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A dose of reality

Can Europe’s higher education politics return to the ‘old normal’?

Back in February, before the word ‘lockdown’ entered common parlance and fashion face masks became a thing, French academics went on strike. For several days they rebelled against the LPPR—the loi de programmation pluriannuelle de la recherche. 

This piece of legislation was drawn up last year by French research minister Frédérique Vidal to overhaul the way France’s academic world operates. The plan will introduce something akin to tenure-track into a system where professors were previously guaranteed lifetime jobs. It will also impose minimum teaching hours onto researchers and streamline the country’s 40+ academic pension schemes into a single system. Most controversial is a proposal to change academic contracts to a level below the contrat de travail à durée indéterminée, the best possible French employment contract, often used as the basis for obtaining mortgages.

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