U-turn on collège Latin teaching

New secondary school curriculum will still include some ancient languages, after campaign by teachers and historians

14 May 2015

PROPOSALS to scrap teaching of ancient languages and culture from France's secondary school curriculum appear to have been overturned, after a fierce campaign by academics.

Education minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacemm, who is overseeing a wide-ranging reform of secondary (collège) education, has asked the body drawing up the new curriculum to factor in Ancient Greek and Latin teaching as part of the French-language programme for pupils aged 12-15 (5ème to 3ème).

Classics teaching did not feature in the first draft of the plan - leading to protests from some teachers and academics, as well as prominent politicians including François Bayrou and Jack Lang.

The education minister then offered a compromise, adding an hour a week back into the timetable for pupils in 5ème and two hours in 4ème and 3ème, but critics said this did not go far enough.

The president of the Conseil Supérieur des Programmes, which will decide on the new curriculum changes, has spoken of an "over-reaction by some intellectuals who haven't read the whole project".

Michel Lussault said: "I've been called all sorts of names. The education minister will meet historians and we will organise a forum at the Sorbonne. We will listen to everything that's said when we draw up our final plan."

That plan is due for September, and would come into force from the following rentrée, 2016.

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