French unhappy with quality of education

The majority of French people are unhappy with the education they received, according to a survey published on Monday. The poll found that nearly six out of ten considered teachers in France to be “badly trained”.

French unhappy with quality of education
Badly-trained teachers account for the view of 57 percent of French people, that their education in France was "unsatisfactory." File Photo: USN

As some 12.5 million school pupils prepare to return to school after the summer holidays, on Tuesday, a new survey has found that their adult compatriots are dissatisfied with the level of education they themselves received.

The CSA poll for RTL radio found that 58 percent of French people see the equality of the education they received in the country as unsatisfactory, with 42 percent believing the opposite.


Chief among the causes of this malaise is the standard of teaching, the survey discovered. Some 57 percent of respondents felt that teachers in France are “poorly trained.”

One-tenth thought their ‘profs’ were “vary-badly trained”, while just two percent judged them “very-well trained.”

“From the point of view of the French people, teachers today are not trained well to deal with events like conflicts between pupils, or even conflicts between pupils and teachers, over subjects such as religion,” Yves-Marie Cann, from CSA told RTL.

In separate poll on Monday, right-leaning daily Le Figaro found that a whopping 93 percent of its readers believed that “The quality of teaching is getting worse.”


This is hardly the first piece of news that will make an unhappy reading assignment for educators and policy-makers such as French Education Minister Vincent Peillon.

Earlier in August a report by French education inspectors found that teachers were nurturing and perpetuating sexism and gender inequality in the way they taught boys and girls.

Three weeks ago, a French minister was forced to defend the quality of France’s third-level education system, after an annual report ranked just four French universities among the world’s top 100.

In recent days, however, British comedian Stephen Fry gave a boost to the image of France’s education system, declaring that French students outshone their British counterparts.

“French schoolchildren, if you see them, are so much more well-behaved and engaged in what they are doing and concentrating… I think generally speaking, demonstrably a better educated race,” he told Radio Times.

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Schools to close as French teachers strike over Covid rules

Around three-quarters of French teachers plan to go on strike onThursday to protest the government's shifting rules on Covid testing for students, forcing the closure of half the country's primary schools, a union said Tuesday.

Schools to close as French teachers strike over Covid rules
Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP

The strike led by the Snuipp-FSU union, the largest among primary school teachers, comes after the latest of several changes on testing and isolation requirements for potential Covid cases announced by Prime Minister Jean Castex late Monday.

After seeing long lines of parents outside pharmacies and labs in recent days to test children in classes where a case was detected, Castex said home tests could now be used to determine if a student could return to school.

But teachers say class disruptions have become unmanageable with the spread of the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant.

“Students cannot learn properly because attendance varies wildly, and a hybrid of in-house and distance learning is impossible to put in place,” the Snuipp-FSU said, adding that absent teachers are not being replaced.

It is also demanding the government provide facemasks for staff, including the more protective FFP2 masks, and CO2 monitors to check if classrooms are sufficiently ventilated.

“Not only does the current protocol not protect students, staff or their families, it has completely disorganised schools,” the union said, claiming that classes have effectively been turned into “daycare centres.”

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has said the government is doing everything possible to avoid outright school closures that could cause havoc for parents and jeopardise learning for thousands, especially those in low-income families.

“I know there is a lot of fatigue, of anxiety… but you don’t go on strike against a virus,” Blanquer told BFM television on Tuesday.

As of Monday some 10,000 classes had been shut nationwide because of Covid cases, representing around two percent of all primary school classes, Blanquer said.