An unusual student gripe: too few exams
Friday 11 February 2005
More than 10,000 marched in Paris, and similar numbers in Lyons, Bordeaux and other cities, to reject a government plan to introduce continuous assessment into the baccalaureate system - the French equivalent of A levels taken by 620,000 students a year.
On the face of things, one might expect 17- and 18-year- olds to detest exams, especially in France, which has one of the most examination-heavy education systems in the world.
The Education Minister, Francois Fillon, wants to reduce the punishing schedule each year in June. Instead, he suggests, there should be six written examinations in the major subjects, such as French and maths, and the rest of the "Bac'' should be decided by some form of continuous assessment. The National Assembly will debate this next Tuesday.
Left-wing students and teachers' unions, who oppose any attempt at school reform, say abolishing centralised exams would allow employers to pick and choose between Bac scores given in lycees in affluent districts and those declared in poor, racially mixed suburbs of French towns.
Manuel, 17, from the Lycee Sophie-Germain in Paris, said: "This reform goes against the notion of public service education. It will encourage elitism."
But the system is already elitist - the top state lycees poach the best students and resources are unequally divided between successful and sink schools.
Philippe Meirieu, France's former chief inspector of schools and head of a teacher-training college in Lyons, said: "The need for reform is urgent because the Bac, as it is, has become an infernal machine, which is much too expensive and forces the school year to end too early."
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence: Despite defeat history may still point to Alex Salmond as the victor
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...