"They are not [worth] less than the others"

By Christian BlockLex KlerenMisch Pautsch Switch to German for original article

For around 680 pupils, their secondary school career begins this autumn on the “voie de préparation”, also known as “Préparatoire”. What is their profile and what perspectives do they have? An approach to a poorly considered part of the education system that seems to have lost a little of its stigma.

The sponge is still packed, the walls of the classroom bare and textbooks piled up in the back. Only the A4 sheets of paper with handwritten names lying around on the desks, folded in half, indicate a return of activity. Just a few hours ago, the seventh-grade students were sitting here for the first time, getting to know the school and each other. Some of them were certainly excited. The imposing, spacious foyer of the Lycée Bel-Val, the seemingly endless corridors and the change to a new system in general: everything here is in contrast to the primary school they attended in the years before.

For Philippe Biever, the “rentrée” of the seventh-graders was a positive experience, even if it was difficult to see the others leave after three years. That was in July. “Now a new chapter begins”, says the teacher.

The 41-year-old has always wanted to work with pupils. At first, he tried to study mechanical engineering, but then trained to become a primary school teacher, although he actually prefers to work with teenagers. At some point during his studies, however, he learned that primary school teachers also teach in the “Préparatoire”. So the decision was made: After graduating in 2005 from what was then the Institut Supérieur d'Etudes et de Recherches Pédagogiques (Iserp), he started working in the autumn of the same year in the annexe of the LTE in Esch/Alzette known as “gréng Schoul” (green school) – which acted as a deterrent for entire cohorts of pupils.

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