Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Thursday, October 15, 1998 Published at 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK


Education

The angry student

'Angry schools' says the banner

By BBC reporter Stephen Jessel in Paris

A nationwide day of action is taking place in France on Thursday by senior high school students protesting at staff shortages and oversize classes.

Among the tens of thousands marching through Paris is a 16-year-old girl of my acquaintance.

She goes to a lycée in central Paris which is by no means one of France's most deprived; but she's one of the strike organisers at her school, in there somewhere with a banner demanding more teachers, more classes, more resources.

She has a point. Her class has 38 pupils. Two hours of French per week have been cancelled even though there is a vital exam in the subject next summer. An hour of maths has also vanished.

The school has 1,500 pupils; there is room for 50 in the library for those who don't have classes at a given moment.

Repairs

Different schools and different pupils have different demands. Many complain of timetables that may have gaps of five or six hours during a day. Others say the curriculum is overcrowded, or their buildings are in urgent need of repair.

Others again are ignoring the protests.

The girl in question has school six days a week, starting at 8am on four of those days but that isn't one of her complaints - she's more exercised that security may be compromised by the need to economise and that there isn't enough internal democracy.

There's no doubting the sincerity of the great majority of the demonstrators, nor the impossibility for the government immediately to meet so many sometimes contradictory demands.

The attitude of the teachers is one of benevolent neutrality; which is one of the reasons why - as her father - I am in broad sympathy with the 16-year-old girl in question.





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


Education Contents

Features
Hot Topics
UK Systems
League Tables

Relevant Stories

13 Oct 98 | Education
School protests spread

12 Oct 98 | Education
French students in protest march





Internet Links


Education Ministry (in French)

Parents Web (in French)


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

'Golden hellos' fail to attract new teachers

Children join online Parliament

Pupils 'too ignorant to vote'

Red tape toolkit 'not enough'

Poor report for teacher training consortium

Specialist schools' results triumph

Ex-headmaster guilty of more sex charges

Blunkett welcomes Dyke's education commitment

Web funding for specialist teachers

Local authorities call for Woodhead's sacking

Dyslexic pensioner wins PhD

Armed forces children need school help

Black pupils 'need better-trained teachers'

College 'is not cool'