Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

WEB NEWS

NSA targets 'Tor' network users

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users call for peace in Gaza

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French government hopes to collect €1.8bn from foreign accounts

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Teen slammed for taking smiling selfie at Auschwitz

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • Video: Ethiopia turns to wine to boost image, economy

    Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire

    Read more

  • Nibali joins elite group with Tour de France win

    Read more

  • France calls on its nationals to leave Libya as violence escalates

    Read more

  • Boko Haram kidnap Cameroon minister's wife in deadly attack

    Read more

  • Muslims prepare for Eid al-Fitr festival

    Read more

  • ‘Irresponsible’ American dad tries to scale Mont Blanc with children

    Read more

  • Ukraine fighting prevents observers from accessing MH17 crash site

    Read more

  • In pictures: Crowds flock to enjoy the Tour de France show

    Read more

  • Netanyahu says Hamas 'violating its own ceasefire'

    Read more

  • Video: At the scene of the Air Algérie crash in Mali

    Read more

  • Costa Concordia arrives in port of Genoa to be scrapped

    Read more

  • In pictures: Youths clash with police at banned Gaza protest

    Read more

  • Russia lashes out at new EU sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • Bodies of all Air Algérie crash victims to be brought to France

    Read more

  • Syrian army and ISIS both claim advances

    Read more

  • Briton kidnapped in Yemen freed after five months

    Read more

  • New round of Gaza ceasefire talks takes place in Paris

    Read more

More English, no more Saturdays in French schools

Latest update : 2008-09-03

Nearly 12 million students returned to their classrooms across France on Tuesday, but teacher's unions are already organizing a day of protests on September 11 against new school reforms that include thousands of job cuts.

 

Summer vacations have come to an end for twelve million schoolchildren and 870,000 educators in France.  This year the rentrée, the official start of the French academic calendar, is charged with a bundle of political reforms affecting the first years of schooling in particular.

 
For primary school children, the traditional half-day of school on Saturdays has been cut. The school week will therefore lose two hours of class time; hours that will be devoted to giving additional help to under-performing students.

 

The entrée ushers in a new academic curriculum. During the 2008-2009 school year there will be added emphasis on French and Mathematics as academic subjects, in an effort to counter what Education Minister Xavier Darcos has called “the continued degradation of the performance levels in our education system.”  The minister makes reference to “national and international studies” exposing “serious gaps in reading, writing and arithmetic” in up to twenty percent of primary school children in France.

 

Older students will also experience changes to their previous programmes. To shorten the infamous foreign-language gap, a “handicap” among the French says Xavier Darcos, the minister has announced “intensive, week-long workshops in spoken English” and additional emphasis in English as a foreign language as an extra-curricular activity. These initiatives, which will be offered freely after normal school hours, will be implemented in all secondary schools, 4000 primary schools, and 200 ‘at-risk’ colleges.

 

Also, when a teacher or substitute teacher is absent, or if a teacher goes on strike, Xavier Darcos said that it would be “the state’s responsibility to organize and finance a centre to receive schoolchildren in every town,” at least at the primary school level.


FEWER TEACHERS
 

A one-time 1500 euro bonus for first-time teachers has done little to calm the general resentment among educators. To implement the government’s new programme, academic centres across the country will have to make do with 11,200 less posts as compared to last year. The education minister has also announced that an additional 13,500 retiring educators will not be replaced in the following academic calendar.

 

School teachers have already announced a day of mobilization and protests on September 11, but did not go as far as calling for national strike. According to Patrick Gonthier, Secretary-general of “Unsa-Education”, an umbrella group that comprises twenty-three teacher’s unions, representing 100,000 workers, the educator’s aim will be to “denounce the consequences of slashing 11,200 posts from the 2008 budget and the proposed 13,500 cuts for 2009.” In response, Xavier Darcos said “the harsh economic context is the proof of the necessity of this decision.” “As a result of a demographic shift, we will have fewer students at the secondary school level,” he added.

Date created : 2008-09-02

COMMENT(S)