Lack of savoir plaire

February 3, 2006

France's policies for attracting and catering for foreign students lag behind those of its main competitors, says a report issued last week by the Conseil Economique et Social.

Although France remains one of the five most popular destinations for foreign students, it is failing to match the success of the US, Britain, Germany and Australia, says the CES, a high-level consultative and advisory council. International student mobility is an important economic driver, the report notes. For developed countries with ageing populations, foreign students can help meet economic needs and protect undersubscribed university courses. France has been slow to acknowledge this fact, it says.

"The real difference seems to be that we have a strong prejudice regarding this phenomenon, while our 'rivals' welcome it," the report says.

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