“The ‘Black Screen’ movement is not guided by conservatism”

Tribune. A bad movie is playing. The film of a divorce between the political and the academic against a background of confinement, which deprives the students and their teachers of an amphitheater for the transmission and sharing of knowledge. It was precisely on the day when this shift towards the distancing of students was decided that, during a sleepless night [les 28 et 29 octobre] of which the Senate holds the secret, an amendment is invited in the bill devoted to the budgetary programming of research: article 3 bis.

The layout came out of nowhere; no debate could suggest its appearance. It is technical, difficult to read, even obscure. And yet, small cause, big effects. It is from the latter that the black screen movement was born as a sign of discontent and fed up with law professors. It is in its extension that the movement is now gaining momentum beyond law faculties: AG, strikes, petitions, open letters, demonstrations.

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So what does article 3 bis say?

To put it simply, it denationalizes the competition allowing access to the body of university professors to hand recruitment only to universities. To this end, it eliminates the passage through the National Council of Universities (CNU). An elected and independent body, the latter’s mission is to examine each application on the basis of an in-depth assessment of the scientific work accomplished in order to determine whether the conditions for applying for the post of professor are met.

Excellence by no means guaranteed

It thus establishes a list of qualified candidates each year. Only the latter are authorized to compete for jobs opened by universities published by the ministry. It is therefore necessary to be recognized nationally suitable to be a professor before becoming it locally at the end of an audition by a selection committee set up by the university which chooses the candidate, among the qualified, the best in correspondence with his needs in teaching and research.

This shift from half-national / half-local to all-local has various effects that have been eluded by those who are at the origin of it and that a serious impact study would have highlighted.

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In the first place, the assessment of the value of the candidatures by the only local authority does not guarantee excellence; the level of laureates being necessarily higher at the end of a national selection procedure.

Who has ever seen that a local competition is more intense than a national competition? There is therefore a risk of local situations in which the level of recruitments deteriorates. Beyond that arises the fear of teaching and research whose excellence will no longer be homogeneous and therefore a problem of territorial cohesion of higher education. Today, law students, wherever they are, benefit from equal training conditions. What will it be tomorrow?

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