France: No Mobile Phones
School education in France begins after a child reaches the age of six. The new school year typically starts in September; however no celebrations for this occasion are held. The first weeks of school do not carry much workload to give new and returning students a chance of adjusting to the learning process.
In France toddlers over the age of 4 are required to attend preschool. This decision was made to better adapt migrant children to local life and to give them an opportunity to study French before they enroll for school.
Because of the large number of migrants in French schools, there are special classes for children from such families. At first they improve their language skills by going to specific language learning classes, and move to a general class with time. The process is gradual through. First, it can be agreed for student to attend a general class only for selected courses.
Public schools in France enroll students on a territorial basis. After a request is made, a letter of recommendation is issued to the parents by the local authorities, indicating one or several (depending on how full the classes are) of possible school choices. If the parents decide to send their child to a private institution, the future student is required to take an introductory test. The more prestigious a school is the better result child will need to have in order to be accepted. Testing is also possible if the family choice is not from the proposed list.
Most French schools provide food services for schoolchildren that are paid for by parents and are optional. The cost for food depends on a family income and may be partially covered from the local budget. Parents are also encouraged to supply their children with the healthy snacks at school time.
Formal schooling starts at six years in France,
although in reality little children are learning from four years old
In the morning, in order for the children not to be late for classes, special duties around unregulated pedestrian crossings near schools are commonly organized: school workers in bright vests stop moving cars so that children can safely and quickly cross the road.
French students are punished for systematic delays. If a student is continually late for classes without a valid reason, teacher has a right to punish them by telling to remain in school after classes. This time should be spent in a place assigned by a teacher, for example, in another class.
French schools have a pass-through system. Students may not leave their school during class time. Some schools have a system of electronic passes; others use a special journal, on the cover of which the student’s timetable is printed.
All absences, delays and discipline issues are reported to parents.
In case of systematic violations of discipline, school routine or reluctance to study, teachers may invite parents to school. Conversations with a teacher take place in a positive atmosphere with both a parent and a student present. It is emphasized that this is, first of all, done to encourage learning, not to indicate mistakes.
Additionally, elementary and secondary students in France are expected to be banned from using their mobile phones to prevent distraction.
Schools are now considering the possibility of installing special boxes for storage of the devices. In some schools, such restrictions and special phone boxes already exist.
Students' achievements are determined by scores on term tests. For each test, the maximum number of points is estimated in advance (the student can score for example, 20 out of 24). In the case of the student’s extraordinary achievement, their teacher can grant them a mark of 25 out of 24.It is a common practice for French students to retake the same year and is not considered shameful.
Starting a higher education for the most part does not include examinations (with a few exceptions for certain degrees). The student submits his or her papers with the graduation tests results. All institutions establish their own minimum score needed for the applications to be considered. In the case if there are more applicants than the places available, it is common for universities to randomly choose candidates. Failure to enter higher education is not seen as a tragedy by the French. Often, graduates take a pause to get a job or let a gap year decide on their future perspectives.
France is currently undergoing an educational reform, which plans to separate institutions after which children will continue to receive higher education from those that lead to a vocational training. This possible innovation has sparked a lot of criticism and is currently under discussion.