Educational standards are highly questionable

This article is a sub-section of a large report on French video game studies published by the STJV. You will find the table of contents of this dossier, and links to all its parts, here : https://www.stjv.fr/en/2021/09/report-on-french-video-game-studies/

If students feel guilty about promoting their schools, it is not only because of the poor studying conditions and the exploitation, but also because the education they receive is often of poor quality. It is difficult to praise the merits of a school whose pedagogy is unreliable or even non-existent, and whose relevance fades with each passing year. All the more so when the schools’ brochures often boast of course hours far in excess of those actually provided, with classes that are outright missing from the curriculum.

The classes taught, which are mostly technical at the expense of other forms of knowledge, very often teach students technologies and processes that are outdated in the industry and, in most cases, do not have any educational structure. This is because the vast majority of schools simply do not allocate any, or only very few, resources to academic consistency and monitoring. This lack of resources leads to a lack of communication between teachers, the absence of a stable curriculum, and a lack of consistency between disciplines. Classes that would benefit from being taught simultaneously are not, and the number of projects multiplies because each class requires a specific one, instead of grouping different works into a single project, thus contributing to the overwork of students.

Some teachers have told us that they have been hired and then sent in front of classes without any kind of syllabus, training or even basic tips from the educational department they report to. The high turnover of teachers and pedagogical staff prevents any continuity from one year to the next and leads to absurd situations where the same lectures are given two years in a row, to the same class, with two different speakers. To compensate for these shortcomings, students or teachers sometimes take on the task of pedagogical coordination in place of their school, but they are neither trained nor paid for this additional work. And the pedagogical departments do not facilitate this work: they are described as opaque, hardly communicating with either students or teachers. “Getting answers to our emails is a real obstacle course”, students in many schools tell us.

As if to drive the point home, these problems get worse as the years go by. With each passing year, schools are moving more and more towards a so-called ‘project-based learning’ approach, which allows them to leave students to fend for themselves without a teacher, sometimes to the point where Masters years are effectively completed without any classes. The mass adoption of this mode of non-teaching, apart from saving schools money by making the expense of monitoring training unnecessary, has no educational quality, drives students to burnout, increases inequalities, and gives rise to many of the problems outlined in the previous sections.

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