University

Extended holidays and distance learning courses, measures criticized by Strasbourg University to save money

The institution has decided to close for the next two weeks due to the Christmas holidays: “the third week of Christmas vacation at the beginning of January and a full week of distance learning courses in February,” said Michel Deneken, president of the university, in a video addressed to students and posted on YouTube on Monday, September 19. .

Instead of resuming on January 3, 2023 at the end of the Christmas break, students will return to university desks on January 9 after a week of administrative closure and no classes. In February, a week of distance learning will also be ordered.

Heating “as soon as possible”

The university also announced that it would turn on the heating at 19 degrees “as soon as possible”. The communication campaign will be deployed “in favor of ecological gestures for a more sustainable planet”, said Michel Deneken.

As Le Monde explains, the university’s expenditure related to energies (electricity, gas and heating) has fallen from 10 million euros in 2021 to 13 million euros in 2022 after the amending budget allowed an extension of 1.5 million euros. For the year 2023, 20 million is included in the budget provision.

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The unions are rioting

The announcements led to outrage from unions, including the FSU, which said in a press release: “Administrative closures constitute a breach of the principle of continuity of public service”. Believing that this is “forced telecommuting” that will shift energy costs to employees, while these “heating and electricity costs should be borne by the employer”.

The CGT of Higher Education and Research Institutions also expressed through a press release: “teleworking can only be carried out on a voluntary basis and that distance learning cannot be a means of compensating for the lack of ‘state investment’.” And to add that it is “completely unacceptable for the state to transfer the costs of its own employer (heating, connection, light, meals, etc.) to employees and students”.

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