Contrary Imaginations: France, Reform and the California Master Plan

Chapter
Part of the Higher Education Dynamics book series (HEDY, volume 38)

Abstract

Since 1968, French higher education has been the battleground of reforms, great and small. Some, for instance the initiative taken 2 years earlier to set up a short cycle non-university sector, claimed a certain inspirational kinship with the California community college. By and large, however, Kerr’s Master Plan had little attraction. Why this should be so is not simply an expression of Gallic obtuseness or exceptionalism. It is also the outcome of that nation’s prime political values – Liberty, Equality and Fraternity – the way politics and history operationalized them and the very particular place that higher education occupies in French culture, legal and administrative procedures, political theory and, last but not least, in the polity. Many of the basic assumptions Americans make about the proper relationship between higher education and the state stand as the polar opposite to those underpinning the higher education policy of the French Republic. To explain these differences and also why the 1960 California Master Plan had little if any impact at all on French higher education, this chapter analyzes the way French higher education was shaped over the past two centuries in the light of that nation’s history.

Keywords

High Education General Interest High Education System Master Plan High Education Policy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Investigacão de Politícas do Ensino Superior (CIPES)MatosinhosPortugal

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