Rankings, concerns and inequality: SUD Education criticizes neo-liberal Parcoursup machine

The Parcoursup platform was set up in the fall of 2017 (in a forced march, and even before the Student Orientation and Success law was passed in March 2018). Since then, every year, the opening of the proposal phase by more than 800,000 candidates has been accompanied by numerous criticisms of this platform for teaching higher education in France.

SUD Education criticizes Parcoursup and the operating principle of the platform since 2017:

– beyond the proposal stage, this system represents a lot of work for candidates (for each course requested, an “inspired project” must be written) and for secondary teachers helping to build the gusto;

-the aspirations of the candidates are subject to validation through the Future form: the control of orientation decisions is thus strengthened, and therefore, mechanically, the process of self-censorship on the part of the candidates;

– with Parcoursup, all post-baccalaureate training now operates in the admission system for selected higher education sectors (preparatory classes, higher technician sections, schools): this is a generalization of file selection for to enter into higher education, while prior to 2018 “non -selective” university courses could not rank and classify bachelors;

– this general selection is very difficult to understand because the selection criteria vary according to each training;

– Parcoursup is a system of national waiting lists for several months, while the previous system, Admission Post-Bac, operates in three simultaneous phases thanks to a hierarchy of aspirations of candidates (the idea is to give them the highest wish on their list.);

-this system of waiting lists means that candidates with the most academic support, and therefore generally social, find themselves first in proposals, and, often, in a position to choose from multiple proposals, while candidates with lower grades will have to wait a few weeks and receive fewer job offers.

In addition to these problems associated with the operation of Parcoursup, there is a temporary variable: student demographics. Between 2015 and 2020, the number of students newly enrolled in university (receiving the majority of higher education entries) rose sharply to nearly 29,000 (+9.7%), and 97 500 for all registrants (+6.3%). This is the result of a number of factors, including an increase in births in the 2000s (which can be expected by most). Instead of opening up reception capacities equivalent to this socio-demographic phenomenon (as was done in the 1960s and 1990s in France), the solution to managing the shortage of places is … Parcoursup! With this system, candidates assume that their ranking (usually on the waiting list) is due to their academic level, while this above all reflects the difficulties of training courses in welcoming students to good condition. Moreover, at the end of the hierarchy of wishes, it is impossible to say now how many candidates are willing to enroll in a particular sector since 2017, so to plan the reception capacities accordingly. As anywhere in Macronie: that the “best” (which is also the most favored economically and culturally) can win and do the studies they want!

Parcoursup is a system of ranking according to school level (and therefore social). But its operation (CV, waiting lists, training saturation) brings this strange approach to Pôle Emploi: applying for offers, then waiting for a response (usually a rejection) and after settling in a place that doesn’t suit you but that you “deserve”. In fact it is a question of accustoming young people to a society of social choice and meritocracy, but also to the neoliberal idea that from the time of education, everyone and everyone should be an entrepreneur. on their own, able to “sell themselves” through promotion. their “skill” and “knowledge”. Combined with Bac Blanquer organizing continuous assessment from 1st class, the Parcoursup system creates a pathogenic situation for many young people and distorts their relationship to the studies: it is no longer a question of learning. on, including having the right to error, but to improve its file with a view to the competitive market of higher education.

For the public university, open to all, SUD Education claims:

  • Free higher education for everyone, regardless of nationality (removal of the Welcome to France platform)
  • The end of selection through Parcoursup and the upcoming Find my Master platform. All baccalaureate holders must be able to enroll in the university or course of their choice.
  • For this, there is a need to increase reception capacity, which can only be achieved by hiring more than 50,000 administrative staff and full-time teachers in the coming years. Nearly 30,000 full-time teaching staff are now needed to pay for the additional hours.
  • The construction/renovation of 10 universities and the urgent demand and vacant space to allow decent study and working conditions.

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