Courses-for-all principle is failing

August 11, 2000

More than 3,000 students who passed their baccalaureat in the Ile-de-France region will not find a university place until September.

A lack of space has yet again created bottlenecks for popular courses. Altogether, 7,200 students applied for 5,000 places in economic and social administration, and 3,910 for 2,900 places in psychology. Physical education and sports attracted 4,200 candidates for 3,000 places and cinema studies 1,700 for 600 places.

By contrast, science, the classics, modern literature and philosophy are losing popularity. A meeting of officials of the three rectorships and 17 university vice-chancellors in Ile-de-France has been set for September 14 to discuss both the problem of overcrowding and the Ravel procedure for allocating places.

The 1984 Savary law said that all bac graduates had the right to the university of their choice, but the Ravel procedure calls for applicants to give two alternatives, and one of these is where they often end up.

Universities in Paris and the surrounding area are not alone in failing to find places for bac graduates before the summer holiday. Lyon has the same problem, while Le Mirail in Toulouse has been forced to close because of unsafe buildings. "We do not know whether we will be open again in September," warned Remy Lacap re, national secretary of the university student union Unef.

A spokesperson for the education ministry played down the problem, saying that all students would be given a place for the course of their choice, if not the university of their choice.

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