On the occasion of the French Presidency of the European Union, the General Directors of School Education in the European Union will meet on Thursday 5 and Friday 6 May at the Jacobin Theatre, in Rennes (Ile-et-Villains). The opportunity to discover the developed systems in Brittany in terms of artistic and cultural education. But also to assess the reception of 300,000 Ukrainian students who sought refuge in Europe, due to Russia’s invasion of their country. Interview with Edward Jeffrey, Director General of School Education.
Why meet with your European counterparts in Rennes?
This meeting comes within the framework of the French presidency of the European Union. For two days, we will discuss our teaching practices. Why Rin? Because Brittany is investing heavily in artistic and cultural education, which is very important in the long run for Europeans.
Want to highlight a highly developed quarter-hour reading here, why?
Thanks to this device, students develop a taste for reading, they are more comfortable in terms of fluency, and it is clear that there is a calming effect on classroom life. That’s why I asked each of my European peers to come up with their favorite book. This should lead to a nice exchange moment.
What other topics will be covered?
We will also talk about the school building, and how to make it more inclusive. And the European student movement, which is not only of interest to students. Tomorrow, high school students leaving for a few weeks in a European school system will, I hope, be able to enhance this European experience in the form of an option to get the baccalaureate.
What about the reception of Ukrainian students?
We do not have observations from all countries, but at least 300,000 Ukrainian children are now in schools outside their country, including 13,000 in France. The majority were educated in primary school, a third in college and only a small portion in high school.
How is it going ?
Feedback from the field shows a very good integration of these students, and our education systems are not too far behind. Those who do not speak French follow vocational training in so-called Educational Units for Incoming Pupils (UPE2A). We also provide them with computer equipment to connect to the online educational platform of the Ukrainian Ministry of National Education, which is very complete and very well built. All academies are also recruiting Ukrainian teachers, particularly among refugees, to provide individual follow-up to students.
Is France a model for Europe?
We started a little bit by going online very early on in a course created with medical teachers to explain to teachers how to welcome a child who has experienced war trauma. We also have a device that allows parents, after dropping their children to school in the morning, to go to a room where they can learn French themselves, the elements of our culture and our system.French education. But we still have a lot of points to work on: How do we maintain, for the Ukrainian pupils, a connection with their culture and language? How do the study methods adapt to the duration of reception? How do you anticipate your arrival and allocate resources to needs?
What if the war lasted for months?
Any child residing in France is subject to compulsory education. No matter how long those kids are going to be for, we’ll put ourselves in a position to work so that they can go to school. Before the war began, 60,000 children were already benefiting from UP2A, either within a large school or via A mobile unit operating in several schools. no thing. We will have the flexibility to teach all these children.