This re-entry at the University of Paris is the first since the merger process between Paris Diderot, Paris Descartes and the Paris Institute of Globe Physics (IPGP), has been completed. And although the university was recently labeled IDEX ("Initiative of Excellence), the start of the school year has been rather catastrophic for students, staff and professors. Technical malfunctions of the new platform have prevented the administrative and pedagogical registration of many students putting many of us in very difficult situations, especially the most precarious or foreign students.
Back to school for psychology courses
Psychology students were not spared by the merger, quite the contrary: for the "psychological sciences" course, the start of the academic year initially scheduled for September 14 will take place this Monday only after several postponements. Faced with this situation, undergraduate students from the Boulogne site launched a petition in the form of an open letter addressed to the Presidency of the University and to those in charge of their UFR, to alert them to the problems they encounter in this regard. back to school. They address the uncertainty to which the merger and the health crisis expose them. They also provide support to administrative staff and professors – all too often precarious – and deplore the abolition of posts, which has led them to work understaffed. In response, the University of Paris twitter account blocked the initiator of the open letter …
The psychoanalytic sector in danger?
Since the merger project has been launched, the threat of the suppression of the psychoanalysis channel has hovered. Indeed, on the pretext that with the merger of two universities there would be duplicate courses, the presidency is trying to oust psychoanalysis. After having considered abolishing it altogether, the presidency has chosen another option and in this re-entry the fields of "psychological sciences" (ex-Paris Descartes) and psychoanalysis, "psychologies and humanities" (ex-Paris Diderot) are constraints to constitute a common license, with a single model course for the first two years of the license. If there is no suppression of the course strictly speaking, the merger makes the existence of a single model compulsory and the presidency has left the teachers to cope with this obligation, which obviously involves budget cuts and reductions. of certain teachings and therefore of certain teachers.
The Institute of Psychology explains in a press release their proposal to " establishment of a common core for L1-L2 for the two training sites on the basis of fundamental teaching units of the Institute of Psychology covering all the sub-disciplines of psychology and representing 2/3 of ECTS, the last third to guarantee the specificity of each of the two routes. "Faced with this situation, which involves the disappearance of a large part of their teaching, the professors of the Department of Psychoanalysis have called for the suspension of negotiations. In reaction, the professors of the Institute of Psychology (ex Paris Descartes) met in a General Assembly on September 24 and voted to postpone the start of the academic year indefinitely until the presidency of the new University of Paris is positioned on their motion and on their common core proposal.
War of sectors or fight against merger and budget cuts?
Behind the constraint of standardizing and simplifying the "training offer" hides a major attack on the university, with the possibility of cutting courses and budgets.
Indeed, reforms and decrees concerning licenses have followed one another since the LRU law (law relating to the freedoms and responsibilities of universities) of 2007 with the objective of professionalizing general licenses so that, in the words of Valérie Pécresse, then Minister of 'higher education and research,' employers know what they can expect from a bachelor's degree ". The plan to “simplify” licenses, to create “new courses” and “multidisciplinary” licenses has as a compass not to ensure the success of the students but that of adapting the teaching and the skills of the students to the needs of the employers. (have a flexible and low-cost workforce). For several years, the Ministry has therefore demanded in the name of "simplification" a reduction in the number of licenses. A policy that undermines the educational autonomy of universities, or even endangers certain teaching and jobs, as in the case of the psychology and psychoanalysis courses of Paris Descartes and Paris Diderot.
The fight for the future of the sectors must go through the refusal of the crumbs thrown by the presidency, it is necessary in this sense to denounce the merger and its consequences on the UFR of psychology and that of psychoanalytic studies, and to refuse the vote of the model which must take place at the faculty council on October 19.
Against the story of an epistemological opposition between the two old courses of psychology and psychoanalysis, the students who denounced in the petition the postponement of the start of the school year, just like the professors aware of the harmful effects of the merger, have everything to gain by discussing between departments.
Contrary to the austerity policies carried out in the universities, it is necessary to fight so that all the courses remain open and for that to require a massive investment in the universities and the hiring of professors and staff and the end of their precarious contracts. In order to impose such a program and reject the consequences of the merger, like the merger itself, it is also necessary to draw inspiration from the struggles that have won against the merger processes. Like, for example, the battle in Toulouse. It united students and staff against a university model that would not only worsen working conditions and considerably reduce the number of staff, but also generalize competition between universities, sectors and students. The strike by staff and professors and the alliance with the students were key to countering the merger project.
At the University of Paris too, it is through struggle, strike and alliance between students, professors and staff from two departments – and beyond – that we will be able to counter the effects of the merger.