Students should now be able to choose the school which meets their needs. “We need to stop forcing children into a standardised system”, said the DP education minister Claude Meisch.
The unified system did not respond to the individual’s strengths and weaknesses, and led to many children going abroad, repeating a year or simply not fulfilling their potential. “That is why we want different schools for different students”, said Meisch. The diversity in Luxembourg is so great that this had to be done, he argued.
Every high school is about to come up with a school development plan which it has to submit to the ministry of education.
However, the CSV criticised the plans for two reasons: the problem of multilingualism was not addressed and rural areas would be disadvantaged.
“We have different schools at the Geesseknäppchen. (…) Students have the choice there between the different cherries on the cake. But in Wiltz, the student has to take what the school offers,” said CSV MP Martine Hansen in an interview with public radio 100,7. A fair and comparable offer must be guaranteed for every student.
The CSV, the largest single party in parliament, was in favour of students choosing which section within their local high school they wanted to attend without having to switch or travel far; instead the new law imposed implicitly which school the student would attend. Too much flexibility risked creating a chaotic situation where no one could see the big picture anymore.
Meisch countered that several high school were in planning in several areas of the country to diversify the offer. He said it was an illusion that every high school should offer everything.
On the issue of learning three languages at a very high level, which many students find difficult, not much has changed with this reform. The CSV would have introduced more flexibility by introducing the options of a basic and a high level of languages, both in the lycée technique (technical high school) and classique (university-track high school).
International high schools
Meisch said there were discussions to set up a more international offer in Junglinster, especially a German speaking section for those who have difficulties with the French language, and an English-speaking section, because many Anglophone children attended Luxembourg primary schools, but afterwards went to a private school.
A new high school was planned in Clervaux, which should open its doors in 2018. This high school may also offer a German speaking section. Other international curricula offers are currently being considered.