Tuesday, September 02, 2008

La rentrée: life back to normal

Today is La rentrée, a big day in France. The medias have been taking about it over a week. It officially marks the end of summer holidays and the first day of the new school year for primary and secondary school students. The influence is substantial: students go back to school, parents go back to work, businesses become robust again, road workers continue the half way done construction works, and the traffic jam! Gone is the day where traffic flows smoothly in most cities except the touristic sites.

The topic of low purchasing power came back as well. Low income families were given subsidies to buy school equipments for their kids. It ranges from 150 euros to 250 euros per kid. I saw on TV that a mother was complaining that the aids of 200 euros were not enough, as her kid asked for Nike sport shoes, branded school accessories and clothes.

La rentrée was never being taken so seriously in my family back in Malaysia. For me, I just wore back the school uniforms passed down by my three sisters, reused the stationary and school bag. School shoes were standard white one for everyone, and I don't remember students tried to wear branded shoes to school. Text books were provided by the government. The only thing I needed to buy were some exercise books, which could be bought from the school bookstore. So, no need to do shopping and spend hundreds just to go back to school. Looking back, due to school uniform, we don't have to compare among each other, and no one is going to laugh at your school uniform, which is why I'm totally pro school uniform system, so that kids can concentrate on learning instead of comparing the material expect with their peers.

Having said that, I don't think the French is going to implement the uniform system. Well, they won't want to follow the British system anyway, even though it might be a good system.

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