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EDUCATION

The French schools system: The key numbers

As pupils return to classrooms across France here are some key figures that shed light on the French education system.

The French schools system: The key numbers
Photo: AFP
School children in France head back to class on Thursday, faced with a raft of new changes
 
Here's a closer look in numbers at the state of French schools at the start of the new school year.
 
12.4 million
 
The total number of school kids this year. Of these, 6.81 million will be at primary school (école), 3.33 million at middle school (collèges), and 2.26 million at high school (lycée).
 
6,000 to 12,000
 
The average expenditure, in euros, for each student. This is broken down to €6,120 for those in primary school, €8,410 for middle schoolers, and from €11,190 to €12,230 for high schoolers. 
 
861,000
 
The total number of teachers across the 63,600 schools in France.
 
 
190.24
 
The average cost, in euros, of a getting equipment for going back to school. This includes things like books, paper, and sport uniforms, noted the organisation Familles de France.
 
42,338
 
The number of new jobs in schools created since 2012. This comes as part of the government's pledge to create 54,000 new teaching posts in state schools by 2017.
 
1,200
 
Teachers in elementary schools will see their ISAE allowance raised from €400 to €1,200 as part of the government’s efforts to boost teachers’ pay. This will match what teachers in primary schools get.
 
503
 
The number of new teachers starting in Seine-Saint-Denis, the department in the suburbs of Paris that will see the biggest increase in teaching staff this year. The area has been hit by chronic teacher shortages in recent years.
 
 
3,911
 
The number of new teachers starting this semester. The number is made up of 3,411 full-time teachers, and 1,000 who are working half-time (making 3,911 in total). 
 
25.5
 
The average number of children in a pre school classroom. There'll also be 23 per primary schoool class, 24.8 per middle school class, and 19.3 in each high school class. 
 
363 to 396
 
The amount, in euros, that families can get in school allowances. Kids between six and ten are eligible for €363 per month, while those between 11 and 14 can get €383. Kids between 15 and 18 are eligible for €396 per month.
 
 
All you need to know about changes in French schools

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EDUCATION

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.

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