Vocational schools in France are getting a financial boost thanks to new government cash injections that hope to raise teaching standards and lower drop-out rates.
Vocational schools in France have long been a good option for students whose tastes run to the practical and these varied institutions offer solid training and skills for jobs that may fall outside the usual high school or university curriculums.
The system, often thought to be primarily for entry into “blue collar” jobs, is in fact far more sophisticated, offering 70 specific courses of study in fields such as service, catering, maintenance, construction, agriculture and accounting, to name but a few. The schools can also be a stepping stone to further education in a variety of subjects, such as business and engineering.
To inject new life into the nation’s vocational education system, President Emmanuel Macron has announced a plan based on three pillars: better support for drop-out prevention, with a goal of 100% professional integration; making vocational schools a more attractive choice for both young people and employers; and giving these institutions the means to act, to the tune of €1 billion each year, which will be invested into the system.
“Together, we have been able to succeed in learning,” said the president via Twitter. “Now, let’s collectively make vocational high schools a sector of excellence.”
In order to reach this goal, the government has set out 12 measures.
Some are basic: smaller class sizes; more class choices; better teacher and headmaster/mistress training; school withdrawal prevention methods; increasing Bac +1 places from 4,500 to 20,000 by 2026; and offering internship opportunities for students in their chosen fields.
Others are a bit more creative and include: language, coding and entrepreneurship courses; offering preparation support for professional integration with external partners; creating business offices in each school; and making student’s projects more interesting and relevant by adopting new pedagogical approaches.
The task is mammoth, but the results could be equally so for the tens of thousands of young people who will be the professionals of tomorrow.
Pap Ndiaye, Minister of National Education and Youth, says, “Our collective ambition is clear: better integrate graduate students and better support those who wish to continue their studies in higher education.”
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