French pupils begin 'bac' exams with philosophy

9th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 9 (AFP) - A jolt of angst and ambition was felt across France on Thursday as the country's 600,000 students in their last year of secondary school began the first day of their 'baccalaureat' exams that will determine their educational futures.

PARIS, June 9 (AFP) - A jolt of angst and ambition was felt across France on Thursday as the country's 600,000 students in their last year of secondary school began the first day of their 'baccalaureat' exams that will determine their educational futures.  

The first test taken by the majority of the students was philosophy, with questions such as "Are justice and injustice merely conventions?" and "Does being free mean not encountering any obstacle?".  

Two weeks of examinations are scheduled, with first results due out in July.  

During that time, families often share the anxiety of the students undergoing the 'bac', and nationwide there is a sense of tension in metros, buses and cafes as stressed teenagers get in last-minute studying.  

"I wasn't worried. A little stressed at first, but that soon passed," said 18-year-old Constance Blanchard, four hours after her test in her school in Paris's Latin Quarter.  

Education Minister Gilles de Robien greeted students as they left the philosophy exam in a Paris school, wishing them luck with their results.  

"The bac is an ordeal for everybody: the students, but also the teachers and all the families," he said.  

But, he added, it was also "the foremost reference, the first exam that has its value recognised across all the country."  

Created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1808 as a way of standardising educational standards on a national level, the baccalaureat acts as the key that will decide whether a student gets into France's universities or not.  

Tests are scored out of 20, with 10 and above signifying a pass mark - a level that 80 percent of those who underwent the process last year attained.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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