SCHOOL – Guest of the RTL-Le Figaro-LCI Grand Jury this Sunday, January 10, the Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, clarified the situation of schools: no extension of school holidays on the agenda, nor postponement of the bac “unless the epidemic situation requires it”.
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After a 2020 school year upset by the Covid and marked by the cancellation of the final BAC exams, what does 2021 have in store for us? For the time being – and despite the concerns coming from the British variant of Covid-19 now detected in the country – there is no question of changing the schedule …. “unless the epidemic situation requires it.” This is the position of the Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer, guest of the Grand Jury this Sunday.
The Minister of Education first explained that he wanted “keep children in school as much as possible because it is in their interest”. In the event of a third confinement, he thus wants schools to remain open. “The second confinement with the opening of schools showed us that it could be effective”. He adds that “the school environment is not more contaminated than the rest of society”.
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“The extension of the school holidays was never on the agenda. But we do not reject any solution” says the Minister of Education. “My compass is to maintain the calendars as long as possible. The principle is to maintain it, if the situation allows it.”
1 million possible tests in January
“We are able to do 1 million tests in January in schools, mainly in middle and high schools”, says Jean-Michel Blanquer. “Let’s not forget that testing is done on a voluntary basis, and experience has shown us that not everyone wants to be tested.”
Bac: no postponement of specialty tests in March
The Minister of Education said that the first specialty bac exams will be maintained in March in the interest of the students. “There will be no postponement unless the epidemic situation requires it” did he declare. “These tests relate to the teaching of specialty, which correspond to the passions of the pupil. We were more demanding on the contents (…) That’s why we are keeping them in March. “
January 20: the gauge in high schools “surely extended”
As for the reduced numbers in high schools – where students have alternated face-to-face and distance learning since November – they should be maintained beyond January 20. The government had asked high schools in November to adapt their organization with a gauge of 50% of students today respected, according to the ministry, in 69% of public establishments in the country. At the time, the ministry anticipated a possible resumption of classes at 100% of the workforce in high schools around January 20. “I think we will have to come back to this (…) the epidemic situation being what it is”, agreed Jean-Michel Blanquer.
Vaccination of teachers
“The main criterion of vaccination is that of age” specifies the minister, pleading for “do things in the right order” : “When it comes to the working population, teachers will be among the first to be affected (…) This will necessarily take place during the first half of the year. ” But on the precise dates of a vaccination of teachers, the minister refers to the health authorities.
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Fewer dropouts in 2020 than in 2019
Paradox of this year of pandemic: the dropout of students in difficulty is less important than the previous year, continues the minister. 60,000 students in 2020 against 70,000 dropouts the previous year, stressed Jean-Michel Blanquer. “I am very careful to ensure that schools are closed only as a last resort” he emphasizes. And add: “France in 2020 is the country which has kept children the most in schools in 2020.”
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