EMMANUEL Macron will reduce the compulsory school age to three-years-old in a bid to stop the spread of terror. The French President said schooling from a younger age would better integrate youngsters into society, avoiding alienation and the risk of radicalisation.
Families in poorer areas of France and in overseas territories are less likely to enrol their children in nursery, instead waiting until the current compulsory age of six.
Speaking after a terror attack in Trebes on Friday, which saw Moroccan-born Radouane Lakdim kill policeman Lt. Col.
Arnaud Beltrame after taking hostages in a supermarket, Mr Macron said: “It is by building schools where children are taught about kindness and are able to thrive that we will build a new generation that will have its place in society, and that will no longer give in to murderous impulses – impulses some are drawn to because they feel as though they have no future in France.
“We will eradicate these murderous impulses from society … to prevent the worst from happening.”
The new starting age, which is to be enforced in September 2019, will only affect a small number of children, as most French families already send their children to pre-school at the age of three.
Only 2.4 per cent of children are unschooled at that age, according to government figures.
Brushing off the criticism, the 40-year-old head of state said his opponents only wanted to treat the “symptoms” of Islamic extremism.
He said: “Each time an attack strikes the heart of our nation, some rip society further apart by wanting to treat the symptoms – and not the causes – of homegrown terrorism. Education is the one thing that will enable us to fight terrorism at its roots.
“I am not saying that schools should bear the burden of fighting terrorism and social injustice alone, but they can do a lot to help the next generation.”
Hardline conservatives including far-right chief Marine Le Pen and Laurent Wauquiez, the head of the right-wing Les Républicains party, have accused the centrist government of being both “naïve” and “irresponsible” in its response to homegrown terrorism after it was found that Mr Lakdim had been able to plot an attack despite being under close surveillance for his radicalism and links to the hardline Salafi movement.
H/t reader kevin a.
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