Paris holds on to title of world’s best student city

Paris has clinched top spot in the global "Best Student Cities" rankings for the third year running, beating off stiff opposition from the likes of Melbourne, London and Boston.

Paris holds on to title of world's best student city
There were a staggering 96,782 foreigners studying in Paris in 2013. Photo of student in Paris: Shutterstock

It may not be known as an ideal place for young people on a budget but France’s capital continues to outshine other world cities in many other student-related matters.

A study published on Wednesday by British education company Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has given Paris a grand total of 412 points, 15 points more than Melbourne and 20 more than London.

Other cities at the top of the scoreboard are Sydney (388), Hong Kong (386), Boston (386) and Tokyo (386).

QS used five main criteria in its student city point system: university rankings, student diversity, qualify of life, recruiters’ reputation and access to finance.  

“These rankings bear witness to the international appeal of Parisian universities for the quality of their teaching and research facilities,” Paris Universities chancellor François Weil told French daily La Depeche.

“It has no less than 17 world-leading universities…comfortably more than any other city on the planet except for London, which has 18,” QS reported in 2013.

The British education company has gifted the French capital top spot in the previous two “Best Student Cities” rankings, this year assessing other city matters such as pollution, safety, social progress and views on corruption.

“While Paris does have a reputation for being an expensive place to live, relatively low tuition fees mean that for students, it actually represents a more affordable destination when compared to many other popular student cities,” QS added.

“Parisian graduates are targeted by a vast range of employers across the continent… and students in Paris often enjoy extensive access to leading academics, with small class sizes and intensive teaching”.

Another study published on Wednesday by Ernst and Young (Global Talent in Global cities) shows that, despite Paris’s enviable job prospects and relatively low tuition rates, foreign students flock to London and Singapore in greater numbers.

There were nonetheless a staggering 96,782 international students in Paris in 2013.   

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Police probe opened after poster campaign against ‘Islamophobic’ lecturers at French university

The French government condemned on Monday a student protest campaign targeting two university professors accused of Islamophobia, saying it could put the lecturers in danger.

Police probe opened after poster campaign against 'Islamophobic' lecturers at French university
Illustration photo: Justin Tallis/AFP

Student groups plastered posters last week on the walls of a leading political science faculty in Grenoble that likened the professors to “fascists” and named them both in a campaign backed by the UNEF student union.

Junior interior minister Marlene Schiappa said the posters and social media comments recalled the online harassment of French schoolteacher Samuel Paty last October, who was beheaded in public after being denounced online for offending Muslims.

“These are really odious acts after what happened with the decapitation of Samuel Paty who was smeared in the same way on social networks,” she said on the BFM news channel. “We can’t put up with this type of thing.”

“When something is viewed as racist or discriminatory, there’s a hierarchy where you can report these types of issues, which will speak to the professor and take action if anything is proven,” Schiappa said.

Sciences Po university, which runs the Institute of Political Studies (IEP) in Grenoble in eastern France, also condemned the campaign on Monday and has filed a criminal complaint.

An investigation has been opened into slander and property damage after the posters saying “Fascists in our lecture halls. Islamophobia kills” were found on the walls of the faculty.

One of the professors is in charge of a course called “Islam and Muslims in contemporary France” while the other is a lecturer in German who has taught at the faculty for 25 years.