Remy de la Mauviniere/AP
Nationwide strikes in France hobbled public services from transport to schools, Tuesday, March 23, 2010.
The headlines have been full of news on the unemployment rate in France; above 10 percent, France has an even higher unemployment rate than the United States. How has the recession affected education in France?
As early as November 2008, thousands of people protested against education reform plans, especially plans to cut thousands of teaching jobs, Euronews reported.
By January 2009, the economic crisis had forced the French government to make job cuts, and announce reform plans for primary and secondary education. In response, thousands of teachers went on a one-day national strike. Job cuts were at the top of strikers’ list of grievances, along with “the end of teaching hours on Saturday mornings, which means they have less time to do their work,” The Guardian reported.
Massive job cuts in the education sector will certainly sound familiar to educators in the United States. But what about an emphasis on food and culture? This may be where the French education system differs most profoundly from the American system.
“While the country is cutting public programs and civil-servant jobs to try to slash a debt of about $2.1 trillion, no one has dared to mention touching the money spent on school lunches,” Vivienne Walt wrote for Time magazine in February.