Letter: A lesson in excellence and European ideals

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The Independent Online
Sir: I was disappointed to read Leonard Doyle's article ' 'Elitist' EU schools come under fire' (21 April) concerning the European Schools. The general argument of the article seems to be that the schools are elitist, over-financed and unnecessary and that they indulge in brainwashing, giving 'a slant on European history, geography and culture, with the objective of turning out politically correct European federalists'.

In Britain, where teachers' salaries tend to be low by European standards, we perhaps have to remind ourselves that when a school system does not drastically undervalue the service which it provides, this is a matter for congratulation rather than disapproval. Furthermore, I cannot understand why such matters as the provision of 'X' plates for cars (which, incidentally, does not mean that they were purchased tax free) should be a matter for surprise when teachers get them and not when the employees of other inter-governmental agencies get them.

Sealed into the foundation stone of every European School are the following words concerning the pupils:

Educated side by side, untroubled from infancy by divisive prejudices, acquainted with all that is great and good in different cultures, it will be borne in upon them as they mature that they belong together. Without ceasing to look to their own lands with love and pride, they will become in mind Europeans, schooled and ready to complete and consolidate the work of their fathers before them, to bring into being a united and thriving Europe.

That is the ideal towards which we work. We do it by learning together not by giving slanted courses. I and my colleagues hope to continue to strive together for educational excellence, in spite of criticism.

Yours sincerely,

MICHAEL RYAN

Staff representative

Secondary Section of the

European School Culham

Abingdon, Oxfordshire

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