Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Another bright idea from the President...

Regular readers will remember that last October, the President decided to inject a dose of emotion into history teaching by making teachers read out Guy Môquet's final letter. Now he's decided that ten year olds need to learn about the Shoah by "adopting" one of the 11,000 French jewish children deported to the concentration camps in WWII. Less than a year ago, during the election campaign, he was saying that schools needed to be freer, now he's telling history teachers how to do their job. Not only are the teachers up in arms, but historians and child psychologists too. According the the Education Minister, one in every two high school students haven't heard of the Shoah but I hardly think that this is the best solution. And this isn't the first time that he's announced an initiative before the debate. I wouldn't run a languages department like that, never mind a country.

While collaboration during the Occupation needs to be talked about, it might also be worth pointing out that 75% of France's Jews survived the war, hidden away by ordinary people at great personal risk. How about getting some of them to come into class and talk to the kids? Now that really would personalise history teaching.

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