Laure Peskine, secrétaire générale de l'Association des professeurs de langues vivantes, dénonce la fermeture du Capes pour certaines langues, alors qu'une récente étude Eurobaromètre met en évidence l'attrait qu'elles ont pour les parents français.
La Commission européenne a publié la semaine dernière une enquête eurobaromètre spéciale sur les compétences des Européens en langues étrangères. Cette nouvelle enquête montre bien la contradiction entre les aspirations des Français, et en particulier des parents pour leurs enfants, et la décision de supprimer certains concours de recrutement de professeurs de langues.
Si on regarde les données pour la France, on voit qu'espagnol et chinois sont à égalité pour les langues jugées utiles par les Français pour l'avenir de leurs enfants. En première position: l'anglais, sans surprise, et en deuxième ex-aequo: l'espagnol et le chinois, avec 28% d'opinions favorables. On comprend donc mal pourquoi les postes de professeurs titulaires en chinois n'augmentent pas.
Les langues MODIME sacrifiées
L'APLV est préoccupée par la disparition de certaines sections de langues vivantes aux concours de recrutement car cela représente, à terme, une diminution de l'offre proposée dans les établissements. L'arrêt, pour des raisons financières, du recrutement dans beaucoup de langues MODIME (MOins DIffusées et Moins Enseignées), ne pourra que limiter encore la diffusion dans l'enseignement secondaire de ces dernières, déjà sérieusement restreintes au fil des ans.
Une telle mesure est particulièrement dommageable dans une période où c'est une nécessité pour la France d'améliorer son commerce extérieur et pour ses entreprises d'intensifier leurs échanges internationaux, ce qui ne peut se faire qu'en ayant des cadres et travailleurs maîtrisant une grande variété de langues.
Laure Peskine, secrétaire générale de l'Association des professeurs de langues vivantes (APLV).
Les réactions de l'APLV suite à l'annonce de la fermeture des CAPES de chinois, d'italien et de portugais pour l'année 2013.
The European Commission last week published a Special Eurobarometer survey on Europeans' skills in foreign languages. This new survey shows the contradiction between the aspirations of the French, and especially parents to their children, and the decision to remove certain competitive examinations for language teachers. More...
The recent review of business-university collaboration led by Prof Tim Wilson recommends that every full-time undergraduate student should have the opportunity to experience a structured, university-approved, undergraduate internship during their study. Furthermore, university careers services and their local enterprise partnership (LEP) should collaborate to establish a "skills supply chain" between universities and local businesses, integrating placements, internships and employment services. Many university career services are already engaged in this work; it is the apparent unevenness of the provision across the higher education landscape that has prompted the recommendations.
Unevenness reflects diversity. To pursue the chain analogy there are many types and lengths of chain (as any jeweller will tell you): there are short placements that may be integral to the course; there are sandwich placements, so called because they take up to a year working in business between years of the course; and there are graduate internships, which may be progressed to after completion of the degree. Each has a different educational purpose and impact on the satisfaction of employers' need for skilled employees.
The activities undertaken also depend on the nature and length of the chain. For example, short placements are ideal for finding out about occupations, exploring aptitudes and checking career goals; longer placements are arguably better for developing work-related competencies in situ and conducting course or employer-devised projects that may make a direct contribution to business growth. One recent example I heard of is a student on placement from university who saw a way to save the business several million pounds. He was offered a job.
Career services' contribution to the design of the supply chain may be more analogous to engineering than jewellery-making as weighty issues of purpose, aims, length, activities, and relationship to the course and so on, surface; and then there is also how to ensure that students' employability is enhanced by it. But what really makes a placement or internship (these terms are often used interchangeably) work well? Wilson et al, suggest structure is key and this follows from defining the purpose. Others have suggested that internships work best when there is genuine motivation from both sides, when the placement provides real (not synthesised) learning opportunities and experiences, when it challenges and relates to long-term job or business aspirations.
We need students and graduates to be stretched and employers to understand their potential but when this happens very real concerns arise about job substitution– especially on longer placements. Also, one student's stretch is another student's yawn; one employer's view of what constitutes talent may be written off as simply average by another. Diversity again. There are some tensions pulling at that chain.
Universities and their career services have been working at the interface between higher education and employment longer than anyone can remember. Grown out of industrial histories, many university courses respond to local or regional demand for skilled workforces; at the leading edge of research and development universities are in active collaboration with local, national and international businesses. But every year there are new students and new businesses, new technologies and new economic challenges. Change, as anyone who worked in Lehman Bros will tell you, happens. Career services need to work with enormous diversity on both the supply and demand ends of the chain – it is perhaps unsurprising that occasionally a link breaks.
The reality is that university career services are often tasked with maintaining relationships with businesses and play a pivotal role in ensuring high quality student (and graduate) work experiences by identifying students' and employers' aspirations, working with tutors devising and assessing work-related projects/learning, providing formal accreditation of workplace learning, supporting entrepreneurialism in students and graduates, working to provide incubator arrangements for new businesses, preparing and debriefing students to optimise employability learning, advising on employment rights, helping students articulate their skills, and supporting students to integrate the work- and course-based aspects of their courses.
So to end where we began, with a call for a strong skills supply chain. If you need to know who's warming up the soldering iron, you could do worse than start with the university careers service.
Jane Artess, director of research, Higher Education Careers Services Unit.
By Phil Baty. In Russia, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev recently signed an order awarding official recognition to degrees from 210 leading universities from 25 countries – determined in large part by their presence in the top global university rankings.
A similar scholarship project in Brazil, the £1.3 billion (US$2 billion) Science without Borders programme for 100,000 students, also draws heavily on the Times Higher Education and other rankings to select the host institutions.
And in India this month, the government’s Universities Grants Commission set out new rules to ensure that only 500 universities ranked by two global rankings including Times Higher Education are allowed to run joint degree or twinning courses with Indian partners.
Such high-level official endorsement is, of course, gratifying and since 2009 when we joined forces with Thomson Reuters, we have worked hard to listen to critics of global rankings and consulted widely to develop a new, more balanced, comprehensive and rigorous ranking system.
We argue that Times Higher Education’s global rankings are the only ones in the world to examine all core missions of the modern global research university – research, teaching, knowledge transfer and international activity.
They are the only rankings to fully reflect the unique subject mix of each and every institution across the full range of performance indicators and to take proper account of excellence in the arts, humanities and social sciences, so badly neglected by other rankings, we believe. And they are the only global rankings to employ a rigorous, invitation-only survey of experienced, expert academics – with no volunteers and certainly no nominations from universities themselves.
Authority brings responsibility
But we are aware that such authority brings with it great responsibility. A reputation for integrity must be earned and maintained through open and honest discussion about both the uses and the abuses of global rankings. All global university ranking tables are inherently crude, as they reduce universities and all their diverse missions and strengths to a single, composite score. Anyone who adheres too rigidly to rankings tables risks missing the many pockets of excellence in narrower subject areas not captured by institutionwide rankings, or in areas of university performance – such as community engagement – that are simply not captured well by any ranking.
One of the great strengths of global higher education is its extraordinarily rich diversity and this can never be captured by any global ranking, which judges all institutions against a single set of criteria. In this context, a new declaration from a consortium of Latin American university rectors must be welcomed. The declaration, agreed at a two-day conference at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, titled “Latin American Universities and the International Rankings: Impact, scope and limits”, noted with concern that “a large proportion of decision-makers and the public view these classification systems as offering an exhaustive and objective measure of the quality of the institutions”.
No university ranking can ever be exhaustive or objective. The meeting, which drew together rectors and senior officials from 65 universities in 14 Latin American countries, issued a call to policy-makers to “avoid using the results of the rankings as elements in evaluating the institution’s performance, in designing higher education policy, in determining the amount of finance for institutions and in implementing incentives and rewards for institutions and academic personnel”.
I would – to a large extent – agree. Responsibly and transparently compiled rankings can, of course, have a very useful role in allowing institutions to benchmark their performance and to help them plan their strategic direction. They can inform student choices and help faculty make career decisions.
They can help governments to better understand some of the modern policy challenges of mass higher education in the knowledge economy, and to compare the performance of their very best research-led institutions to those of rival nations.
And yes, they can play a role in helping governments to select potential partners for their home institutions and determine where to invest their scholarships.
But they can only play a helpful role if those of us who rank are honest about what rankings do not – and can never – capture, as much as what they can, and as long as we encourage users to dig deeper than the composite scores that can mask real excellence in specific fields or areas of performance.
Times Higher Education is working hard to expand the range of data that it releases, and to allow more disaggregation of the ranking results and more nuanced analysis.
Rankings can be a valuable tool for global higher education – but only if handled with care.
* Phil Baty is editor of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
By Nigel Thrift. Visitors to universities are routinely given maps, maps which set out the campus in all its glory. These maps are usually both informative and rhetorical: after all part of their function is to produce a favorable gloss on the institution as well as providing directions. The maps also tend to be displayed at opportune points around the campus. And they are, of course, a vibrant online presence.
In the past, many of these maps were works of art in their own right: things of real beauty. But I have noticed a slightly distressing tendency recently for institutions to simply translate their locations on to proprietary platforms like Google Maps or Google Earth. Other institutions tend to use massive indexes which make navigation very difficult. That said, there are some wonderful examples of online mapping practice. For example, Harvard, Madison, MIT, Loughborough, Exeter, and other universities have maps which allow all kinds of layers of different facilities to be shown according to choice like cycle paths, wheelchair accessible entrances, public art, bus routes, and so on. The University of Wisconsin at Madison’s map (which is probably the best I have come across aesthetically) not only shows up facilities as selected but has a very useful distance tool. Apologies in advance to universities which have commendable maps that I haven’t come across.
What is fascinating, however, is how rarely universities use maps of themselves except as straightforward representations of what is there: surely a peculiar omission when one thinks of the number of geographic and geolocational facilities that universities have and the way that maps have become a crucial part of everyday life (think only of all the mapping apps that are now available covering topics as diverse as running and the location of aeroplanes in the sky), as well as a bulwark of numerous economic and social institutions (think of the way in which electronic maps are being used in the U.S. electoral campaign, for example, or are being used as means of identifying the warp and weft of customers, as in the Carnegie Mellon project Livehoods.
There are some exceptions to this rule, however, apart from the obvious ones like maps of where overseas students come from. One is the 3Cs counter cartographies collective based at the University of North Carolina. The collective uses maps to mount a critique of the university. In its own words, the collective renders “new images and practices of economies and social relations, destabilize[s] centered and exclusionary representations of the social and economic [and] construct[s] new imaginaries of collective struggle and alternative worlds.” Its two disorientation maps plotting UNC’s wider connections have become well-known in mapping circles. More recently, it has begun operations in London.
Another is the increasing use of maps in the arts and humanities. Artists have been turning to maps for some time now but the practice is now spreading elsewhere. In particular, as there has been an increasing interest in landscape, so many academics are turning to their own campuses as a source of inspiration, literally writing on the land. In turn, campuses are becoming scattered with outdoors teaching spaces and replete with alternative maps which are often hybrids of physical and online artifacts.
Finally, there are instances of attempts to produce health and well being maps of campuses. I like the MIT Media Lab Mood Meter project which is intended to map happiness on campus using facial recognition technology. In other words, campus mapping is going through an adventurous phase which deserves more attention for itself and not just as a record of what’s there.
Tell me about yourself and your career
Like all presidents at French institutions, I am an academic. I was first a professor of pharmacology at the University of Strasbourg and then I was vice president for some time, in charge of what you would call 'technology transfer'. I then became president of the former university Louis Pasteur before being elected to the presidency of the University of Strasbourg in 2008.
Do you think that all leaders in higher education institutions should come from an academic background?
There are two issues here: the first is should the leader be an academic? And the worldwide model and my view is that definitely it should. But I recently read a book suggesting that presidents should not just be academics but must also be among the top scholars at their institution. So the question should actually be: do you have to be one of the top researchers of your university to be the president? I am not among the top 10% of researchers here. I have a good research record but not more so than most of my colleagues.
I think that while the leader must be an academic, he or she must be assisted by professional managers because we are not professional managers. A university is a very big and complex organisation and the leader must master the budget, deal with legal problems, deal with human resources issues. For that, we need help.
You became the first president when three universities in Strasbourg merged, tell me about that.
A university was founded in the city in 1538 but was split into three in 1970, predominantly according to their disciplines - there was a university of the humanities, one for the science and one for law and business. In 2009, those three merged into one and I was elected, by the staff at all three, as president of the newly-unified institution. The University of Strasbourg was the first to merge in France, setting an example for the institutions that have followed.
Why do you think your colleagues voted you the man to lead the newly-merged institution?
The merger is not a personal achievement. Three generations of presidents worked on it and I was only part of that last generation. It is a long-term political issue that has to first be seeded, then it grows and finally it sprouts and flowers. It would be wrong to take the credit. The presidents of the other institutions had the job of pulling or pushing their troops into the merger and there were difficulties, academics from the institutions perceived each other as threats to their research. We had to prove that on the day to day pharmacologists could work alongside sociologists, for example.
University of Strasbourg prides itself on being interdisciplinary. Did the merger help create that culture?
Our main ambition with the merger was to return to what a university should be: a comprehensive institution with all the disciplines. This 50 year parentheses in history when we had specialised universities was a nonsense in my opinion. All the major British universities are comprehensive - Cambridge, Oxford, UCL, Imperial and so on. You obviously have exceptions like the Karolinska Institute in Sweden which is a medical university, or MIT in the States.
It is not easy to overcome the cultural barriers necessary for interdisciplinarity, especially here where the faculties or departments were individually very strong. It is not easy to build bridges but we are working on it. In research, though, it is easy as there is a tendency to create multidisciplinary teams but to create multidisciplinary curricular and think outside your subject area in teaching is much more difficult.
You've begun to compare French universities to institutions elsewhere in the world. What are your thoughts on internationalisation in HE?
The majority of my career has been in France and, in fact, here in Strasbourg - with the exception of a year at the Wiezmann Institute in Israel during my post-doc. But I'm aware I am very much the exception, and now seek as much as possible to make sure my university is connected internationally. Our university is, for example, a member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and I am on the LERU board. This type of benchmarking is invaluable for us. In Strasbourg, we have an international history that shapes our internationalisation policy. The city was once German - and not occupied France - and our closest academic neighbours are not French but German and Swiss, (we are also part of a regional university group called Eucor) and now with the European Parliament meeting here, we are certainly more international than many other institutions in France.
So, internationalisation is part of our identity but we also have to work on building a worldwide network, though we are doing well: we are one of the French universities with the highest percentage of international students - more than 20%, of that a third is from Europe, another third is from Africa and the last third from the rest of the world. At the moment, we are not particularly interested in offering our degrees overseas through branch campuses. What must be borne in mind is that, unlike the UK, our international students pay the same fees as home students. So for us, internationalisation is not a source of additional revenue, it is more a political strategy.
'Students as consumers' is an often-debated topic in UK. What are your views on this and what is the situation in France?
I think students as pure consumers is a mistake but students as non-passive actors of the university system is now absolutely necessary. We have to get our students involved and respond to their criticism and suggestions but becoming a mere enterprise would be a terrible mistake. We are not a normal enterprise. We do have to deal with many of the same issues that enterprises face but investments in higher education are long-term and the types of returns that can be expected are varied and include research that might not have immediate economic impacts. More specifically, the issues around fees have not yet become relevant in France. We are still largely exclusively government funded.
The public nature of French universities is fiercely protected but then there are also 'grandes ecoles' which are very exclusive and hard for students from low income backgrounds to access. How good are French institutions at widening participation?
University in France is practically free. Fees are nominal - less than €300 per year. It is not fees that make access difficult here. As for the grandes ecoles, some are costly while others are free but the main difference is that admittance is based on a very selective process, and I would add that the selection criteria are not always the most transparent. The other key difference between the grandes ecoles and the rest of French HE is that the former don't do much research. They are a remnant from the technical schools set up under Napoleon so we have, for example, Ecole de Mines, for mines and Ecole de Ponts for bridges. The Ecole Polytechnique, which is the best of the grandes ecoles is still closely related to the army and its president is a general!
That said, the question of access is still not often asked in France. When you look at the statistics on the numbers from low income families, despite the low costs, the stats aren't very favourable. Access to higher education is clearly then not just a question of fees, it's a societal issue and addressing it starts in high school. But it is also a question of values. Children are told that the pinnacle in achievement comes from attending the Polytechnique but it's not for everyone. We have to show young people and their families that fascinating things are happening across the breadth of French HE and there are very many career options available to students.
What are your hopes for the future of French HE?
My hope is that in these troubled times, everyone will realise that investing in universities is a long-term investment for the benefit of society as a whole and one that must be maintained.
Undercover reporters were also told to tell the UK authorities that the student would be returning home immediately after graduation – even if that was not their intention – in order to secure a visa.
Last night, universities were accused of profiteering by rejecting tens of thousands of British teenagers, currently sitting A-levels, so they can fill places with more profitable foreign students.
Universities say that even the new £9,000-a-year tuition fees for British and European Union students do not cover their costs, and they need to turn to foreigners who are charged 50 per cent more.
Following concerns raised by academics and schools, undercover reporters visited Golden Arrows Consulting in Beijing, which placed more than 2,500 students in British universities last year, purporting to being looking for a place for a Chinese student. More...
Le CAVA de l'Académie d'Aix-Marseille organise un colloque consacré à la VAE intitulé "Dix ans de VAE : témoignages, réflexions, perspectives" le mardi 3 juillet 2012 à 13h30 à Aix-en-Provence (Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l`Homme, - MMSH -, 5 rue du Château de l'Horloge).
Contacter le CAVA par courriel pour s'inscrire.
La CAVA di Aix-Marseille organizza un simposio sul VAE dal titolo "Dieci anni di VAE: testimonianze, riflessioni, prospettive" martedì, 3 luglio 2012 a 13:30 in Aix-en-Provence (Mediterranean House Science Man's, - MMSH -, 5 rue du Château de l'Horloge). Più...
GUS 2012 - 5e sommet mondial des universités - Developing Talent to Drive Innovation in a Global Society
Créé à Sapporo au Japon en 2008, ce Sommet réunit chaque année un nombre croissant d’universités du monde entier pour débattre de sujets liés à la ‘durabilité’ de l’enseignement supérieur au XXIe siècle. Le sommet 2012 à Chicago a mis l’accent sur le dialogue entre les chefs d’établissements, le gouvernement américain et le secteur privé, notamment la société civile. La Déclaration finale signée par 70 dirigeants d’universités de plus d’une trentaine de pays répartis sur les 5 continents lance un appel aux chefs d’Etat du G8 pour, notamment, favoriser:
- la reconnaissance des innovations issues des universités qui contribuent à la durabilité mondiale,
- l’identification de stratégies à long terme pour soutenir et encourager l'innovation,
- le développement de réseaux internationaux et de programmes d'échanges destinés à soutenir l'innovation dans les politiques publiques.
- le développement de nouveaux modèles de financement avec des sanctions efficaces et durable et issus d’une collaboration entre les universités et les partenaires du secteur privé.
Le 6e Sommet mondial des universités devrait se réunir en Grande-Bretagne au printemps 2013.
Voir aussi The Global University Summit 2011 (6-7 May 2011), La CPU organise les prochains sommets mondiaux des universités, G8 University Summit.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation will be hosting the 5th Global University Summit in Chicago from April 29 to May 1, 2012. Presidents and senior officials representing more than 80 leading research universities from the U.S. and around the world will be attending. Held in parallel with the events of the G8 Summit taking place at Camp David, Maryland, in May 2012, the Summit's aim is to engage university leadership at the highest levels with the major global social challenges facing higher education in the 21st century.
This Summit brings together leadership of major research universities and industry from across the world to deliberate upon critical issues facing higher education globally in the 21st century. The theme for 2012 is "Developing Talent to Drive Innovation in a Global Society."
Our world today is more interconnected than it has ever been. We are witnessing unparalleled levels of collaboration among institutions of higher education across national boundaries. While technology and economic development have made it easier for unprecedented numbers of people access education, we often grapple with quality education issues and how to best harness our creative energies and craft the innovations needed to respond to the challenges of the 21st century. The 5th Global University Summit will provide a forum for exploration of these issues and for development of new partnerships among universities.
Higher education depends heavily on government support in every country. Therefore, Global University Summits are always held in conjunction with the G8 Summit to draw the attention of world leaders to the needs of higher education and its vital role in helping us deal with the challenges of the present and the future. The 2012 G8 Summit will take place at Camp David from May 20 to May 21, 2012.
The Summit presents participants with an unparalleled opportunity to engage university leadership at the highest levels. The 5th Global University Summit is sponsored by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation.