031 Education in France: Challenges, Representations, and Reforms

Wednesday, July 12, 2017: 11:00 AM-12:45 PM
Gilbert Scott Conference Room - 250 (University of Glasgow)
Comparative studies of educational systems show that France is the European country where social background has the greatest effect on academic achievement. Indeed, social inequalities and the failure to integrate immigrant children into French schools have led to a substantial rate of school dropout in underprivileged neighborhoods which are plagued by unemployment and constitute a breeding ground for social unrest, ethnic tensions, and radicalization. Elitist in nature, the traditional educational system has failed to adapt to democratization and faces a serious crisis. Even films and documentaries set in French schools in the last twenty years increasingly question the viability of the Republican model, especially in the multicultural “banlieues.” However, some promising educational initiatives and success stories show that promoting social and ethnic mixing with innovative programs and experiments can work and that the integration of immigrant children into society is possible. In order to reduce social inequalities, a law voted in 2013 was implemented to reform elementary and secondary education in its foundations. Furthermore, the European Higher Education Area has dramatically changed the face of higher education in France through the Bologna Reforms which have increased faculty and student mobility and facilitated student and worker employability across borders.
Marie-Christine Weidmann Koop
Discussant :
Marie-Christine Weidmann Koop
French Schools on the Big Screen: Is the Republican Model Sustainable?
Michèle Bissière, University of North Carolina-Charlotte
Higher Education in France during the Hollande Presidency
Patricia W. Cummins, Vrginia Commmonwealth University
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