August 4, 2021

Chronic underfunding of universities must end, according to CNCDH

“The general lack of resources granted to higher education calls into question respect for fundamental rights” : the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH) has issued a most pessimistic opinion concerning the policy conducted in recent years in the university field. In a first opinion on access to education in primary and secondary education, the Commission warned a year ago about the urgency of guaranteeing equal opportunities and the right to education for all. This second opinion, published in Official newspaper Sunday, June 6, comes to complete it on the question of higher education which receives numbers in constant growth, of the order of 40,000 additional students per year.

Inequalities of access to information, different treatment, lack of transparency in terms of guidance, reception and support of hampered students, growing limitation of academic freedom… The consequences of the lack of resources are numerous, the Commission worries. , guarantor of compliance by France with its human rights commitments. “Certain branches of higher education are part of a process of impoverishment, she illustrates, even though one of the university’s ambitions is to contain or even remedy inequalities. “

The gaps between students seem to be widening and the resources granted are increasingly insufficient. In principle free, higher education has in fact “A cost likely to cause inequalities of access” and, moreover, “The biases observed in the system of orientation and selection of pupils lead to the removal of certain populations from higher education”, notes the CNCDH.

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It also deplores the fact that the lack of resources allocated to high schools in terms of guidance is leading to an increasing privatization of access to information. “High school students are unequally equipped to cope with the mass of documentation made available by a wide variety of actors (associations, state, private, etc.) and on numerous media (online sites, trade fairs, printed documents, etc.) and their ability to understand and mobilize this information strategically varies in particular according to their social background, which generates inequalities ”, continues the Commission.

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To remedy this, it recommends that the Ministry of National Education strengthen public guidance systems, particularly for students from disadvantaged social backgrounds, but also support systems such as tutoring and mentoring. On the higher education side, reception capacities in the sectors under stress must increase, accompanied by the appropriate human and financial resources, while taking into account the opportunities offered.

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