The Lycée Times Newsfeed

Sunday, September 5, 2010

La Réforme du Lycée – Problems from the beginning?

Dear Readers,

As some of you may know already, the “réforme du lycée” was already causing problems in June. Teachers went on strike because they were concerned about what the reform would bring. In fact, some knew no more than the students. Some teachers didn’t know whether the books would be changing for 2010 – 2011, they didn’t know if they would have to go on a special course, some became even more sceptical about Nicolas Sarkozy and Luc Chatel - the men in charge.

books Now, it didn’t just cause problems in June. From the first Monday of the new school year, education staff from around the country will go on strike. These strikes are planned for Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th of September in Lycées and Collèges and on Tuesday 7th September for playschools and Primary schools. Frédérique Rolet, General Secretary of the SNES said, "These strikes are against the reforms of pay for retirees and also the lack of regard for student welfare". A predicted 16,000 education workers will lose their jobs this year and a further 16,000 in 2011.

It seems the reform has cost a lot of people a lot of money too. With the changes in the curriculum comes new school books for the lycée students. However, those students who were already in lycée last year, stay on the old curriculum unless they repeat Seconde this year. Which causes a big problem for every student in every lycée in France – they couldn’t sell their old books to get money to buy their new ones for this year. Seconde students of the year 2009 – 2010 who are going into 1ère at the rentrée, will have to fork out around €100 every year now to be able to buy their books and at the end of it, they’ll be left with a big stack of old, useless textbooks. The case gets worse for the new Seconde students who will have to buy their books new from now on. Students going into Lycée will have to buy their textbooks new in 2nde, 1ère and Terminale. And school books don’t come cheap! Some can cost up to €30, sometimes (thought rarely) higher. The average estimated cost of textbooks this year for students going into Seconde stood at a whopping €220 which was paid for my the families and no one received discounts from the government. With the current economic climate, some may wonder whether President Sarkozy and the education minister thought this through properly. In any case, surely they didn’t need to change the books? In most schools, Lycée or Collège, students wonder why they never have to finish the textbook in the year. The answer is, it covers the program and more. So most of the book will never be used. Then surely the old books can cover the new curriculum too? Waste of paper? Some say so.

Luc Chatel
The reform is also causing problems for printers and editors. Not all of the 500,000 new Seconde students will have their textbooks at the rentrée. The reason being that the printers can't print the books fast enough for the demand. Luc Chatel, Education Minister said on Sunday 29th August, "The resources are available for the rentrée - students will get either textbooks or digital copies of the textbooks. All is ready for welcoming the students next week".

"All is ready"except for the teachers it seems! So it looks like the reform is turning out to be costing money and wasting old books. Will it make the education system better? Will it change the way teachers work, with less strikes? We’ll have to wait and see.

Article by The Editor

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