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EDUCATION

Grenoble named France’s best city to be a student

The annual rankings for the best student cities in France is out, and Grenoble has come out on top.

Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Photo: indicpeace/Flickr
The rankings were put together by France's L'Etudiant magazine and reveal that if you want to find the best place in the country to study, then look outside Paris.
 
Indeed, Grenoble topped the list, closely followed by both Rennes and last year's top dog, Toulouse.
 
Grenoble, a small town in south eastern France with around 58,000 students, was praised for its “undeniable assets to attract students”.
 
The ranking was based on 15 categories, and saw Grenoble shine when it came to transport links to universities, a wealth of local initiatives, and good employment opportunities on offer. 
 
“Research is in the DNA of this town,” the magazine wrote. 
 
“It's no surprise that Grenoble has been in our top three for the past ten years.”
 
Photo: martin gautron/Flickr
 
The Alpine city, which in 2013 was designated by Forbes magazine as the fifth most inventive city in the world, finished in second place last year and third the year before. 
 
The writer of the blog Grenoble Life explains exactly what makes the city so great for students, especially those from abroad.
 
“Grenoble is the perfect size city for study abroad. It is large enough to offer variety, but yet it is small enough so that it is not overwhelming. The centre ville (city centre) is where most of the stores, restaurants, cafés, pubs, and nightlife are.”
 
Lyon and Nantes rounded out the top five in Wednesday's study, with Paris not getting a look in until eighth place.
 

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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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