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Sunday, November 21, 2010

La Réforme du Lycée – La Nouvelle Seconde. What’s new?

Traps of education hell, the need for ever-deepening pockets and all of this because some bloke in an office somewhere needs to look like he’s working. We ask, “was it worth it”?

Dear Readers,

As you may remember, we we’re a bit sceptical about the reform when it first came into the media spotlight around June 2010. Well, we still have our reservations about it! It’s still going to be costing people lots of money every year, and those students who are still on the old program (in 1ère this school year 2010-2011) risk falling down the hole if they repeat and therefore, straight into “the reform trap” as it is known, that will be behind them this year and next year (2011-2012). “The reform trap” basically means that if students in 1ère this year repeat the year, they will have to start the year over next year but also with a new curriculum. The books are costing everybody a considerable amount of money too. Here is an extract from an earlier article on this blog:

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. (read more…)

This isn’t going to change. Someone, somewhere is going to make a lot of money. According to the Education Ministry, here are an estimated 3,000,000 students who will have to pay (on average, sometimes more) €220 every year (going on average figures from the rentrée 2010-2011) on textbooks and reading books. That means that the schoolbook industry for this year and next year, is worth an estimated €650,000,000 and it’s a jackpot roll-over for publishers, as everyone will have to buy new books next year too!

Is it worth it?

Ok, so it’s costing lots of people lots of money. But that will only be the case for two more years. Once the books are bought, the schoolbook industry won’t be worth as much because everyone will be able to get their books second hand. But is the new 2nde worth it all? What’s is about? What’s new?

In the new seconde that came into effect this year (2010-2011) and the new 1ère that will come into effect in 2012, there are lots of things that are new.

The objectives of the new 2nde are:

  • to follow “enseignements d’exploration” to help you understand the modern world and discover new domains such as economy, literature, engineering, biotechnology…
  • to start new optional subjects (LV3, Sport, arts) as well as new general subjects (depends on your Lycée)
  • a more advanced level of languages to be able to learn two or three languages fluently
  • to benefit from a new personalised accompaniment plan, to build on your careers choice for after your BAC
  • to follow, if needed, “un stage de remise à niveau” to bring you up to the same level as everyone else at the end of the year to avoid repeating, or a “stage passerelle” to change your choice from Lycée Général to Lycée Professionel or from a 1ère S to a 1ère ES for example

So, put that way, it looks as if there could be lots of advantages to this lycée reform. Only time will tell. But details of what 1ère will hold are still quite vague. If it’s anything like 2nde, the BAC results could be on the rise for many Lycées around France.

Article by The Editor


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