Street-sweeper jibe from the Sorbonne

June 8, 2007

While many universities around the world live in terror of charges of elitism, the president of one of France's oldest universities has turned exclusivity into a veritable art form by referring to "street-sweeper" institutions that pick up those would-be students who fail to get into universities like his.

Jean-Robert Pitte, president of the Sorbonne in Paris, told the Associated Press that tuition fees should rise to £2,000 a year, from £200, and more selective admissions procedures should be introduced.

He said that the measures would reduce the 55 per cent dropout rate, adding that France's lower-cost universities were the "street-sweepers of the education system", picking up all those who failed to gain entry to the country's more expensive and selective grandes ecoles .

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