Schools

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

France

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

France — Link

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'

France

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

France

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.  

Shelved report reveals true picture of France's 'schools of excellence'

France — Investigation

Seventeen critical education reports languished unpublished under the last year of Nicolas Sarkozy's presidency. Among them is a damning indictment of one of the former president's flagship policies – the creation of so-called schools of excellence. The aim was to take pupils from deprived backgrounds and give them a top-class education in a boarding school environment. But as Lucie Delaporte reveals, this report written in June 2011 calls into question the very existence of these expensive schools.

The French have some sauce to ban tomato ketchup

France — Link

French primary school pupils are to be denied the American combination of tomatoes, vinegar, salt, spice and sugar that make up tomatoe sauce.