Dumbing down of Year 12 French in French schools

National programmes for Year 12 French (la Première, as it is called in France) are currently undergoing revision. The government has asked for the course to be “centrée sur des études littéraires en phase avec le monde moderne.” We are troubled by this development, because whilst we believe that modern literature should be represented at this level, it should not form the central thrust of the course. A particular concern is that educationalists have stated that this reform is intended to make the study of French literature more attractive and relevant to modern youth. Our concern, as with other literatures, would be to transmit a love for a cultural canon worthy of study for its own sake.

We will be doing our own thing, of course. But our boys, if they are French, or good enough at French, will still be able to sit the French bac alongside their A-levels if they wish.


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