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Thursday , august 24, 2006

School in France (I)

Next week the schools start, so we had an appointment with the director of the private school Saint Michel (Deirdre's school) and Saint Hilarian (Halldor's school). I hadn't slept half the night, because I presumed, maître Cuq, the school principal, was sure to be a large stern man in a suit with brushy eyebrows and a thundering mood. And he would continuously interrupt to correct me (as some French like to do) and of course he would lock up my poor children for days and discipline them while we were rendered helpless to counteract.

Bela Lugosi as Dracula 

But tall man like François 1er (king of France, 2m), Charles de Gaulle (1,93m) or Ruud de Korte (2.02m) are exceptional in France. And well, the French may have some strange ideas about teaching children, but one cannot call their methods medieval. Although from the many disturbing messages on the internet forums, one might believe all this (hitting, prayer, punishment, homework, drill work, free school decrlared sect, no nooooo).

François 1er,
king of France
from 1515-1547

Charles de Gaulle, president of France
from 1958-1969

Ruud de Korte, eh…

Maître Cuq is a small muscular man, about 45 years old with curly hair, welcomed us at the main entrance. He spoke the usual Southern French accent (“Je suis a votre dispositionggg”) and to me he appeared impatient but lively. He was very kind and I felt very much at ease. Our chairs were already in position, and I noticed he was surprised we brought our children along. Involving children into big people conversations is not common here, that much is clear. Of course not insensible at times, but in our case we have no other choice, because our child minder-granddad is 750 miles up north in his flooded vegetable garden.

Halldor's school - St. Hilerian

At first we recieved a few lists with necessities (fournitures). Deirdre's list was easy to manage: a photo, a box for labels (whatever they will need this for, only God knows) and a little whiteboard.

Halldor's list of necessities barely fitted on an A4 size paper and contained a number of accessories that made me wonder what a seven year old has to do with that, like a large number of folders, notebooks, a compass, a ruler, a triangle, an empty matchbox...

And then you find out that one can really earn a lot with school necessities in France. The people complain about the costs rising and I expect one of these days a true peoples revolt against the school necessities mafia. In the larger supermarkets the main products are no longer food or detergents, no, its about school necessities. An than it appears, your not the only parent searching intensively for that one bag of Bic pencils with two blue, one green and one red pencil, a box of 6 white pieces of chalk, a notebook of exactly 96 pages with big squares, o, and by the way not a ring-binder or spiral (very inconvenient if you know that most have spirals).

School necessities in France is a real industry and I think it's amazing that in a country where so much is spend on education (7% of the gross national revenue) expects from parents that they buy that many stuff all by themselves. It makes me wonder, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the boss of the necessities factory has a supplementary job at the ministry of education

's-middags voetballen in het Franse park langs de Lot

Action shot in the afternoon in the park

But well, a smart Frenchman better send his child to public school (80%) because its completely for free. This also applies to the majority of the private schools, with exception for the lunch, that you have to pay for yourself. Ah, well if that’s all... a lunch (“repas, madame, repas!”) costs 3,15 euro. Ah wait... two children... four days at school... calculate... that’s... huh? 1,000 euro annually?! jinkes.

i don't have to go to school in France, but i can be on it!

posted by Ruud om 01:29  |  send an e-mail

next column ( 26 aug ) - previous column ( 22 aug )




Augustus 2006
- French coffee
- Snake spotting
- School in France I
- Buildings in France
- The Market in France
- Homesick
- Biking in France
February 2009
January 2009
November 2008
October 2008
August 2008
June 2008
March 2008
February 2008
December 2007
November 2007
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April 2007
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September 2006
Augustus 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006


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