Education

Dispatches

October 01, 2002 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

FRANCE

Mon Dieu!: In France, students who insult their teachers may receive up to six months in prison and heavy fines because of a new law that aims to re- establish respect for authority figures, reports the Times of London. Opponents of the legislation, which applies to kids as young as 13, have denounced it as an attack on existing rules that protect minors. However, supporters, including President Jacques Chirac, argue that punishing young people for petty offenses, such as incivility, will deter them from committing serious crimes later on.


SAUDI ARABIA

English Patience: Fervent protests have forced the Saudi education ministry to reconsider the introduction of English instruction in its primary schools. Saudi students learn English at the secondary level, but, following September 11, 2001, when Western officials accused the Saudi education system of breeding extremism, the government decided to include English in earlier grades. This caused an outcry from hard-line Muslim activists, who claim that teaching English to young Saudis would endanger Islamic culture and identity, the Agence France-Presse reports. In August, with hundreds of newly hired primary school English teachers in place for the upcoming academic year, the Saudi Cabinet postponed the program indefinitely, stating that it needs “further deliberate and deep studies.”


SOUTH AFRICA

Fighting Chance: Reading and math aren’t the only lessons South African students will learn in school this year—they’ll also study how to defend themselves. As part of a national child-abuse-prevention campaign recently launched by the department of education, female students and boys under the age of 10 are being trained in techniques such as the twist-and-jerk method of escaping an attacker’s grip. These self-defense methods are “innately nonviolent,” Education Minister Kader Asmal tells the Daily Mail & Guardian‘s magazine for teachers. “We are opposed to violence and would therefore not teach our children to protect themselves through violence.”


THAILAND

Answered Prayer: Schools in Thailand have found an enlightened answer to the country’s teacher shortage: bringing Buddhist monks into the classroom. The government’s Phra Chuay Sorn (Monks Helping Teachers) project has trained and placed monks in 120 schools in Nonthaburi province over the past year and may be expanded. The saffron-robed supplicants, who tend to have a basic education, lead classes in subjects they feel qualified to teach, including religion and language. In the meantime, the government is seeking a long-term fix to the shortage by investing in distance-learning programs and a massive recruitment effort. “Monks helping teachers is a short-term solution,” Maharawee, a monk involved in the program, tells the Nation. “Buddhist principles teach us to solve problems at their root.”

—Sarah Wassner

Events

School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 15, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 8, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 1, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 11, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read