Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Lycée Protests

It's spring, so the fancy of young French men and women turns to ... les manifs. Having seen too many springs come and go, I have a nasty sense of déjà-vu, as they don't say in French:

Manifestation des lycéens et des enseignants à Paris
Uploaded by rue89

Vincent Peillon, when challenged to explain why the PS had had so little to say about the lycée movement, conceded that reform of the schools was necessary, but that it had to be "useful and effective" and "part of a plan," not "just an ideological proposition." A breathtaking idea.


Anonymous said...

Well well, the spring argument is an easy one. Especially if one considers that the strikes began more than a month ago. And by the way, it's still winter around here...

Unknown said...

Sorry, Christine. I felt like an old fart and curmudgeon to react as I did, but the feeling got the better of me.

MYOS said...

Seriously, Darcos managed to get only 11,300 job cuts (Woerth had planned for 17,000).
However, Darcos has been pretty inept: if there'd been a reform to go along the cuts, it might have worked.
Right now, all students can see is that classes are cut, and the remaining students put into the other classes. While Darcos states the average class has 28 students, the teens I know tend to be 32-36 per class. I'm not quite sure how they handle labs since they're designed for 24-28 kids. Anyway, the "L" (Humanities) section seems deserted which would account for the discrepancy. Starting with a change in required classes for each major would have made sense - if some of the Science or Social Science students could be persuaded Humanities aren't a dead-end for those on the verge of getting kicked out, the classes might be more even.

Anonymous said...


I might be totally wrong, but I don't think that most students are protesting because no reform goes with the cuts. Informed high-school students, involved in political or economical matters are a tiny minority. I don't think Arthur is that far of the mark talking about a seasonal strike. It's probably just to topic of the year, providing momentum for French "rite de passage".

As for the humanities, aren't all students preparing the "Bac" supposed to take: French (language & literature), philosophy, history/geography, foreign language(s)? (not counting optional classes)
I don't think forcing the S & ES students into L is the solution. L isn't such a bad section, but you'd better have a solid idea of what you want to do in life when you go there. The official program in itself is lighter and the bulk of the work should be personal (lot of reading, etc). And it best prepares for university specializations (psycho, philo, socio, etc.) that can be equally dangerous for non-academic students.

I think it would be better to develop a strong professional qualification curriculum and stop brainwashing students with the Bac, which is useless without an undergraduate degree afterward.

My 2 cents...