Pierre Tapie, president of the business school ESSEC and head of the Conférence des Grandes Écoles, which represents France’s elite institutions, said that the reform was a step in the right direction.
According to a recent report by INED, the French National Institute for Demographic Studies, 83 per cent of academics admit that English dominates their area of research. Around 25 per cent give classes in the tongue from time to time or on a regular basis, it adds.
Many academics and politicians nevertheless accuse the government of failing to defend the French language. The Académie Française, the country’s pre-eminent learned body on matters pertaining to the tongue, has called for the bill to be shelved.
Many think the change in legislation will better arm French universities to compete on the global stage and attract the best international students.