Tuesday, 21 May, 2024


France's education minister slips up in public school faux pas

International Desk  | banglanews24.com
Update: 2024-01-16 10:51:54
France's education minister slips up in public school faux pas Amélie Oudéa-Castera finds herself in the hot seat less than a week after being appointed head of both the Ministry of Sports and Education.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, on her first school visit as minister, Oudéa-Castera defended her decision to educate her three boys at the prestigious Stanislas school – a private Catholic institution in Paris – rather than in the public system.

"Loads of teaching hours without a serious replacement teacher" at the public school one of her son's attended had led to her putting him into the private sector.

"Like hundreds of thousands of families" across France, Oudéa-Castera said she'd got "fed up".

But on Sunday, left-leaning daily Liberation reported that the son in question had not been affected by staffing gaps during his time there and that the family had chosen to move the child to the private school because the public one would not bump him up a year.

Personal attacks

Oudéa-Castera "categorically denies the claims reported by Liberation," her office told French news agency AFP.

"We have to close this chapter of personal attacks and personal life," the minister urged on a Monday morning visit to a Paris school, saying she had "tried to respond as sincerely as possible".

The former French junior tennis champion was one of the main winners in last week's reshuffle when she was given the education ministry alongside her existing portfolio as sports minister.

As head of the new super ministry, she will be leading preparations for the 2024 Olympics in Paris a well as handling the sensitive issue of education – which the government has made one of its top priorities.

Teachers' unions are already furious that education has been merged into a multiple ministry at a time when it's facing a recruitment crisis and attacks on staff by radicalised students.

The new minister is due to start meeting education union reps from Monday. 

Calls to step down

The political opposition has seized on the Libération report to slam the new minister, with some members of the hard-left LFI and far-right National Rally calling for her resignation. 

"If the minister really lied... [she] has no place at the head of the education ministry," LFI MP Rodrigo Arenas wrote on social media platform X.   

The Oudéa-Castera row is the first blow to Macron's hope that a new, smaller ministerial team around youngest-ever Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, could help his administration to regain momentum.

Macron lost his absolute parliamentary majority in 2022 but his centrist Renaissance party has managed to force through a controversial pension reform, and most probably contentious immigration reforms, thanks to support from the right.

Source: RFI

BDST: 1051 HRS, JAN 16, 2024

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