The topic of academic French courses was hotly debated at a conference held in Paris earlier this month, with the first debate taking place on the sidelines of the Paris meeting.
There were at least a dozen participants from French universities, and the issue was raised as a major concern by France’s Health Minister, Marie-France Poupard, and Health Minister Emmanuel Fitoussi, who both attended the event.
“It’s a very complex question,” Fitousski told French radio station France Inter on Wednesday.
“What is the quality of French education?
Is it a high-quality education, or a low-quality one?”
The two speakers, who met in the conference room, differed in their responses.
One said that the quality was very good, but he didn’t know whether the level of the teaching was good enough.
The other, who said he was an academic who has a degree in pharmaceutical engineering, said the quality in French education was poor.
The debate is a major blow to France’s reputation as a top-tier education destination.
In a country that is a global hub for learning, there is no question that its schools are one of the most competitive in the world.
But while France is an excellent place to study, its educational system has suffered from poor teaching, poor funding and a lack of investment in research and quality teaching.
The country also has the second-worst per-capita reading rates in the EU after Denmark, according to OECD data.
In response to the controversy, the Education Ministry has said it would start a new process for selecting academic courses in the next two years, in an effort to “strengthen the quality” of French learning.
The ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it would continue to fund academic French classes.
“We are aware that this topic is at the forefront of the debate,” Foussi told France Inter.
“The fact is, the French government is not in a position to determine what is good and what is bad.”
Poupard said at the conference that she was “deeply disappointed” by the debate, and called for an independent inquiry into the quality and value of French teaching.
“The Minister of Education has said that she is committed to finding a solution that will ensure French education is as high-performing as possible,” she said.
“I am hopeful that the Minister will be able to get this done, and that she will be satisfied with the results of that process.”
Fitoussi said the government was “not going to be complacent,” and that the government would “be willing to look at the matter again in the future.”
“I think we should have a very good look at this, because this is a very important issue,” he told France 2 radio.
“I hope that we will find a solution to it.”