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EDUCATION

France to ban mobile phones in schools

France's education minister announced on Sunday that mobile phones will be banned from schools in France.

France to ban mobile phones in schools
AFP
Jean-Michel Blanquer confirmed that the ban, which the government had been mulling for some time, will be implemented in September 2018.
 
Phones are already banned in the classrooms in France but from September next year, pupils will be barred from taking them out at breaks, lunch times and between lessons.
 
“These days the children don't play at break time anymore, they are just all in front of their smartphones and from an educational point of view that's a problem,” said Blanquer.
 
But it is not clear how the ban would work. There are suggestions that schools will have to provide lockers where pupils can keep the phones. Teachers also fear they will be asked to search pupils to make sure no one is flouting the ban.
 
“We are currently working on this [ban] and it could work in various ways,” said Blanquer. “Phones may be needed for teaching purposes or in cases of emergency so mobile phones will have to be locked away.”
 
For the education minister the issue of mobile phones and tablets is a matter of “public health”.
 
 
“It's important that children under the age of seven are not in front of these screens,” he added.
 
The minister also sees the move as a way of cutting down on cyber-bullying.
 
The ban would be imposed for primary schools and middle schools called “colleges” for pupils aged 11 to 15, but phones would be allowed in Lycee high schools.
 
French president Emmanuel Macron, a 39-year-old centrist, put banishing mobile phones from all primary and secondary schools in his manifesto ahead of his election victory in May.
   
Experts and trade unions have pointed out that using mobile phones in class is already outlawed in France, even though research shows that many pupils confess to having broken the rules.
 
Some teachers view phones as a source of a distraction and indiscipline which can be used for cyberbullying at school, while others believe they can be harnessed for educational purposes — under strict control.
   
One of the biggest groups representing parents of French school children, known as Peep, said previously it was sceptical that a ban could be implemented.
   
“We don't think it's possible at the moment,” said the head of Peep, Gerard Pommier.
   
“Imagine a secondary school with 600 pupils. Are they going to put all their phones in a box? How do you store them? And give them back at the end?”
 
In an interview with Express magazine earlier this year, Blanquer suggested that pupils might be asked to deposit their phones in secure boxes when arriving at school or for classes.
   
“At our cabinet meetings, we drop our phones in lockers before sitting down together. It seems to me that this should be possible for any human group, including classes,” he said.

EDUCATION

REVEALED: France’s new holiday dates for the 2022/23 school year

School in France is far from out for summer but the dates have been released for the 2022/23 school year complete with holidays and "bridges". Take a look so you can plan your holidays.

REVEALED: France's new holiday dates for the 2022/23 school year

It’s the time of year children dislike most – as is traditional, rentrée in France is on September 1st this year, a Thursday, a day after teachers return to the classroom to prepare for the new term.

The 2022-23 school year then ends – 36 school weeks later – after classes on Friday, July 7th, 2023, later than in recent years and just a week before the fête nationale on July 14th.

 “My class will be almost empty the last week, families will have gone on vacation, especially if the tourist prices are considered out of vacation, therefore less expensive,” a  teacher in Paris told Le Parisien.

Another was concerned about the weather at that time of year. “The longer we get into the year, the hotter it gets. They already forecast 35C on May 18th, so on July 8th, I can’t imagine the heat in class,” she said.

School holidays in France have long been divided into three zones. Summer, autumn and Christmas holidays are taken at the same time across the whole of the country, but the winter and spring breaks are staggered according to which zone a school is in.

The educational zones in France are here 

Image: Service-Public.fr

The Ministry of Education has published a calendar planner for the 2022/23 school holidays on its website, showing the holiday periods for all three zones in France.

Image: ministère de l’éducation nationale et de la jeunesse et des sports

The calendar is available to download as a pdf, here

Notably, pupils in Zone A schools – those in Besançon, Dijon, Grenoble, Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand, Limoges, Poitiers and Bordeaux – face a longer-than-usual summer term, a two-and-a-half month stretch from April 24th to July 8th. This is a longer term than is usually recommended by education experts – longer even than the 10-and-a-half weeks at the same time last year for two zones, which was described as “a marathon” by both families and teachers.

There will be some breaks in that long run of school weeks, however. May Day and VE Day are both on Mondays next year, Ascension is on Thursday, May 18th, with schools traditionally ‘bridging’ the Friday, and Pentecôte holiday is on Monday, May 28th.

On the flipside, pupils in the same zone also get the shortest term on record in the next school year. They return after the Christmas holiday on January 3rd, and break-up for the winter holidays on February 4th.

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