Claude Meisch: have to ensure that equal opportunities exist for all students
Photo: Olivier Minaire
Education: The government has announced more details of the international school in Differdange, due to open for students next year.
Meeting a growing demand for English-language education, the government last year announced plans to create a new international school in Differdange. More details of the école international were unveiled at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon by Claude Meisch, minister for education, and François Bausch, minister for sustainable development and infrastructure.
The school, which is due to open at the start of the 2016-17 school year, will be divided into two language sections, roughly the same size, for French- and English-speaking students. It will eventually have capacity for around 1,400 students in primary, preparatory and secondary classes leading to a finishing certificate in the European baccalaureate, the same equivaency achieved by graduates of European Schools. The school will be open from 7.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. but will also open for extra-curricular cultural and sports activities.
Students in each language stream will have to learn the other main language of the school as well as a third language, German or Portuguese. Obligatory Luxembourg language lessons, probably around two hours a week according to Meisch, will also be introduced as part of the school’s integration programme. It will also be the first school in the Grand Duchy to teach formal Portuguese lessons. Meisch says multilingualism will be the school’s main element, with more flexibility than existing Luxembourg secondary schools.
“We have to ensure that equal opportunities exist for all students,” said Meisch, who cited figures suggesting that up to 60% of secondary school students in the south of the country are non-Luxembourgers. But Meisch was also keen to point out that the government was responding to demands from the international business community to provide more schooling in English.
Although the school will accept students in September 2016, the new purpose-built campus will not be completed until the 2020 school year. So the first intake will welcome two primary school classes (one for each language), four secondary school classes (two French and two English) and five prepatory classes including two “classes d’accueil” for those students needing to catch up with their languages.
The four-floor secondary school building will be built on the so-called plateau du Funiculaire development site. It will comprise some 30 classrooms of different sizes, 8 rooms for teaching the arts, science, IT, etc., and one room each for music and theatre. Students will also be able to use a 300-seat restaurant, a 100-seat cafeteria, a library and cyber library and a number of indoor and outdoor sports facilities.