential elections in France to be held at the beginning of 2017, it is important for ESU to remind all the presidential candidates what French and European students stand for. Even though we don’t know all the presidential candidates, we’ve seen so far that the campaign was driven by identity issue, security and fear. Since the last terrorist attacks, French society has been tearing itself apart. Extreme-right and conservatives are trying to rise people against each other. ESU just stands on how important the role of education can be in promoting peaceful and cohesive societies, let’s see what’s have been done until now on the higher education area. Even though the national budget for 2017 represents a small increase of the HE budgets, it’s still considerably insufficient, since many universities struggle to assume their public responsibilities. Student’s population is rising in France, the opening of HE to the masses is still going on in France. So let’s now move to another stage: democratisation. This also means that French students and unions will fight any kind of selection at any academic level. Half of the students fail to validate their first year and only 27% of them get their license in three years. The future French president and government must give the means to French universities to fulfil their duties and work on the success of students with new teaching skills such as student-centred learning. Only 25% of French students have access to the grants systems, meaning half of the students need to find a job to pay for their studies. Since 2012, more than 300 million euros has been invested in the grants system thanks to the struggle of French students through their combative unions. But the next majority must continue to invest in the grant system to allow everyone the access the HE no matter of background. There is still a lot to do regarding, for example, recognition of prior learning for refugees or public student housing Through French student unions, ESU will be aware of the activities of the next government, and hopes that it will listen to what students have to stay. Whatever happens students will be there to defend their rights and struggle for new ones.