There are an additional 65,000 students at universities in France this term taking the total up to 2.5 million – and the students themselves are feeling a little cramped.
For the last few weeks, many have taken to a page on social media site Tumblr called “MaSalleDeCoursVaCraquer” (“My Classroom is about to Burst”), to share pictures of their overflowing lecture theatres.
Students are seen sitting on the steps in the aisles of the auditoriums, others sit outside the lecture theatre itself with a notepad on their knee.
Some students shared short videos with scans around the classroom showing more classmates flowing into already packed classrooms.
The initiative was set up by student unions UNEF and UNL, the heads of which wrote in a statement last week that the “significant increase” was a direct result of the baby boom in the nineties.
They called on the government to take action, urging students to do all they could to have their voice heard and their plight noticed.
And if the actions of Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Monday are anything to go by, the campaign may have worked.
During a visit to a university in Avignon, Valls announced that the government would inject an additional €100 million into the university system in the 2016 budget. This will take the total university education budget to €200 million for next year, double what it was for 2015.
Valls said that the cash injection was an “exceptional case” given the spike in student numbers, which he noted had grown by 1-2 percent each year since 2012, but by 2.8 percent at the beginning of the latest term.
The full 2016 budget will be announced on Wednesday.
Representatives from the UNEF union weren't impressed with the government plan, saying that once the cash had been shared among 100 institutions, it wouldn't even cover staff payrolls, reported 20 Minutes.
French students made headlines in December for another Tumblr account highlighting the sorry state of the universities around the country. Irate by a lack of funding, students shared pictures of crumbling institutions and organized protest marches across the country.
All photos: MaSalleDeCoursVaCraquer/Tumblr