PARIS: On Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron promised all students in France two square meals a day for only one euro each ($1.21) to help them deal with constraints on Covid-19.
He said that if they felt overwhelmed by the limitations, which entail closing campuses, a 6:00 pm national curfew and declining options for student employment, students would still be offered scholarships to pay for career therapy.
Speaking to students at the University of Paris-Saclay, Macron said that until the end of the current term, there will be no return to normality, with Covid-related constraints remaining in place until the summer.
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The assurances of Macron came a day after students protested across France about their conditions during the constraints of Covid-19, saying they were driven by isolation and financial instability to the verge of despair.
Many have advocated for a return to full face-to-face education, postponed because of the pandemic.
For the time being, only first-year candidates, from Jan 25 but in half-groups, would be allowed to undergo classroom tutorials.
But Macron said on Thursday that all students should be permitted on campus once a week as long as distancing steps were respected in auditoriums and classrooms.
A student needs to have the same benefits as a wage earner,’ said Macron. “They must be allowed to come to university once a week if needed.”
He admitted that introducing this would be “complicated” but that he had faith that they would handle in universities.
We can only take into consideration your right to some on-site appearance, to connect with your teachers, and to meet with other students, considering what your generation has already been through,” he said, adding that the health situation also had to be considered.”
Professional therapy grants will take the form of a voucher to be distributed at the beginning of February, which should be claimed by all students and used “if they need one” to offset the expense of a counsellor or therapist, Macron said.
From restaurants known as “resto U”, canteen-style locations with outlets near universities that are usually only available for takeaway, students will be able to get inexpensive meals.