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France poised to reform educational system

Posted August. 30, 2023 08:33,   

Updated August. 30, 2023 08:33


France is set to enact sweeping educational reforms, bolstering French language proficiency and mathematics, and bridging its widening educational divide. The nation will also streamline its testing system, decreasing the particularly challenging 'killer text' count from 20 to 16 for advanced French assessments.

According to Le Monde, a major French media outlet, on Monday, French Education Minister Gabriel Attal (34), appointed by President Emmanuel Macron the previous month, revealed an upcoming education reform called 'Choc des Savoirs' (Shock of Knowledge), which set to begin in September.

As planned, elementary first-graders gain an extra hour for French reading. Second-graders struggling with reading will focus on longer texts to improve their ability, while third-graders will have at least one weekly writing task to enhance their skills. The government also aims to enhance preschool education, nurturing around 370,000 kindergarten instructors by 2027.

France plans to overhaul state tests, cutting 'killer text' count in French exams from 20 to 16 due to criticism over their excessive difficulty. The controversial verbal test, introduced in 2018, will undergo revisions, incorporating more standard high school curriculum content.

Traditionally, France prioritized core academics like reading and math, differing from creative-focused Scandinavian neighbors. Yet, a recent decline in national academic standards prompted worry. From 1995 to 2018, French student proficiency fell by roughly one year, per the Ministry of Education. Le Monde further noted a pronounced academic gap between top and bottom-percentile students, often tied to socioeconomic status.

Eun-A Cho achim@donga.com