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France profonde

If Ségolène Royal wins the French presidency in May, a quirky regional experiment in participative budgeting for schools may become national policy

By Tim King   January 2007

From the outside, many lycées in France are impressive: they tend to be modern buildings, perhaps self-consciously architectural but at least placing education in the present, even linking it with someone’s idea of the future. But inside, lycées lack soul. This is partly because decisions about school buildings, like so much else in France, come from the top down, and partly because a pupil will only attend a lycée for three years (ages 15-18). Since the sole object of being there is to get through the baccalauréat, no effort is made to forge that lifelong bond which turns a concrete…

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