“In Belgium, every student has the right to work for 4,000 euros declared, and no social charges for the boss”, Jean Viard
At the moment, some students have already started classes, sometimes even for several weeks, and others will not start them until tomorrow in certain major universities, in Paris in particular. With more than ever the question of student precariousness raised by associations, and in particular that of housing. This is the theme of the day with the sociologist Jean Viard, research director at the CNRS.
This year, note the associations, it has been particularly difficult for students to find accommodation. The market was very tight and above all, it’s more expensive. This is still by far the largest item of expenditure. Government back-to-school aid has been increased, scholarships and then housing aid. Not enough, according to the associations. Moreover, this student precariousness is a major issue, particularly in terms of housing.
franceinfo: Is it possible to improve things, to go further with public policies for example?
John Viard: Nor should we generalize. a kid from Paris who is studying in Paris, he doesn’t have to face immense difficulties. Personally, I think that housing should be separated from the issue of student income, because everyone has the right to housing. I think we weren’t good. for a long time I think that the departments of student missions Since they would have built U cities for their students, and a department where there is no university, the Alpes de Haute-Provence, Lozère, etc., it would be all quite normal that there is a university city next to the nearest town, to provide student accommodation.
We have not had sufficiently dynamic policies. If you raise a child in a territory, it is normal afterwards, to allow him to go to study, and to compensate for the advantage of the child born in the city who, for his part, continues to sleep with his parents.
So I think the departments could do some work, the regions too. Every time I go to the Cité internationale in Paris, I tell myself when on the other side, there will be a city of regions? Because there are a lot of young people from the regions who finish their studies in Paris.
The Cité internationale is this place in Paris, with one building per country in a way, the countries that volunteered to take part in this initiative where foreign students are welcomed…
Students from all over the world. There would be a city of regions, it would be very important because France being what it is, a large part of the students who want to study for a long time, pass through Paris at some point. It is also a way of creating loyalties between the youth and the territories of origin. There, I think we were not good at all. And then, there is another question: how much does a student earn? Let’s say a student spends between 600 and 1,000 euros per month. Once housed, that’s about what it needs.
Here again, I am very fascinated by the Belgian model. In Belgium, every student has the right to work for 4,000 euros with zero social charges, but declared. So if an accident happens, you are covered. But for the boss, it’s zero social charges. The goal is to teach young people service trades, care trades, and at the same time, to protect them in the event of an accident. It is a very good measure, it is very good for a student to work a little.
It’s something to think about, the Belgian model is interesting, especially at the moment, we can’t find servers etc., these are jobs that the students will become. There is a real reflection to be had to put the work in the middle of the studies, in very small doses.
And the means of the university? The establishment directors are worried because they have to compensate for costs, in particular with the increase in energy and heating. Are French universities sufficiently well endowed?
There are more and more students. The budget has increased by 30% over 30 years. But at the same time, as there are more and more students, per student, it has decreased. So the students have the impression that the universities are understaffed, which is quite true, we have nevertheless overstaffed the Grandes Ecoles.
The gap is almost 50% between the financing of a classic university student, and then a large school. It’s a real subject. It’s quite specific to France, since the Grandes Ecoles are a little outside the university. You go to the United States, the universities are the heart of the educational model, including the political model.