“Teachers don’t realise the pressure they are putting on children,” says Jean-Jacques Hazan, president of the FCPE, the main organisation representing French parents, in an interview with daily Le Parisien.
The FCPE is calling for a fortnight without homework. This is a first in France and they hope to get parents and teachers to discuss better ways to help children learn.
Homework is banned in primary schools in France but many teachers still give their pupils exercises to do at home. Children in France spend 30 minutes to an hour in the evening doing their homework and sometimes more at the weekend.
Parents say homework is tiring but also complain that it is not very useful. “If a child has failed to do an exercise in school, I don’t see how he’d be able to do it at home. In fact, teachers are outsourcing their work to parents,” says Hazan.
The FCPE and the teachers’ organisation Icem say homework also exacerbates inequalities between pupils because not all parents can help their children at home. Homework can also be a source of conflict in the home.
“Homework can lead to violent outbreaks, or tension, between parents and children, and the educational benefits are slim,” says Christophe Paris, a member of the organisation Afev, which helps pupils do their homework in poor neighbourhoods.