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Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

France’s newly appointed Minister of Education, Amélie Oudea-Castera, finds herself embroiled in controversy only three days into her tenure. The focal point of the dispute is her decision to enroll her children in a private school, prompting questions about the compatibility of such a choice with her role as the nation’s education minister.

The timing of this revelation has overshadowed President Emmanuel Macron’s cabinet reshuffle, marking an early challenge for the newly formed government.

The controversy ignited last Friday when Minister Oudea-Castera, responding to inquiries about her children’s schooling, justified the decision by expressing frustration with her son’s public school’s failure to adequately replace a teacher on leave. She and her husband, she claimed, sought an alternative solution, leading to the enrollment of their children, including those attending the prestigious Stanislas school, a Catholic institution in Paris.

The situation escalated with a report in Sunday’s Libération newspaper, alleging that the minister’s son spent only one term at the public nursery school Littré, contrary to earlier explanations. The report suggested that the decision to transfer him was rooted in the school’s refusal to promote her son, sparking public outrage and calls for Oudea-Castera’s resignation.

In response, the minister’s office vehemently denied the allegations, urging an end to what they termed “personal attacks” on Oudea-Castera. During an official visit in Paris, the minister herself called for closure on the matter. While the government spokesperson attempted to downplay the controversy, opposition figures, including the French Communist Party, criticized the minister, questioning the credibility of her explanations.

This controversy compounds the challenges facing Minister Oudea-Castera, who has already been under scrutiny since her appointment. As the newly appointed Minister of Education and Sport, she holds a powerful dual portfolio, prompting concerns about her ability to effectively manage two pivotal ministries during a crucial period.

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