In the summer of 2019, the school of education in the town of Belsize, south of Paris, had just finished a new set of academic regulations to help it tackle the school’s problems with overcrowding and underfunding.
For the first time in the school year, the pupils had been allowed to spend more time in classes.
“The main problem was not that we were a tiny school but that we did not have enough teachers,” says Catherine Bégin, the headteacher at Belsizerie, who was appointed by her local council.
As a result, the number of students enrolled in her school dropped from 13,000 to 7,000 in the summer.
The situation was worse in the neighbouring town of Lourdes, where more than 60,000 pupils attended schools that had more than doubled in size, from 8,000 students to more than 16,000.
Bégen says she has also faced pressure from the local mayor to change the way the school works.
“He said that he wants us to become a new town.
We were very happy about this but we were still concerned about the future,” she says.
But it’s not just Belsizers’ overcrowding that’s been problematic.
There are also issues with the schools’ budget, the quality of the education, and the quality and safety of the school itself.
The number of pupils enrolled in the new school is still very small, says Bégal.
“If we wanted to build a school in Lourds, we would need to spend about a million euros ($1.1 million).
In fact, the budget for the new Belsiserie school is just 0.6% of the budget allocated to it by the local council, and Bégain has yet to receive any help from the French government. “
We have a budget that is not even equal to what Lourdens has.”
In fact, the budget for the new Belsiserie school is just 0.6% of the budget allocated to it by the local council, and Bégain has yet to receive any help from the French government.
“For the last two years, the French state has paid us to build the school and pay for the salaries of our staff, but that is just a part of the contract,” she adds.
There is no shortage of other problems in France. “
As the mayor of Lours, I am responsible for all of the people in the area, but I have to pay them what they have asked for.”
There is no shortage of other problems in France.
Last year, an international conference on education called for a reform of the French education system.
This year, it is due to be held in Paris, but Bégins’ government has not taken part in it.
Belsizes government is facing pressure from a local mayor who is calling for it to go ahead with the construction of a new school, even though the existing school is already in place and has no students.
A French government report on education reform, published last year, said that the new schools could have a huge impact on French education.
It estimated that by 2025, the new system would have made France the first country in the world to reach a minimum number of secondary school graduates.
“There is a real need for more investment in education in France, but we are not going to see the change we need until there is a change in our public policies,” says Bérard, the Education Minister.