Postcard from... Paris


The French exam season is off to a quarrelsome start. A teacher tweeted the philosophy questions in the Baccalaureate before all the candidates had opened their exam papers – and received a threatening tweet in return from the education ministry.

An examiner in northern France accused her estranged boyfriend of stealing philosophy papers that she was supposed to mark. She is now accused of throwing them away.

A Twitter row is also raging about the Victor Hugo poem Crépuscule (Twilight), which appeared in the French exam.

An internet petition is also circulating, signed by 43,000 candidates, complaining that one of the mathematics papers was unreasonably difficult. “Anyone who says on their CV, that they passed the 2014 Bac S (science), will automatically be given a job,” one disgruntled student tweeted.

The Education Ministry has now let it be known that the exam will be marked out of 22 but still officially scored out of 20.  Such “adjustments” are common in the “bac”. Another “bac” tradition is the wry political commentary disguised as an exam question.

Students of Russian read a text on the building of a new Siberian railway line. They were then asked: “Can mastering  new territories always be considered progress?”