Letter: Not au fait with France

November 9, 2001

The hiring system in France does not work fully as Ruth Morse describes it (World View, THES , October 12).

PhDs must register in October with the government's candidate list for the following year's lectureships. You cannot simply send a dossier to the national committee in your field in winter and apply for jobs in spring. If you are not on the list, and if you fail the national committee review, you cannot apply for a job.

Committees have no time to read everything in everyone's dossier, and the numbers never add up. Last year, some 140 English lectureships were advertised and only 113 PhDs were given permission to apply for these jobs. Not all 113 got jobs - a recipe for chronic understaffing.

Honestly assessing programmes at the front end rather than the back end would spare students from getting worthless PhDs.

The French government does not trust departments to sort the wheat from the chaff when harvesting CVs. Forcing people to apply for permission to apply for lectureships infantilises everyone.

Craig Hamilton
School of English
University of Nottingham

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