French schools' study tackles discrimination taboo

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The French Republican mantra of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité has arguably cast a veil over prejudice and discrimination in some of the country’s institutions because of a widespread belief that if equality has been decreed, it must exist. But now, an unusual grass-roots study is being run in five schools in the city of Grenoble, southern France, to investigate evidence that children from families of non-French ethnic origin are, against their will, guided to a future professional life that offers fewer opportunities than for others. Lucie Delaporte reports on a taboo subject that has divided experts and evaded proper public debate.  

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A wide-ranging sociological study published in October last year, carried out in two volatile, socially deprived suburbs near Paris where riots erupted in 2005, found that many local youngsters hate their school careers advisor far more than they say they dislike the police.