AMU INFO - Special COVID19 - n°9

Newsletter of the President of Aix-Marseille University to the university community

Wednesday, April 22, 2020,

Special virus COVID-19 n°9 - For the attention of students

in the context of crisis management related to the COVID-19 pandemic: Recognition of work, support & solidarity, no automatic validation in the 2nd half of the year.

Dear students,
Dear students,

In addition to the numerous solidarity aid programs that Aix-Marseille University has set up for its students, the commitment of the teaching teams to organize distance learning for 80,000 students has been intense and the examination procedures introduced are unprecedented.

Placing the student at the heart of the scheme, these exceptional arrangements guarantee both legitimate recognition of the good work done by students who can do so, and support for the students most in difficulty in the face of the health crisis. Without automatic validation of the semester.

While inaccurate information has been circulating since yesterday on this subject, it is important for me to officially bring you clear and factual elements, fundamental for your future. We are at your side.
Take great care of yourself.

1. Examination modalities

These exam modalities, for all AMU students, appear in an "Exam Guide", voted - without any votes against - by the AMU political bodies concerned, on Monday 13 April 2020. This guide was drawn up by AMU's political teams in consultation with the 18 heads of faculties and schools, the student representatives of the various trade union representatives, the national network of Vice-Presidents for Education and the MESRI.

Three main principles, all shared by these actors, guided the conception of the guide:

  • placing the student at the heart of the reflection;
  • value and recognize the work done during containment when e-learning conditions were good ;
  • support the students most in difficulty in the health crisis and secure their courses.

This guide now sets the framework for the organisation of the exams that each faculty and AMU school will take according to its specificities. Official communication to students is ensured by means of an e-mail from the Dean or Director to the students and posting on the website of the faculty or school. This guide is available here

What about evaluations this semester? In summary:

  • Evaluation will be made of the work done this semester, before, during and after the containment. Only the marks obtained before the confinement will be counted, as well as the marks obtained during the confinement or after if the latter are higher than 10/20.
  • Then, the work done during the confinement will be evaluated on different supports (reports, case analysis, etc...) mostly in continuous control.
  • Students who have not been able to be assessed during the crisis or who have not been able to obtain satisfactory results - provided they have validated their first semester - will move on to the next year and will be able to follow support courses. During these courses, they will be evaluated with benevolence so that they can be given a mark. Concerning the details of these courses, several systems are still under study to enable any student who wishes to succeed: two intensive weeks at the beginning of the academic year, courses spread over the semester, tutoring... The important thing is that students should have the solid and necessary basis to follow the courses of the new semester in which they will be enrolled at the beginning of the academic year, without being drowned under the workload.

Thus, AMU does not neutralise the semester. A pedagogical continuity plan has been set up and the vast majority of AMU courses have been organised at a distance (e-learning) since the beginning of the confinement. Students can therefore continue to study and it is in their best interest to do so. The knowledge and skills acquired in this semester will be necessary to succeed in the next semester, as they will be in their future professional life. In addition, the grades obtained may be used to offset those of the previous semester. Only some very practical teaching units (UE) on technical installations that cannot take place and some UEs with very large numbers of students without continuous TD monitoring could be not assessed. In this case, alternative activities are under consideration.

What about face-to-face exams?

The likelihood of being able to organize face-to-face examinations in the coming months seems low. We would like to keep the second semester exams of semester 1 on university premises, however AMU's pedagogical teams are already working on alternative solutions to avoid any new impediment.

2. What is the status of solidarity aid

Since the beginning of the confinement on March 17, we have been very attentive to the situation of our students and to the evolution of this situation. We have urgently organized aid systems in the areas of food, social, medical and psychological support, assistance with repatriation from abroad, we are trying to bridge the digital divide and allow e-learning, we are trying to make up for the cessation of remunerative internships...

  • It should be noted that nearly 4,000 students on our Aix-Marseille sites have remained confined alone or in the "cité U"; some are in great difficulty.
  • At the beginning of the crisis, we sent you a survey by e-mail to evaluate your medical, social and psychological needs. 60% of you answered us. Nearly 600 wished to be contacted again by our Disability Mission, nearly 1200 by our SIUMPPS staff and more than 1600 by the CROUS social services. In total, more than 3,600 AMU students have already benefited from medical-social or psychological follow-up or support.

    We don't forget the others. The confinement is not over, the resumption of face-to-face classes will not take place before September and the exams are approaching. Our teams remain mobilized to provide you with answers and support if you need it. Of course, we are trying to contact students in the digital divide who do not have access to their emails, and therefore to our survey. As you know, we have sent them SMS messages and contacted those who wish to do so. We are continuing this follow-up, we remain attentive and do not hesitate to pass on the information.
  • Concerning individual aid following the interruption of internships, a letter was sent to the training managers, asking them to investigate with each of the students who were on internship, on any financial problems that may have been encountered. More than 260 applications were received. However, not all of them were eligible. To date, 95 files eligible for the scheme have been forwarded by our teams to the CROUS social workers. Some sixty of them have already received financial aid of between €200 and €600 (flat-rate aid). During the crisis period, since the payment of funds does not require the student to go before a court, the students concerned receive their financial aid more quickly.
  • In terms of food aid, solidarity is being further strengthened with more than 2,000 food parcels and hygiene kits distributed every week on university sites. This is made possible thanks, in particular, to the voluntary work of AMU staff and students.

    Really, I thank you very warmly for your generosity, just as I sincerely thank ALL the student associations that are mobilising, our partners from the local authorities (the Cities of Aix and Marseille, the Métropole AMPM, the CD13 and the PACA Sud Region who support us), the CROUS, the Restos du cœur, the association Vendredi 13 and our partners from the mass distribution.
  • To reduce the digital divide and enable e-learning, we distributed 200 SIM cards, a hundred USB keys and nearly 350 computers.
  • Concerning students in mobility, 330 AMU students are eligible for repatriation assistance. It will be financed by the university, by the Southern Region and ERASMUS.

I wish you all courage. We will emerge stronger from this crisis, which brings us together around values of solidarity.

Dear students, dear students, dear everyone, take great care of yourselves and everyone else.

Éric Berton

President of Aix-Marseille University

Eric Berton
AMU Info 9
Information for AMU students