Education Across Borders

Little had I known during our two-week trip to London and France that my views of life were changing.

We spent one week in London, which was an absolutely amazing experience. Then we flew to my homeland of France to visit my dad and his side of the family. As a child, I was born and raised in France and began my schooling under the French education system, then continued it at age 9 under the Canadian system.

From these experiences, the Canadian and French systems are different in approaching what they think are the needs of a child. I believe that neither system is perfect but if somehow we combined ideas, we could create the perfect educational system.

IMG_0652The French Way

First of all, education—whether it be public, college or university—is FREE…… Free education??? Yes, what the French take pride in is that education is a human right and everyone should have access to it. But you have to earn it by working hard and getting good marks.

If you do want to send your kids to private or Catholic school, you can. It only costs you about 75 euros a month depending on the school (coming from my father, who is enrolling my siblings at a private Catholic school for that price).

Secondly, school days are much longer but every school feeds each child. Imagine this. You have a 2 hour lunch break where you sit down and have a proper healthy cooked meal with your friends along with the staff, who are also enjoying  a small glass of wine with their lunch. Then you have an hour after to run around.

Now when it comes to academics, France has a very rigid system where they take pride in every student’s achievements. Its not uncommon for students to be held back a year because they struggled in their work.

IMG_0759The system gets you already thinking about your career path by the time you are in grade 6 or 7. From then on, you’re continuing in studies that are relevant to your future interests; for example, science, business, engineering or trades. Languages are also extremely important. Students must learn up to 2 languages of their choice (not in depth, but still take courses).

I found that education in France was very academic-based and they wanted to every student to excel. There is no such thing as playing for a school sport or school spirit like we have in North America; those things are done as extracurricular activities.

The Canadian Way

Well unfortunately for us Canadians, we have to pay a shit load of money for our education. In BC, we have the highest interest rates for IMG_0580student loans in the country and we end up paying those back through our lifetime. Somehow that is strange. But hey, to each country their own….

Apart from a money grabbing system we have for education, BC now is internationally recognized for their new curriculum, which is being placed in effect as of next year!! This is fantastic and so exciting for future Canadians!!

The education system in Canada is very unique due to the fact that we are such a diverse country. The major goals in our educational system are to help children develop mentally, physically and socially. There are many theories and concepts surrounding ways to teach students effectively and ensuring their understanding in learning.

The student and teacher relationship is key to our education system. One of a teacher’s many goals is to be able to connect with each and every student and meet each of their specific needs.

Now while we focus on the individual, the new curriculum has been designed to enable future teachers to be creative and feel less constricted with what they are teaching. This will also force teachers to really work together and create a learning environment that encompasses all  children with different backgrounds and learning styles.

I should finish off by saying that UVic and Canada are internationally recognized for their efforts in producing spectacular teachers, due to the diversity of our country and the schooling and training they’re  put through. Teachers here are more than just teachers. They are social engineers, counselors, mentors, and perhaps a friend.

Putting the Two Together

The best educational system in my mind would be Canada with a little of the European schooling. If education was free, and the government really took pride in educating its future citizens, then that would be enough.

But if we were to take it a step further and somehow be able to have every child fed as part of their education, that would be a jackpot. It’s so important for children to have nutrition while they are learning. Our brains need good healthy food in order for them to work properly!! This not only gets kids through the day but it teaches them the benefits of a healthy diet and the importance it has to function. This would give every child, no matter what family background they come from, a real sit down meal experience. While we feed our brains with information we must nourish them at the same time.

Maybe eventually we could serve the staff a small glass of wine just to loosen them up……maybe.

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