The national consultation on digital technology for education was launched in January this year and ended 9 March. Students, teachers, education managers, parents, associations and municipal authorities participated widely in the consultation. Over 50 000 questionnaires were completed, and over 150 meetings bringing together more than 10 000 participants were organised to mobilise local players.
Further to the consultation, details of a major plan for digital educational technology (plan numérique pour l'éducation) were presented by French President, François Hollande. EUR 1 billion was set aside for the next three years to guarantee all secondary students attending collège (age 11 to 15) have a tablet or laptop, which will allow them to benefit from innovative learning.
The initial step of the digital education plan is to connect 500 schools and collèges to the Internet in 2015, resulting in over 70 000 pupils and 8 000 teachers having access to digital forms of teaching and learning.
In March, French Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem launched a call for projects to select the pioneering schools and collèges. Consistent with proposals of academies and municipal authorities, the selection committee decided to focus on priority education collèges and integrate many schools to promote school/collège continuity. Some 209 collèges, including 109 in priority education areas, and 337 schools representing the diversity of territories and institutions, were thus selected.
Students and teachers will be provided with mobile devices and digital resources. Teachers will receive special training in digital teaching techniques. Municipal authorities will receive State assistance to enable them to purchase devices.
This initial step of the digital plan will provide valuable insights, helping to pave the way for widespread implementation from school year 2016, and ensure that all students have the best possible opportunities.