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More jobs, greater equality: minister tries to calm university disquiet

France’s minister for higher education and research has confirmed the government’s commitment to creating 2,000 university research and teaching jobs over the next two years.

The pledge was made to France’s main student union, the UNEF. The union has long-standing links with the ruling socialist party, but Najat Vallaud-Belkacem’s speech on 9 April came at a time of growing student disquiet over apparent government inaction on higher education policy. It is only the second time in 25 years that a minister of higher education has addressed the UNEF’s annual conference.

The government’s inability to finalise the 2015 university budget is a major concern for the UNEF. University budgets are usually decided by the end of the preceding year.

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