Keyword: schools

The search for 'secularism' in France's inner cities

Dessin d'enfants à l'école maternelle © LD Dessin d'enfants à l'école maternelle © LD

In its response to the terror attacks in Paris in January the French government emphasised the importance of schools and the central role of secularism in fighting intolerance and extremism. Mediapart recently visited schools in the north of the French city of Amiens, an area which has recently seen riots and where the Moroccan-born education minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem herself grew up and was educated. Here the issue of secularism divides teachers, parents and local help groups alike. “I have the impression that, faced with this debate, everyone is a bit lost,” says one teacher. Mediapart's education correspondent Lucie Delaporte reports from the city.

French schools fail social inequalities test


The French education ministry on Friday published its latest detailed evaluation of school performance and the prospects of pupils leaving the academic system. Much of it is alarming reading; every year, about 140,000 young people leave the French educational system without any qualifications and there are now 900,000 people aged between 15 and 29 who are neither in education, nor training, nor actively seeking employment. The report concludes that French pupils from lower social categories are at a greater academic disadvantage than those in other similar European countries. Lucie Delaporte reports.

Schools in France defy Wednesday opening

Around 15 communes refused to open their primary schools on Wednesday despite reform that extends school week to five days.

French far-right mayors reinstate pork in school canteens

The Front National party, which since last weekend controls 12 French town halls, says no 'religious requirements' on menus will be tolerated.

The ex-immigrant rights activist now marching to the tune of France's far-right

Last week parents of pupils at around 100 French primary schools kept their children at home following unfounded rumours that they were being taught 'gender theory'. Education minister Vincent Peillon felt obliged to order parents to be summonsed to schools to explain that the claims being spread in a concerted text and email campaign were untrue. The woman behind the school boycott call – which exploits a favourite issue of the far-right and hard-line Catholics - is 55-year-old teacher Farida Belghoul. Yet Belghoul was not always involved with the far-right; in the early 1980s she was a high-profile left-wing campaigner on immigrant rights. Lucie Delaporte and Rachida El Azzouzi report on her political journey.


Parents protest 'gender theory' curriculum in France

French education minister dismisses 'totally false' rumours that boys are 'being taught how to be girls' as thousands of children are kept at home.

French Socialists deny plan to scrap school headscarf ban

President François Hollande says much-attacked report on new approach to integration is 'not at all' the position of the government.

France should allow headscarves, Arabic in schools - report to PM

Report provokes political row as opposition claim recommendations would pave way for multiculturalism to be the new social model in France.

French falling behind in maths says Pisa global education survey

The international education report also highlighted growing inequality between the performance of French children from different backgrounds.

Muslim critics condemn new French school charter

Some consider France's new 15-point school charter on secularism to be a thinly-veiled attack on Islam.

French education minister to unveil 'Secularism charter' for schools

The charter, to be posted in all French schools, underlines that pupils cannot object to lessons and curriculum for religious reasons.

French education inspectors lament failure to correct 'sexist' school environment


French education minister Vincent Peillon has repeatedly insisted that the issue of gender parity is “at the heart” of the government’s overhaul of the educational system, announced as one of the most important reforms of its five-year office. A study of the equality of relations, educational opportunities and performance between girls and boys within schools is the subject of a recent report by the French education system’s general inspectorate, and it paints a sorry picture of decades of failure to address a markedly unequal situation. Lucie Delaporte reports.

Hollande backs minister's gay marriage school debate ban

President backs education minister who sparked controversy after ordering private Catholic schools not to debate same-sex marriage bill.

Defining France's 'school of tomorrow'

 © Reuters © Reuters

Earlier this summer, French education minister Vincent Peillon (right) launched a nationwide series of consultative talks aimed at defining what should be the model for “the school of tomorrow”, ahead of a major reform of the country’s lower education system due to be put before parliament in January. Held over three months, the 120 meetings brought together some 800 representatives of all parties concerned in the education debate. The conclusions were published earlier this month in a 52-page report intended to serve as a basis for the reforms, which President François Hollande has pledged will be one of the pillars of his mandate. Lucie Delaporte studies the report's findings.

French schools' study tackles discrimination taboo


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.