• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Prestigious French uni offers English courses to migrants
Photo: AFP

Prestigious French uni offers English courses to migrants

The Local · 8 Mar 2016, 10:53

Published: 08 Mar 2016 10:53 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Mar 2016 10:53 GMT+01:00

The course at the Paris Institute of Political Studies - often referred to simply as Sciences Po - began on Monday, with twenty migrants taking part.

The students are aged between 20 and 40 years and are originally from Syria, Afghanistan and Sudan, with most already holding university qualifications from their own countries.

The aim is to help the migrants integrate in French society, but rather than just offering French classes, the university has decided to give the group of migrants the choice between French or English.

A spokeswoman for the university told The Local: "Most of the students we took on speak English so English language courses were offered because it was important to consolidate their level in this language.

"Secondly if they master English they will have a wider choice of courses to follow at Sciences Po, because many of them are taught only in English."
 
As well as joining the language courses, the migrants can also benefit from access to the university’s teaching resources, including the libraries and online materials, as well as extra-curricular activities such as sports clubs, societies and student events.

The scheme is set to last until June but if it is judged successful it could be repeated in 2017.

Language barriers are often cited as an obstacle to integration and employment for migrants and refugees arriving in Europe. 

In France, there are no official language classes for new migrants run by the French state, but several charities and volunteer groups have offered French and English lessons in the country's refugee camps like the 'Jungle' near Calais.

Story continues below…

However, if migrants are granted refugee status or asylum in France, they can enter into an "integration" contract with the state under which they receive free language classes for one year.

Sciences Po is known for its intensive programmes and has been a breeding ground for French leaders, with current president François Hollande and ex-president François Mitterand among its alumni.

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy also unrolled at Sciences Po, but he failed to graduate because his level of English wasn't deemed good enough.

Today's headlines
Good news from France: Unemployment rate falls again
Applicants talk to recruiters at a French jobs fair. Photo: AFP

Some much needed positive news for the French government

Five free smartphone apps to help you find petrol in France
Photo: CAFNR/Flickr

Looking for petrol in France? Here's how to find it with the help of your smartphone.

Interactive map: Where to find petrol in France
Photo: L'essence

This interactive map should help you find petrol in France.

The French union in a 'fight to the death' with government
All photos: AFP

The hardline CGT trade union is gambling all on bringing the French government to its knees. Can it win?

French fuel crisis latest: 4,600 petrol stations run dry
Photo: AFP

Some 40 percent of petrol stations run dry in France.

France hit by fresh strikes as nuclear workers join protest
Photo: AFP

Trains, flights, nuclear power, fuel depots and oil refineries are all hit by a new round of strikes.

French hiker found alive after five nights in Pyrenees hole
Photo: AFP

A "miracle" survival story from the Pyrenees.

How the fuel crisis is harming the French economy
Photos: AFP

Experts are saying the current fuel crisis will have "serious consequences" for French business. Here's how.

France to see 90,000 security staff on patrol at Euro 2016
Members of French riot police take part in a mock terrorist attack exercise at the Georges Pompidou stadium in Valence. Photo: AFP

France has vowed to do "everything possible to avoid a terrorist attack" at the Euro 2016 tournament.

List of French targets found in Adeslam's home
Photo: AFP

Areas of Paris, Marseille and Toulouse were on the list of possible targets for an attack.

Interactive map: Where to find petrol in France
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Who is the French union in a 'fight to the death' with the government?
Society
Opinion: Why the French are absolutely right to go on strike
National
Here's why both sides despise France's labour reforms
National
Who is really to blame for the fuel crisis in France?
How to avoid running out of fuel if you're coming to France
National
Here are the parts of France hardest hit by the fuel shortages
Travel
It will soon be time to say 'au revoir' to the Paris Metro ticket
Culture
Revealed: The ultimate sex map of France
National
Migrants at Calais camp given dignity in death
International
How good is security at Charles de Gaulle airport?
Culture
How to make a traditional French cassoulet
Culture
IN PICS: Commuter trains in Paris get royal makeover
International
Terror attack 'likeliest cause' of missing EgyptAir plane
International
Who was on board the missing EgyptAir flight from Paris?
Lifestyle
New map reveals Paris flat prices by Metro station
Culture
Paris: Here's how to find French cinema in English
Culture
How to say 'OUCH' in French (and ten other sounds)
National
Get ready: France to be hit by week of transport strikes
Culture
France readies for first national 'motorway party'
National
Is this the eco-solution to France's wild-peeing plague?
Sport
Paris mayor wants Seine to be 'swimmable' before Olympics
National
IN PICTURES: Police car torched in Paris protests
2,733
jobs available