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Opera to help hit high notes


THE government hopes pupils will take an interest in English, opera or the Internet as part of its policy to raise educational standards and help failing pupils.

In the past two weeks education minister Jack Lang has launched two new councils - one to support innovatory projects geared

to increasing school success, and the other to improve the assessment of the education system itself.

The National Council of Innovation for Success at School comprises 40 educationists, teachers, elected representatives and parents, and is headed by Anne-Marie Vaille, former head of a lower secondary school in the Paris suburbs.

Examples of the type of projects the council will be backing include the promotion of sporting excellence at a sports study centre in Antibes; learning languages through poetry ata Paris school, and opera studies for lower-secondary pupils in a deprived area of Rouen. Also on the list are using the Internet to learn Russian at a Limoges lycee; or creating a virtual village and communicating with its imaginary inhabitants at schools in Herouville-Saint-Clair.

One of the innovation council members, Claude Thelot, has a double role; last week he took over as chairman of Mr Lang's second new body, the independent National School Evaluation Council. As well as educational experts its 35 members represent parents, teaching unions and students.

The council's job will be to assess how education is evaluated, from nursery to university level, to spot neglected areas and to make recommendations for improvement. It will work from the education ministry and commission its own research.

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