Other European countries are thought to have approached the move to technology in the classroom better than France ; a perception which could lead to greater efforts in this area.

French citizens have got the impression that France has assimilated new technology into its education system rather poorly. This claim is made by Syntec Numérique, an association of computer and IT companies in France. The association’s conclusion is based on a survey among a representative sample of nearly 4,000 Europeans (Germans, Spanish, French, British and Italians) aged from 15 to 65, plus around a hundred French software publishers. It’s well known that people have always tended to be more pessimistic about their own country than their neighbours, but this tendency is much stronger in France than in the other countries surveyed.

French people regard their own educational system as inefficient

So we see that 74% of non-French people surveyed believe that the French have integrated new technology into their education system quite well. This figure puts France third behind Germany - at 83%, and Italy - at 78%. However, only 50% of French people share this opinion, showing the biggest gap between the views of those outside the country and those within it. Bruno Vanryb, who chairs Syntec Numérique’s Software Publishers Committee, says that "given that education is the top government budget item, this amounts to a clear failure". He adds: "This negative view only reinforces the feeling that there is a major disconnect between our education system and the real economy".

A wake-up call which should lead to changes

However, Vanryb gives another angle on the subject, pointing out that this awareness among French people could serve as a serious wake-up call. It could well open the way to educational reforms, with the strong backing of public opinion. In his view, such reforms are the only way France will be able to repair its education system and turn it into one that is as effective - or at least as respected - as Germany’s setup.  Germany’s educational system is judged by 45% of those surveyed to be the best in Europe, far ahead of Britain (28%) and France (7%).