POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Fifth European public school to open in Mersch



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Claude Meisch (l.) and Julie-Suzanne Bausch of the school's steering committee during the launch. Photo: Paperjam 

Education minister Claude Meisch this week officially launched the fifth public school to follow the European School curriculum in an effort to offer more learning options for the country’s large international community. 

Luxembourg opened its first state-run international school in Differdange in 2016, with three further schools--in Clervaux, Mondorf-les-Bains and Junglinster--following in 2018. The schools operate under the European School model and students complete their course with a European Baccalaureate.

Starting in September, the Anne Beffort International School Mersch will welcome five groups of students in the first year of secondary school, divided across three language sections--English, French and German--as well as some pre-vocational classes.

From 2022, the first two years of primary school education will open in English and French. A boarding school and daycare centre are also foreseen for 2022. Eventually, the school will teach 1,200 pupils.

There were 2,450 pupils enrolled at the existing state-run European schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

While the programme aims to provide an international schooling offer, learning Luxembourgish is mandatory throughout primary school and up to the third year of secondary school. After that, it is optional.

The €17m Mersch school was launched by a committee of teachers from the Lycée classique de Diekirch but will become independent with the start of the 2021-2022 school year. It is named after Anne Beffort, the first Luxembourg woman to receive a PhD, which she obtained from the Sorbonne in Paris in 1909. She also helped found the first secondary school for girls in the grand duchy.

“Anne Beffort dared to break new ground and that is exactly what we did when we launched the first European public school in Differdange five years ago. Today, this offer is a pillar of our school landscape,” said education minister Claude Meisch (DP) at the launch event.

“The system of accredited European schools allows flexibility in the choice and level of language learning and thus adapts to family languages and children's talents,” an official statement said. “Students who might have struggled to succeed in the regular system are offered real prospects for the future with an internationally recognised graduation certificate. In a spirit of integration, these schools bring together students of very diverse linguistic origins in a multilingual system.”

Enrollment for the school opens on 17 March, with priority given to families living in the area. A sixth public international school is set to open in Luxembourg City in 2022, with the opening pushed back from 2021 to next year.