It’s back to school for all students in the Principality of Monaco and, according to the education department, it’s under “much calmer” and more innovative conditions this year.
Monday 5th September marked the official return to school for the 5,696 students and the 872 staff members of the Principality.
To ease re-entry, Isabelle Bonnal, Commissioner General in charge of the Department of National Education, Youth and Sports, spoke to the press about the new year and what changes and objectives kids and parents can expect.
One of the most welcome changes will be that children are no longer obliged to wear masks at school, though barrier gestures will still be maintained. Said Ms Bonnal of this development, “It is in much calmer conditions that the start of the 2022 school year will take place.”
Additionally, there will be a return to face-to-face classes, parent-teacher meetings and gym classes, both indoor and outdoor.
On the learning front, students in first class will have a voluntary option of taking an additional one and a half hours of maths to their general schedules, under the heading of scientific mathematics education. For younger children, at the primary level, all CE2, CM1 and CM2 classes in the Principality will take part in the Kangourou des maths competition which will take place during Mathematics Week, from 6th to 15th March 2023.
Middle school pupils will be offered three new competitions, starting with CGénial, which gives them a chance to design a scientific project, Océano for All, an avenue for proposing objectives on sustainable development, and an inter-establishment competition putting students to the test on cross-learning bridge and mathematics.
Languages are being highlighted this year as well. “The Monegasque language becomes compulsory in 3rd grade, in the continuity of what was put in place for 4th graders last year,” announced Ms Bonnal at the press conference.
Access to the English language will also be facilitated and “made fairer”.
Two pilot programmes at La Condamine school and FANB Institution school will try out a system of assessments without grades for CE1 and CE2 classes. This is part of the well-being plans for this school year, noting that “grades can be a stress factor in the life of the student”. If successful, this could expand to secondary education.
For those whose schedules are heavy on sport, “a new system for evaluating sports skills, tested this year with 3rd grade classes, will be implemented each quarter and directly within the sports club concerned by a referent PE teacher in compliance with the standards and criteria defined in the official programme,” said the general commissioner. Furthermore, the Grande Section Maternelle kids will be able to try out a new sport this year: judo and laser run, combining running and laser shooting.
The current international option for Bac students has been replaced with the international French baccalaureate, offering subjects taught and tested in another language, giving students a bilingual, bicultural diploma, something that makes sense in multicultural Monaco.
In the digital domain, primary school pupils will discover ‘Minecraft, Adventures of Monaco’, a playful and dynamic way of immersing children in the history of Monaco.
This year, pupils from Lycée Technique et Hôtelier will be equipped with a touch screen laptop, provided by All Saints, giving them access to digital textbooks. BTS and BCG students will receive the same laptops in January. This programme was able to offer last year’s students at the Lycée Albert 1er the same deal.
For the instructors, a new platform of educational resources, Tactileo, will be made available to secondary school teachers from Monday.
On a social note, staff training in the prevention of violence and harassment continues, and cases will be seriously looked at and considered to ensure no child suffers from bullying.
Photo credit: Michael Alesi, Government Communications Department