Europe with its spate of myriad developments can never really offer anyone a dull day. There’s so much happening in the various realms of international politics, geopolitics, defense, and other affairs in the continent consisting of 44 countries. And in one such interesting development, it is now confirmed that in the heart of a truly enigmatic continent, schools in France are all set to display flags in the classrooms! You read this right.
Before one gets into the bottom of this, it ought to be asked whether this is a conscious effort to generate a culture of nation-worship or to exude a spirit of nationalism? So one’s got to know, just why are schools in France to display flags in classrooms?
What’s rather interesting is that while one’s to know why are schools in France to display flags in classrooms, what is also confirmed (according to reports in the international press) is that the classrooms should also bare the words of the French national anthem.
Apparently, as it turns out, the above rules have been put into place as a part of reforms carried out in the sphere of education. And the educational reforms were only recently passed by the parliament.
That the schools need to display the French flags (along with the EU flags) was a move suggested by the leading Centrist government, led by Emannuel Macron. And, without much doubt, the somewhat debatable measure has caught the eye of the critics.
At this point, the critics suggest that the measures are a bit implicitly nationalistic in their inception while the general feeling is that the move is a bit controversial.
It also occurs the new education law that’s been put into force has gathered a lot of traction from various ends of the political and intellectual spectrum.
But first up, just what is the education law about?
Parents who do not conform with the rules could be fined €1,500 (£1,362). It only affects a small number of families as 97% of children aged between three and six are in education already.
The law also includes changes to the school-leavers exam, giving more weight to coursework and more opportunity for pupils to specialize.
In forging a path ahead of the generations’ old precedent, where according to the requirements of the ‘old’ law, the French schools were only supposed to carry the national flags and not the words of the national anthem, the new law brings forth a change.
In an interesting read from the BBC, that carried some elaborations on the flag-and-anthem rule, it is worthwhile to note the following:
It was initially suggested as an amendment by Éric Ciotti, an MP from the centre-right opposition party Les Républicains.
After much debate, the government agreed to the amendment but insisted the EU flag must be displayed too.
The law was passed by France’s parliament in February.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told Le Parisien newspaper at the time: “Civic spirit must be strengthened. Everywhere in the world, knowing the symbols of your country is the most natural thing in the world.”