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Primary curriculum gets a fresh literary makeover

FRANCE

LEWIS Carroll, Rudyard Kipling and Roald Dahl are among authors set to introduce pupils to literature in a major shake-up of the primary curriculum in France.

While focusing on French, it will also promote modern foreign languages, science and computer skills.

Education minister Jack Lang launched the curriculum which was compiled by teachers, academics, teacher trainers and inspectors.

At least 10 to 12 hours a week will be devoted to the French language, but Mr Lang said it should be placed in a "cultural environment", so literature would be given greater emphasis. It was not enough just to learn the mechanics of reading and writing, he said.

The new curriculum spells out the knowledge and skills that pupils must acquire at each stage during their time at nursery and primary school before they can move on to coll ge (lower secondary).

Notes for "literary and artistic culture" for pupils aged eight and over recommend 150 books including translated works such as Carroll's Alice au pays des merveilles, Dahl's Fantastique Maitre Renard and Kipling's Histoires comme ca.

Plans for other subjects include:

* Four and five-year-olds in their final nursery year will start their first modern language from 2005. The plan is to offer a choice of languages at primary.

* Science and maths - renewed emphasis on mental arithmetic and problem-solving, as well as proficiency in using calculators.

* ICT - new computer and Internet certificate for pupils in their final primary year.

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