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Autonomy ‘not under threat’, Vidal promises

The French government’s decision to block the reappointment of the director of the Centrale Nantes grande école does not signal interventionism in higher education, research minister Frédérique Vidal has said.

The government is preparing laws that will enhance rather than restrict higher education institutions’ autonomy, Vidal told delegates at a meeting of the Cdefi association of French engineering schools on 22 September.

On 13 September, Cdefi had published a statement expressing concern after the government blocked Arnaud Poitou’s reappointment as director of Centrale Nantes, on the grounds that his proposed strategy for the school relied heavily on a planned partnership with the University of Nantes that was cancelled in July. However, the Cdefi statement implied that Poitou’s second term was blocked as punishment for withdrawing from the partnership, which the government had favoured.

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