Consultation on French overhaul

September 26, 2003

France's university presidents want a public debate on the future of higher education while they await the first major shake-up of the system for nearly 20 years.

Reforms introduced by education minister Luc Ferry, which are backed by the Conference of University Presidents (CPU), give universities more autonomy and establish the European degree structure. They should have gone to parliament earlier this year but were postponed because of public-sector strikes. Mr Ferry hopes to present the legislation next June.

CPU members hope the laws will "evolve to give them the means to deal with the new socioeconomic situation and the challenges of opening to Europe".

The CPU will hold a conference in Paris next month on how to create the "21st-century university". It will be open to political, business and university leaders, academics, students and the general public.

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