800,000 euros of books for high school students from the start of the school year

800,000 euros of books for high school students from the start of the school year
800,000 euros of books for high school students from the start of the school year

“LPeople who read are less stupid than others, it’s a given (…) People who read are more open, more captivating, better equipped in life than people who disdain books.wrote Bernard Pivot in Read ! published in 2018. A quote borrowed yesterday by Virginie Pfeifer, present at the Pierre-Lagourgue high school, in Le Tampon. The inspector from the Réunion academy used this extract to defend the place of reading among young people in particular, targeted by the regional system One book, one term.
This community operation has been tested since December in the Buffet establishment, with a first class of professional security professions baccalaureate. Students who had the system explained to them directly by the regional president, Huguette Bello, traveling to the south for the occasion. With her, Céline Sitouze, her vice-president responsible for education and project leader. “Each high school student receives one free book per term that they choose from among 600 works, novels, thrillers, manga, comics… The student registers online and chooses their book. The high school then places an order with the Region and its service provider Finally, in September, January and April, the establishments will be delivered.she elaborates.
A system which will be implemented in around fifty general and professional high schools on the island from the next school year. That is more than 41,000 students concerned for 125,000 books ordered per year. All this, for an annual budget of 800,000 euros. “A child from a single-parent family or on RSA must not be left behind because there are financial difficulties. Their future must not be constrained by money, supports Huguette Bello, emphasizing that Buying a book is not trivial for every family’s wallet. Especially in the professional sector, as in this class, the budget can go up to 500 euros or even 700 euros per year in the hotel industry, with the purchase of uniform, equipment, etc.” Faced with such expenses, books sometimes fall by the wayside, especially when they are not at the heart of adolescents’ desires.


It is obvious that the Region does not finance without educational interest. “16-19 year olds spend 5h10 of their day in front of a screen, which is 10 times more than in front of a book, quotes the academic inspector again, referring to a study. Offering them a book is a tool for cultural promotion but also for language. A third of students arriving in sixth grade have an insufficient level of French and a good number continue their difficulties until high school.” An observation that the community, engaged in the fight against illiteracy, would like to see obsolete.
“The book allows 1,000 lives to be lived. It engraves history. It opens onto the world. It is our culture, and from time immemorial. It is also a refuge to recharge our batteries in the face of the stress of daily life. It gives us It makes us feel things, I’ve already cried while reading.”promotes Huguette Bello, with the desire to see young people build up a literary background.
The device is already convincing the tampon guinea pigs, despite an initial disenchantment with reading. Some said they didn’t like reading before being tempted by The promise of dawn by Romain Gary or by the collection of poems The evil flowers by Baudelaire. “It’s a change from the telephone, it’s a plus in our life. Some books also concern us directly, others remind us of the values ​​of France and the history of Reunion Island”, considers Tristan, 17 years old. Other comrades see their imagination opening up.
The Region hopes that these three books offered per year will obviously be read by their owners, but not only that. “Share and talk about it with your parents, your brothers and sisters, your friends”, encourages Céline Sitouze, who dreams of creating a real enthusiasm for reading among Reunion high school students. To your books then!

Léa Delaplace

And why not e-readers?
Elected officials and inspectors criticized the excessive use of screens and cell phones, objects very popular with young people. However, they read on their screens every day. “The brain needs the book object. It keeps it away from the overload of screens on which notifications don’t stop. Reading requires concentration. And then, there’s also the fatigue caused by a screen compared to a bookdefends Virginie Pfeifer, the academic inspector. “Reading on a screen is informative only”, corroborates Céline Sitouze, the regional vice-president. “It is not on a screen that we read a classic work and discover literature”, adds Huguette Bello in turn. Faced with the undeniable appeal of screens among high school students, the Region has however chosen to exclude e-readers from its system. And this, even if they are between the telephone and the book, despite its environmental impact. “E-readers are not more ecological, since they consume energy. However, we work well with intercommunal authorities to offer free books on computers thanks to library networks”, indicates Céline Sitouze. E-books which would become accessible from laptops made available to 16,000 high school students by the Region as part of the Numérisac program.

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