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How France organizes the education of Ukrainian children



They are eleven young people, Thursday, March 10, in a room of the Academic Center for the education of newly arrived allophone children and children from itinerant families and travelers (Casnav). Eleven Ukrainians, aged 11 to 18, who take level tests in French and mathematics to be educated in Paris.

“We are exceptionally organizing evaluation sessions dedicated only to young peopleUkrainiansexplains Stéphane Paroux, Casnav coordinator. Depending on the results, they will be assigned, as of next week, to ordinary classes or to teaching units for incoming allophone students. (UPE2A), that is to say not speaking French. If they are welcomed in an exceptional way, they are not treated differently from other migrant children who, too, are educated in a week or two”, he wishes to clarify.

Reinforced teaching

Arrived from Ukraine, often with their mother, most do not speak French at all, with the exception of André, 15, and Marc, 13, who have a few rudiments. The first, Franco-Ukrainian, has already come to France twice. The second studied the language in 6and at the French high school in Kiev, but hadn’t spoken it for three years.“I’ve been here for two weeks and it’s come back a bit,” he confides.

All are concentrated on their exercises, which they perform with varying degrees of ease. Yanna, 13, says in Ukrainian that she has ” not understood “. It is her mother, Tatiana, who translates with the few words she knows. For André too, the tests “in French and maths, it was very bad”. The teenager is the last to leave the room to join his father, Christian, who is waiting for him next door. This Frenchman residing in Odessa brought his son back to Paris to ” protect him “.

→ READ ALSO. Towards a tailor-made welcome for Ukrainian refugees

These eleven Ukrainians are the first to pass the assessments in the capital. Like nearly 68,000 allophone students in France (in 2018-2019), they will follow reinforced teaching in French as a second language (FLS), according to their needs. To benefit from the UPE2A system, children must be registered at the town hall, for primary education, and directly at Casnav for secondary education. Thursday, March 10, 255 students were registered and 356 were in the process of registration at the national level, according to the cabinet of Marlène Schiappa.

“We have places to accommodate them”

That day in Paris, there were only eleven students taking the tests, but the flow could increase sharply. The number of refugees on French soil rose from 7,200 on Thursday to 10,077 on Friday, according to the interior ministry. However, this prospect does not worry Stéphane Paroux. “We have places to accommodate themhe assures, especially since the number of allophone pupils has slightly decreased in recent months.We are not necessarily used to massive arrivals in a very short time, but in Paris, we are used to a continuous flow. »

→ REPORT. War in Ukraine: French cities open their doors to refugees

Reception is organized throughout the territory. The rector of the Montpellier Academy (Hérault), Sophie Béjean, tweeted on Saturday March 5 that “ as soon as it resumes on Monday, the academy will welcome[ait] Ukrainian refugee children in its schools, colleges and high schools”. In the academy of Reims (Marne), which records, on March 11, about twenty young people attending school, ” the procedureregistration has been simplified, with a one-stop shop in town halls, whatever the school level, to facilitate the organization of families”, explains the rector, Olivier Brandouy.

Families who, in Reims as elsewhere, will be able to benefit from the “Opening the school to parents for student success” system. Set up by the Ministries of Education and the Interior, it aims to “promote the integration of parents by acquiring French, knowledge of the functioning of the school and the values ​​of the Republic”.

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