French students, parents mock award scheme
A proposal by French Education minister to reward students with medals for their academic performances has been ridiculed by parents and students.15 September 2008
PARIS -- A French plan that could see high school students awarded medals for good academic performance met with derision on Sunday from parents and students, who mocked it as a "bling-bling" PR exercise.
France's Education Minister Xavier Darcos said in an interview with Parisian Dimanche newspaper on Sunday he wanted the French baccalaureate, the country's high school diploma, to be "valued" by students.
Darcos plans to introduce an award scheme based on academic performance.
"We think students could even receive a medal. They would be different colours, maybe in the style of sporting medal - gold, silver or bronze," Darcos told the French newspaper.
Darcos later told the RTL radio station that he intends to bring in the award system in 2009. Similar schemes are already running in some French high schools.
"It's about reinforcing the rites of passage, a way of recognising (academic achievement), to give a bit of formality to the awards," Darcos said.
"I'm not nostalgic, I am resolutely modern," the minister added.
But student representatives, teachers and parents interviewed by AFP disagreed.
"High school students never asked for this," said Florian Lecoultre, president of the UNL students union. "It's bling-bling and it's insignificant."
Left-wing critics of President Nicolas Sarkozy have ridiculed his sometimes splashy style as "bling-bling".
A parents' representative, Anne Kerkhove, said the plan would turn the baccalaureate from an "exam into a competition”.
"We've got more important things to work on, such as reforming our high school system," she said.
[AFP / Expatica]