Chopping Statistics Down
One reputable French union is alerting here the scientific and teaching community about what is happening to public statistics on science and education in France. The government’s mot d’ordre seems to be here “contrôler le chiffre” (“controlling figures”).
So there is this statistics department working for the ministries in charge of education and scientific research, called DEPP (Direction de l’évaluation, de la prospective et de la performance), which is supposed to be responsible for the production and publication of statistics about schools, universities and so forth. But the cabinet of Xavier Darcos, Sarkozy’s minister of national education, is now considering these public statistics as confidential, blocking publication — are concerned in particular surveys from the DEPP that could hinder the minister’s demographic justifications for downsizing the education system.
That’s relieving: a government that cares so much about statistics that it prefers to keep them for itself alone.