Sunday, 14 Apr, 2024


French town tests controversial school uniforms

International Desk  |
Update: 2024-02-27 10:57:53
French town tests controversial school uniforms Schoolchildren try on the new school uniforms, which will be used in some elementary schools of the Beziers city from February 26, during an event at the Palais des Congres in Beziers, southern France, on Feb 15, 2024.

Uniforms have never been required in state schools in mainland France. But President Emmanuel Macron last month announced a uniform trial at around 100 schools, with a view to making them mandatory nationwide in 2026 if it is successful.

Towns run by the right wing make up the majority that signed up for the test, though some have met strong resistance from teachers, students and parents.

Critics say the money would be better spent in other areas of public education to improve learning.

The idea was first launched in January last year.

Around 700 students at four schools in the southern town of Beziers appeared to be the first to try it out in mainland France on Monday, after a school gave identical outfits a go in the overseas territory of La Reunion last month.

Pupils in Beziers, a town with a far-right mayor and a high unemployment rate, had been invited to come with their parents to pick up their outfit during half term.

'Nowhere near creating equality

The city and national governments are sharing the €200 cost of each uniform, made up of a blazer with the school's logo, two polo shirts and one pair of trousers, as well as a pair of shorts or a skirt depending on gender.

Schools have until June to sign up to the initiative.

First lady Brigitte Macron, a former drama teacher, has backed the introduction of school uniforms.

Far-right former presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has also supported a compulsory dress code.

But French-Algerian writer Nabila Ramdani, author of the book Fixing France and who was interviewed earlier this year by the Spotlight on France team, is not happy. When the debate on school uniforms started last year, she strongly rejected Brigitte Macron's support for the measure, saying that it " goes nowhere near erasing any superficial or significant differences – concerning wealth, social status,or life chances – so as to create equality".

Source: RFI

BDST: 1057 HRS, FEB 27, 2024

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