France Plans Civility Lessons And ‘Day of Secularity’

  • French schoolchildren are to be given lessons in national symbols including the tricolour and the Marseillaise in an attempt to combat the spread of religious fundamentalism.
  • The government announced new measures including a “day of secularity” after concerns were raised that some children  notably those from migrant populations  were failing to understand the “values of the republic”.
  • This month teachers complained that some pupils refused to keep a minute’s silence in respect for the 17 victims of three terrorist attacks two weeks ago.
  • Some schools also reported that a number of Muslim students rejected the Je suis Charliemovement after the Charlie Hebdo attack
  • They said that the satirical magazine’s drawings of the Prophet Mohammed had insulted their religion.
  • Teachers are to be given training in transmitting republican values in an effort to stop young people dropping out of education and falling prey to extremists.
  • Pupils will be given “civic and moral lessons”  including in civility and politeness as well as “media instruction” as part of the scheme costing €250 million (£190 million) in the next three years. National “secularity day” will be on 9 December.
  • Gunmen Said and Cherif Kouachi were the French children of Algerian immigrant parents, while Amedy Coulibaly was born in France to parents from Mali.
  • French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, said the failure to integrate large populations from North Africa and elsewhere had led to a kind of “social and ethnic apartheid” in France.
  • Mr. Valls’ description has shocked France, where it is illegal to collect or collate information based on ethnic or religious background.