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Budget bonanza

FRANCE

WITH less than two years to go before presidential and general elections, the government last week unveiled an education budget for next year that will create thousands of jobs in schools.

The new education budget amounts to nearly a quarter of total state spending. It is 10 billion francs (pound;916 million) higher than this year's - a rise of just over 2.75 per cent compared with 1 per cent for the state budget as a whole.

Jack Lang, the education minister, said 12,838 new posts for teachers, student teachers, foreign language assistants, support staff, inspectors and school health workers would be created.

This wasthe biggest increase in new jobs for teachers since 1990, when Lionel Jospin - now prime minister - was education minister, he said.

At primary level, the new budget will create 800 teaching posts and provision for 4,125 more student teachers. There will be 1,900 new secondary teachers. In addition, 700 language assistants' posts will be created and 3,000 existing supply teachers' jobs made permanent.

"For the first time," said Lang, "the fall in the number of pupils in school, which is linked to demographic factors, will not result in stagnation or a drop in the number of staff, but instead in a considerable advance."

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