No wonder the French Education system is in a bad way!

I saw this today on France 24 . How can someone become a Professor in a university when they have not even qualified or practiced in their chosen profession? It certainly does not say much for the system if unqualified teachers are awarded posts

Sarkozy son awarded teaching job... before finishing his own studies

Sarkozy’s second son has propelled himself back into the media spotlight, this time taking on the role of university professor… before finishing his own law studies.

Power-hungry and resolute, Jean Sarkozy is much like a younger, taller, blonder, version of his father. At the grand-old age of 26, he has already accomplished a career in politics, married a wealthy heiress, and produced two grandchildren for Nicolas.

Now, he’s set to become a law professor at the Créteil University of East Paris (UPEC).

The controversial news emerged this week when a fan of the Sarkozy clan, who appears to be studying at UPEC, came across a document (right) with Jean Sarkozy listed as a teacher in next term’s class. Seemingly thrilled by the news, the student uploaded the picture to Twitter in order to share the ‘good news’ with his Sarkozy-supporting friends.

Soon enough, the tweet was picked up by some less than Sarkozy-supporting Twitter-users, sparking indignation among leftwing and socialist critics of the former president and his powerful tribe. Pointing out that the young Sarkozy had taken two extra years to complete his degree and had never actually practiced law, many of the tweets included hash-tags #joke, #OMG and #mdr (literally – ‘dying of laughter’).

"[Nicolas] Sarkozy still has a long reach... With just a Bachelor's degree, Jean Sarkozy is the new law professor at Créteil University!"

Despair at Paris’s Créteil Uni: the new teacher is someone who took five years to get his degree (after failing twice in prep)...

Troublesome offspring

It’s not the first time Jean Sarkozy has been ambushed by the public in his attempts to over-achieve. In 2009, at just 23 years old, he was forced to reject a position as director of an influential public agency after his father was accused of nepotism and turning France into a banana republic. (He was, nonetheless, appointed to the board of directors.)

But on the whole, Jean is still the least troublesome of Sarkozy’s three sons. Pierre, 28 (right), who spends most of his time DJ-ing in Ibiza, cost his dad’s reputation dearly when he ‘fell ill’ at a nightclub in Ukraine last January. Panicked Papa-Sarkozy sent a state-owned Dassault Falcon jet (only to be sanctioned in cases of public interest), to pick up the troubled DJ, who said he had a stomach upset. That stomach cost tax payers more than 30,000 euros.

And then there’s 15-year-old Louis, who made a mockery of Sarkozy’s strict youth policies when he threw a tomato and a marble at a police officer from his window at the Elysée Palace last spring. The officer complained. Little Sarko was not amused…

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John F. Schubert - Mon, 01/28/2013 - 09:17

So the Socialists are shocked. Just a little piston for fiston. Mitterand was a master at meddling. Remember?

Anonyme (not verified) - Sun, 01/27/2013 - 20:16

he act like he `s father more french than others forgotten he `s hungarian origine

khagaraj - Sun, 01/27/2013 - 17:22

Once Hollande abolishes home work in schools all will be fine once again.

Paracelse - Sun, 01/27/2013 - 08:01

Teaching laws has become a joke then.. no wonder criminals are roaming the streets in France.

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I'd agree with you but I'm from Kentucky and education there isn't good. Luckily I was in a school district that was nationally recognized. The rest of the state is in the garbage I fear. You have a few states there where education is little funded and it is pretty bad. However, you do have fantastic schools and curriculums that rival the French system. You have excellent Montessori schools, Latin schools, Steiner schools and Country Day Schools that rival any private school i've seen here. I really want my kids to have the best education possible. Now, I'm thinking that going to the US, even though I'll have to pay an arm and a leg, will help us give them the type of education that we think they need.

I did my license here and my lecturers were in their thirties. As a matter of fact, several of them were my age at the time.

I want to start a school in my town. Anyone have any ideas how I could do this? I don't want to run the school but I want to try to get funding, accrediation and anything else (why not throw in the whole kitchen sink?) I can. I'm not impressed with the education system here. I love how some schools do it but the strict ideas of education just don't rock my boat at all. My kids aren't learning as they are capable. I taught my daughter at home and stopped with the urging of her instit. Well guess what? My daughter who is now five, can only count to thirty and has forgotten most of what I've taught her. I was working on writing with her but the teachers don't like it when parents teach them differently than they do. So, my child who was ahead and gifted it just bored, bored, bored.

I used to keep on translating through the holidays, have been known to translate on holiday too :-O

New business going well thanks ;-)

I think Cate is touching on truths that probably speak for everywhere. My OH had a job that was originally tenured after her two probationary years in Swansea, so the English and Welsh university system. Then the vice-chancellor decided to have a cost cutting exercise. It was one of several. Some years earlier with my ex-OH, I had gone with her when she gave a seminar for the sociology department, I went along to be able to meet people at the international development studies department. Both departments were 'famous' in the academic world then in the late 1980s. When we arrived in 2004 there was one sociologist left from those days but based within geography. Development studies were a vague memory in a few people's minds.

Anyway, they had a new research centre, a director for that and my OH to head research and direct PG studies. There was a vast Whitehall grant for them. Four years later the money had been 'diverted', which in terms of the funding agreement was impossible, but..., and the VC wanted the centre killed off. I had been teaching a particular course on a masters degree part time that was not part of but linked to the centre. All at once the VC's office announced the centre was to go and various attached courses on masters degrees were being cut. Redundancies were to be expected. Tenured posts were to be transferred to other departments within the faculty. They did not tell incoming degree entrants and masters students for the coming year. So OH went to the union and got nothing from them whatsoever, so went to personnel to see what could be done. She got a whisper that there was the possibility of voluntary severance with a more than decent pay off but not to tell anybody else. She asked for that and got it. It was the same week as I was told my course, therefore I, had been dropped. I was prepaid the next year's course fee which nobody had ever heard of happening before. It was probably because of the severance agreement and trying to buy both of us being silent. Of course, with the payment in our pockets and everything packed to leave we had a dinner and told all the people still hanging on there.

Now the bit that irks. The former head of faculty had gone on a placement in Trondheim, Norway in 2004. he remained on the Swansea payroll since it was only a placement. He stayed in Norway and in 2010 died there, young and unexpectedly. His name and even picture had remained on the faculty website whilst he was gone and alive, it is still on the departmental website. So is my OH. In fact, whilst everything has been updated as one would expect, the centre that was killed off still exists there and that ex-faculty head is said to be its director, although there were two co-directors in place until its demise who are now taken off. Other people have been shunted off to other faculties and are gone. Somehow the one remaining (also well known) sociologist appears on the same page but he died suddenly in 2010. Complaints have been made by the widow of the former head of faculty/centre about his presence, ditto the partner of the sociologist but the new VC says only that it is a 'strategic' approach adopted in order to attract funding and the best postgraduate students!

The mysterious ways in which the hierarchy works and what those who fund them tolerate perpetuates a system that is beyond comprehension. People who are no longer there or even alive are still part of the university in at least one non-existent department and centre. There may be others of course. How on earth can anybody get what they think they are 'buying' from the university when it operates that way? Given the present situation, would a bank any longer get away with the equivalent? Plus, as my now emeritus 'line manager' says, it serves well to block posts because it appears as though no new appointments are necessary. As Cate says, it warrants a degree to understand admin there too, which is probably by no means unique to that one university. So what is different between that system and the French other than in fine detail?

yes it's sooo daft! I was vacataire, then prestataire de service and finally vacataire again. They wanted to keep me at the IUT but couldn't due to changes/cost cutting - as a result, English is taught by a German, it's a long and rather daft story. I have a PGCE and maîtrise so had no problems getting work as a remplaçant either but in the end "I just can't do it anymore" square peg in a round hole and all that! Better off financially doing my own thing again, a long way away from education even though working 80+ hours and 6.5 days a week, I really do miss the holidays :-O

France 24 left wing? Who is praised by the press? Whenever reading the popular mags in a waiting room I tend to notice that anybody is equally picked on. It often seems that Marine Le Pen by and large has some of the most sympathetic coverage there which is hardly a left wing bias. Le Figaro and other overtly but 'serious' right leaning media do not do as you say. Perhaps a pinch of salt but such sweeping accusations of the political bias of press reports are a bit OTT.

Those who can do those that can’t teach.

Oops, thanks Cate, knee-jerk reaction without having the time to read the whole article ;-)

hang on, that's a bit of a sweeping statement. I did my maîtrise here in France and all my lecturers were in their 40s or over! Ben's pointed out the rest bellow...

Mostly good points. Indeed, but even 'enseignant vacant' posts are hard come by as several of my wife's French friends have said. One who has had an 'informal' career working with INED has just found her first ever university post, as of last autumn, in her early 40s. I have never met her, but as OH says, although she knows top academics very well, she did not know anybody important enough to help her with the selection process - until this job.

However, it is not actually so different to other countries. I never held a lectureship or higher although I have done two spells as a director of studies (which was paid in annual fees rather than a salary), I was a long term supervisor which once somebody has an MPhil at least can do for undergraduates and at the top with a PhD completed and a few years of experience, can eventually have doctoral students. I had a non-stipendiary tutorship which was again a fee thing. I also taught classes and short courses for fees. I applied for countless lectureships but had waited a bit too long and was becoming considered a bit long in the tooth, so almost certainly had the fact that by letting my grants and fellowships run until my late 30s had never had a junior post when I was much younger. In some places it was clear there was a 'preferred' candidate born to the job but not quite as often as some people probably imagine.

For all of that, as posts become scarcer here in France and given how some people appear to do more or less what I did in the vain hope of and the fact that this has attracted media attention makes it a bit fishy. It might not be. As for the age thing, 26 is OK Abigail. As a 22 or 23 year old I had undergraduate supervision of half a dozen students which comes out similar and that was common enough, also considered the way to gain one to one teaching experience and soon class practice by doing group supervisions. Given that in academia there is no formal teacher training, there has 'traditionally' not really been another way. That seems quite reasonable to me. Again, it is just because talented people with the skills do not get jobs and others with an advantage do sometimes I have some doubts...

Hold your horses ladies and gentlemen!

He is not going to have a full teaching position, he is nominated as a "enseignant vacant" (probably best translated as teaching assistant) in the department of corporate law. This means he is the older student (and seen as such) who will be guiding a small group of younger students in their theoretical and applied work. These jobs are common and reserved for students under the age of 28 .....

He has the required level (a master) for that job so where's the downfall of the French Education system?

it stinks! especially when fully qualified teachers, yours truly, end up having their hours cut in higher education. I helped a friend with the english part of her thesis to become a maître de conférence - her study was laughable but she got it and is now comfortable for the rest of her life on 3k a month + In the end I gave up and got out, the rest is history but this really does stink and yes, even though I love france and will spend the rest of my life here, it can be so intreverted and stilted, education being a prime example as you both know only too well :-(

True, but mortality begins to catch up and I would like life to slow down a little with the shoulder thing I have that is partly disabling me and will cost energy until I have a joint replacement in a few years. I had a kind of offer, at least a colleague in Peru from the university floated the idea, that I should take a job in Chicago. Good university for the social sciences and all. I was tempted but in a probably very silly way I hung it out on the fringe in Cambridge hoping that at least Berlin would offer me a job. Neither paid off in that sense so I have been a toe in academic and a whole leg in consultancy since, I am not sure I could ever fit into university life again. I could sure use the money. The OH would not want to go too far away from her father, so whilst he is alive this is about as far away as we will be from a quick flight to Milano and an hour drive across the border. Maybe later, then I can do pure intellectual research and write, watch my daughters grow up and start their own lives. As for feeling old, in truth I feel younger than I did at 40 so plenty of steam in the bits that work...

Lovely thought Celeste ;-) BUT I am 65 this year, so no way. But she is 18 years younger than me...

It is a disgrace. My wife is an excellent lecturer, researcher, director of studies, fundraiser and other qualities demanded of academics today. At present she is going through the process of being assessed to see if she is accepted for a PU (Professeur des Universités) or MCF (Maître de conférences) title which would then entitle her to apply for a position at her existing grade. She has a Swiss PhD, completed in French, published as a book by l'Harmattan here in France, was a research fellow in Cambridge then a senior lecturer/director of studies/research director in Swansea. Whilst she is my partner and it is common enough for people to build up that person as the greatest of all time, my view is that she really is what I say she is. I made a terrible mistake encouraging her to go freelance when she went for a severance when her department was closing down in Swansea. Her international reputation says she is high standard and this prat walks into a job... That is yet another building block in the end of academic integrity in France, no wonder they are slipping down the university world leagues (34th in world highest and then some until the next).