France - Multicultural education in a multinational society


The policy of the French Republic in the field of education is based on the traditional values ​​of democracy. So, in the instructions of the Ministry of Education of France, we read: "In the process of education, it is necessary to educate the personality of a civilized and democratic society ... with feelings of ... respect for other people ... rejection of racism, understanding of the universality of different cultures ...". Official France, implementing the integration model "Republican equality", intends "to make children a basis for integration". The school is proclaimed the place where "do not forget to turn people's differences into a positive phenomenon".

France's pedagogical policy on the problems of multiculturalism is aimed primarily at resolving issues of relationships with small indigenous peoples and immigrant communities. The authorities, contrary to the declarations in the spirit of cross-cultural (intercultural) education, adhere to them, especially new immigrants, the course of assimilation.

Such a policy was frankly carried out until the mid-1980s. applied to small autochthons. The state course in education was aimed at balancing regional differences and limiting cultural diversity to the framework of folklore. A typical example of the consequences of such a course is the situation in French Catalonia, where small autochthons, with the exception of the older generation, have lost the practice of communicating in Catalan. This is the result of a historically long state policy aimed at eliminating regional particularism. The use of the Catalan language virtually disappeared before the Second World War under the influence of the compulsory education system in French.

A similar situation has developed in other regions of France, where indigenous minorities live: Basques, Corsicans, Bretons, Alsatians, etc. In these regions, up to the middle of the last century, there were compulsory rules: students in the school were forbidden to communicate in a language other than French; teachers could not speak the minority language even in their own family.

Since the 1950s. the authorities, under the pressure of intellectuals, have gone on to organize facultative instruction in local languages. However, the situation has not changed significantly. Only in the mid-1980s. the school policy began to trace the tendency aimed at recognizing the cultural and educational interests of indigenous minorities.

In the 1970-1980's. The assimilation model was subjected to the pressure of intercultural education policies. This policy is reflected in several documents of the Ministry of National Education. In the documents, it was about opening up to each student a variety and differences, including immigration; the tasks of recognizing the characteristics of pupils as representatives of subcultures, the adoption of such characteristics in the calculation in school education were set; gave guidance on the need to take into account the specificity of local cultures.

School policy has officially been based on respect for cultural and racial differences. The rejection of racism and the universality of different cultures are laid down in the instructions of the French Ministry of Education. In the school policy, a tendency has emerged aimed at recognizing the cultural and educational interests of minorities. In 1985, the "Council of Regional Cultures and Languages" was created, which should deal with the preservation of the culture and languages ​​of indigenous minorities, including through education. In the circular of the Ministry of Education in 1978, the term "interculturalism" was first used. with reference to education, which primarily concerned migrants. The ministerial memorandum of 1983 defined the main directions of intercultural education: combating prejudice and ethnocentrism, openness and solidarity of cultures, education for democracy and humanistic values, intercultural dialogue of students, social and cultural expression of schoolchildren. The memorandum also proclaimed the need to acquaint students with the problems of the Third World countries. and intercultural relations. The memorandum stated that discussions of these problems "should become an integral element of the formation of a citizen and naturally fit into the education system, promote the strengthening of human rights". The memorandum also spoke about the need for openness to cultural diversity, solidarity and the universality of intercultural education.

In the future, the memorandum of 1983 was supplemented by other documents, where an intercultural approach was also declared. Thus, Premier L. Jospin (1989) stated that cultural differences in French society can stimulate mutual enrichment, thus strengthening the common features of various strata of the French nation.

Currently, the French Ministry of Education formally continues to support the idea of ​​intercultural education and regards it as an intercultural dialogue, mutual understanding between different cultures, recognition of diversity, the principle of cultural relativism, rejection of ethnocentrism, respect for the value and identity of each culture. The official course of intercultural education must adhere to all study districts.

However, gradually the influence of ideas of intercultural education in French politics is becoming less significant. Minister of National Education A. Savary in 1984 excluded the term "interculturalism" from official documents, accompanied by such a step statements, from which it could be assumed that France remains faithful to the settings of intercultural education. Officials of the Ministry of Education continue to make statements about the need to build positive relations of interaction, cooperation and mutual understanding among students of different cultures. " As French researchers O. Meunier, K. Zhenifer, J. Vinsonno, F. Lorceri have noted, such official statements are largely declarative in nature, because in school politics the principles of interculturalism are poorly instrumentalized, oriented toward stereotypical interpretation of cultural differences in a multicultural society, not taking into account their dynamics and volatility. "

Since 1993, official France has actually "come back to square one" - to the ideology of integration in the direction of assimilation, neglect of cultural diversity. Since the late 1990s. in official circles do not hide the crisis of the policy of intercultural education and clearly give a hint about the intentions of reviewing such a policy. In 1998, the High Council for Integration directly admitted that the distance between the French and immigrants has increased. In official documents after 1998, the topic and terminology of intercultural education disappears. The idea of ​​a dialogue of cultures has gone into the background, and intercultural education is actually becoming a cover for education within the framework of the French monoculture.

Indicative in this sense is the report of the head of the parliamentary commission B. Stasi (2003), where the traditional values ​​of monocultural education are recognized as the basis of national unity. As follows from the report, these values ​​should unite the French community: "The deviation of movement from a sense of community creates a threat of fragmentation of modern communities; any diversity or pluralism outside the republican pact is regarded as an illusory and deceptive path. The secularity when solving the problem of establishing unity and respect for the diversity of society ... can be a platform for conciliation and will not give rise to a mosaic of closed and mutually exclusive communities. "

Among the latest reasons for the revision of the school policy of interculturalism were the riots in 2005 in the suburbs of Paris, in which teenage immigrants participated. Sociologist B. Salanie writes with sarcasm: "Only the riots have ended, the French politicians of all stripes have become engaged in the usual business: they started talking about the need for integration within the framework of the republican treaty".

The ruling circles are curtailing the policy of intercultural education for fear that it will be used to consolidate immigrant communities as special strata of the French nation. This position encourages the marginalization of migrants at the social and educational levels. At the same time, the idea of ​​the traditional model of the school as an instrument of integration, accompanied by the neglect of cultural differences, is reviving in French politics.

In favor of such a model, French President J. Chirac (2005), who proclaimed the traditional values ​​of the school as the only educational base, did not say a word about the need for intercultural education. Skeptically appreciated in 2010 the idea of ​​multiculturalism in education, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The French school struggles to turn to a dialogue of cultures. In education, Francocentrism still prevails. The curricula actually do not correspond to education in a culturally pluralistic community. They sparingly present topics on the history of colonization, religions, migration, the study of which could promote cross-cultural education. The school is limited to extremely dosed transfer of knowledge about the realities of the diversity of cultures, spiritual values, which allow to avoid conflicts and "live together" in a multicultural society. Most teachers ignore the problem of ethnic or national differences, do not take into account the characteristics of students - representatives of small subcultures.

France actively participates in the creation of a common educational and cultural space of the European Union. This is particularly noticeable in higher education. In the French context of internationalization, drawn up by the French Ministry of Education in 1995, the priorities of the IVO are: exchange of students with industrialized countries (especially the European Union), guarantees for mutual recognition of diplomas of higher education, creation of international training programs, schools of the third cycle with postgraduate education programs in countries that adhere to the Anglo-American model of the bachelor-master-doctor.

France leads the EU in implementing higher education projects, France initiates important agreements on IWO related, in particular, to the need to intensify the study of foreign languages ​​in universities in Western Europe.

The priority of France in the IHO is the exchange of students. Almost a quarter of French students studying abroad study in Germany. Another 25% is studying in the USA. The rest are students primarily from other countries of Western Europe. As for foreign students, the trends are different here. The share of partners in the European Union remains insignificant. The most represented are students from Germany (slightly more than 3% of foreign students per year). Preferences are traditionally given to the admission of students from the Maghreb countries (about 60%).

Foreign students who wish to obtain higher education in France are required to undergo a number of formalities. Before entering it is necessary to withstand testing for knowledge of French. Requirements for applicants are developed by universities in accordance with their own criteria. The president or the rector of the university gives an opinion on the educational level of the applicant based on the recommendations of the commission, which examines the academic success of the applicant. For EU citizens, the requirements are facilitated and are determined by the level and results of previous training. They must present a bachelor's degree or equivalent diploma of secondary education; diplomas on secondary education issued in the EU countries or confirmed by an international expert body in Geneva are recognized. When enrolling in a university with a limited admission and some higher schools are required to pass an interview or a special examination, and in addition - and a diploma in the program of the first cycle of higher education.

Large schools and other special universities have reformed their curricula to bring them in line with international standards. In these educational institutions, the opportunities for student exchange with foreign universities have been expanded, and lectures in foreign languages ​​have been introduced.

In pursuance of the IVO strategy in French universities, the scale of the study of foreign languages ​​is growing, which must necessarily be at least 5% of the study time on the first cycle. In the second and third cycles, teaching foreign languages ​​is included in the program for most specialties. However, it is not necessary to talk about the unconditional success of teaching foreign languages ​​in French universities. Training hours are not enough to get active communication skills; there are not enough qualified teachers, training equipment, etc.

Belgium. Belgium belongs to a few European countries, where there is a common multi-ethnic cultural and educational space, and a pedagogical policy is being implemented that allows one to observe the balance of national interests on the one hand and the cultural and educational interests of autochthonous groups on the other.

The education system in Belgium is at first glance chaotic. But this is a superficial impression. The multinational school works as a well-established mechanism, the details of which are docked with specific sociocultural, ethnic and political conditions. The school is an organic link of a special federal structure. There are three equal linguistic communities in the country: 1) Flemish; 2) French-speaking (francophones); 3) German-speaking. The Kingdom is divided into three regions: Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. Regions have significant rights in the field of education. They actually allocate the funds allocated to the school. There are three education ministers in the government who represent the interests of autochthonous ethnic groups, secular schools and educational institutions under the control of churches (primarily Catholic). Powers are divided between central and regional authorities. So, ministries control the compulsory education, the standard of types of educational institutions, the filling of classes, the issuance of diplomas of education, payment of wages, etc. Regions are responsible for teaching the native language, professional and continuing education, physical education of schoolchildren, etc.

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