Friday, November 16, 2007

So angry! They closed the University!

The President of University of Nantes decided to close the campus from 16 November until 20 November. It means that I won't have class until next Wednesday. I'm so pissed!!! We just finished a team work and we are supposed to have our presentation on Monday. We are very motivated for that and I really don't want to wait for another week.

I know the President is right to be cautious. Yesterday night there were about 150 students blocked the Faculty of Science and Faculty of Literature, and this brought worry that these people will become violent and start destroying the precious school properties. The University has to use force, by calling the police, to chase away the students.

I was so disappointed. Our faculty (Economic and Management) usually is not effected by any students demonstration. But the whole campus in the area is ordered to close. This morning I went to the faculty, and had to go home bcos everything is closed, including the library.

I personally think that this law is good, that the University should have right to fund their own expenses. Won't it be good to do some researches that would be used by the enterprises and in return get some sponsorship instead of relaying on the government?

These students, if they don't want to have class, they can just get their asses out of the campus. Isn't it so selfish to try to achieve something by preventing other to conduct their day to day activities?


  1. It is in their constitutional right to protest against all government's initiatives which they disagree with. Before getting so worked up by their action, you may wish to understand their cause(s) better. The neo-liberal approach to running the country has never gone down well with the French, especially the university folks. If you were in a Grand Ecole, things may be slightly different.

    Pour quelqu'un qui est mariée à un français, tu comprends peu la mentalité français.... il y a du boulot à faire...

  2. I totally agree with you that I don't understand the mentality of THESE French.

    First of all, I have 200-300 years of history to catch up to know why French behave like this today. It has an old country that has accumulated many experiences, but difficult to change at the same time.

    Second of all, I live with a group circle of French that disagree with strike as the ultimate way to negotiate. These group of people want to make progress in their country and want to be able to compete internationally. None of my classmate participated in the strike, in fact they are quite upset by it. These group of people in fact have traveled outside to see the world. They have seen how other models have been successfully implemented in certain countries.

    Once I asked a French why people need to have strike by preventing others from doing what they are doing. He said that in his own experience when he did strike, preventing others to continue do what they want (eg going to school), will prevent himself from being punished (by the professors, by the society). I told him that he is very selfish, he wants revolution but don't want to sacrifice, and he admitted that. These people on strike, they are scared that if they let other students go to study and they themselves didn't go, it would look bad or have bad grad at the end. So, instead, they blog the school so nobody can study, then they can enjoy their vacation while using the name of "doing strike and try to prevent bad laws to pass."

  3. I don't know where to begin in this seemingly endless debate between those for and those against the right of strike. One is for sure, you'll never prevent the French from striking, because it is written in their constitution. So unless you manage to create a 6ème République, there is no point discussing this issue.

    Secondly, coming from a more left-leaning perspective, I am entirely for the right to strike. The dearth and sorry state of social (lack) development in Asia is purely down to this fact that people in Asia never seem to stand up for what they believe in.

    Then there is the point where you claim that people blocking the university being selfish. Darl, you live in Europe right now. Individualism is the core of the society here. If you want to survive in continental Europe, you better get used to it. A socialist society like France is paradoxically quite individualistic too.

    Back to the subject at heart: University strike to prevent the law of University Autonomy. Have you found out about why they are afraid that this law might get passed? Think of the ramification of this law. And weigh it against its benefit. When you have your homework, then I may participate more in the depth of the issue at hand.

    Do you speak/read/write French? I presume you do asyou are following a course in a French university? If so, spread your circle of "friends" to those not in the commerce studies, then you may start to see a glimpse of the France d'en-bas!

  4. Keni,

    Thanks for your input, it's very interesting to hear from someone not in my circle. I would like to clarify that I'm not against strike, people have right to voice their opinion. I'm against the way it is carrying out. You are so right about the paradox between socialist and individualism in France. At one hand amazingly the French are willing to contribute to make sure everyone has health care, education, help the poor, I salute that actions; but on the other hand they need to mess up people's life by blogging public transport and worst the entity to diffuse knowledge: the universities.

    I do speak French and write and read in French. I'm meeting a French later, who is working in the University, totally pro-socialist, but paradoxically like you put, he is going to the USA to contribute his research studies.

    I agreed with you that Asian countries lack the freedom to do strike. Our main focus now is economy. I don't know what is a better system, but I just want to point out that while the French are preventing government reforms, the Asian are closing the economic gaps between Asian and European countries. Very soon, you will see Asian countries going ahead of France.

    Yeah I'm going to do my homework now, I'm sure the friends I'm meeting will have lots of info to give me.

    Bonne soirée!

  5. Anonymous1:13 AM

    What a great interesting debate here..and if i may to put my two cents here.
    I'm not sure if this kind reform that what is needed by the civilians.I'm sure you guys may aware with the latest incident,Bersih rally in Malaysia.Unfortunately some may call this rally unjustify and bring hassle to these motorist,causes traffic congestion in the city.We can put it in the same situation as face by the public with the recent multiple strike in France.The achievement of what French have for today, thanks to their past generation strive and fight for their rights,and after all everyone had their share of the end result, for good or bad.
    I'm advocate of the liberty of education, available to everyone regardless of their background.When the education itself at the stake of risk, which may seem now no longer a state fund, basically the people's money, and passing it to the private firms, its kind of 'colonised' and they can be under control.

  6. Free education at the higher educational level is very ideal, but what's the point when students graduated and can't find a job? There are so many people decided to go to University, and drop out in the middle, and struggle to find a job in the future. What about competition and quality? In my course, the professor who is also a consultant in a big company told us frankly that they prefer students from private schools bcos they are more competitive. University students have less reputation in terms of quality.

    How about if free education doesn't work anymore and cost the government too much money, and lost out in competition in the international level? Should we insist on a system that doesn't work as well? Why private school students don't go on strike? I think that since University students don't pay much in school fees, they tend to take it for granted. When I was in the USA for my MBA, I didn't absent for a single day bcos I paid very expensive tuition fees and I wanted to get the most out of it. Right now I'm paying peanut compared to the one in US, and I have seen people just don't bother to come to the class. When something comes too easily, people abuse it.

  7. Anonymous2:37 PM

    Welcome to France, Bee ! ;) hehehe ... Remember the infamous CPE strike that had the whole university blocked that pisses me off because even the President of the University is in favour of it when he is supposed to be impartial. During that time, there was a lot of damages done to the university (tables and chairs were trashed, walls were vandalised, equipments were damaged etc). The students who are on strike are not well informed of the reform and are mislead by the student union. (I have friends who are/were against the reform and when we discussed with them about it, they learned a few things from us that they weren't aware of. They were pretty surprised by the info.) Some are in favour of the strike just to be on strike sake.

    Basically the university has no right to raise school fees at their whims and fancy. It's the government who dictates the school fees. With new reform, the universities are able to get donations from private sector to finance research, equipment etc instead of the budget coming the State (already has no money). The new reform also rises the university budget to a level that has never been achieved before. So this is a good thing. I guess the French wants reform but are afraid of reforms and changing from their comfort zone to a zone unknown.

    Here's a link that explains clearly on the reform.

  8. cooking ninja,

    Thanks for the explanation for the new laws about University autonomy. I just feel sad that the resistant to change has cost the whole country a lot. In this global market everything has to move fast. I found this reform can increase the competitiveness of the French universities in the international arena, with more researches that would eventually help the private sectors to be more competitive, just like what happens to the software industry and pharmaceutical industry in the California regions. I think this is pretty common in Singapore too, and see how Singapore has progressed during these years. Report has said that Singapore has bypassed USA in terms of global competitiveness. And where is France? They are far behind and if this resistance continue, France will be bypassed by a lot of Asian countries, this is what I predict.