Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: le Point

Setting education free from the bureaucracy

It was the practice at one time to teach swimming by getting the learner to lie belly down on a footstool and practice moving his hands and feet in the way that would propel him through the water. That’s not done anymore, for the simple and obvious reason that it really didn’t work.

After making billions in the internet and cell phone business, French entrepreneur Xavier Niel decided a few years ago to open a school for anyone wanting to learn computer coding. The entrance requirements for the school are that one needs to be 18 to 30 years old and able to pass an online logic test. There is one more requirement: you have to be willing to work really hard.

The school is called 42, it has no tuition and no instructors; the students are just dumped in the pool and told to swim. For the first 30 days, students are required to work at the school 15 hours a day. Those who stick it out will learn as much in those 30 days as they would in a two-year university course. Then the real education begins.

In order to earn a diploma, the student must complete 21 levels of training. It is collaborative learning with peer-to-peer correcting and each one working at their own pace. Some might finish in two years, others may take longer, it doesn’t matter.
How effective is it? A study last year tested13,000 graduates in computer programming, or software engineering, from 700 universities worldwide. The graduates from 42 topped all the others.

Much of this information comes from an article in the French news magazine le Point, written by Idriss Aberkane. M. Aberkane then goes on to ask if the whole educational system wouldn’t benefit from being remade according to the 42 model.

There is an obstacle though: the educational bureaucracy. To quote M. Aberkane, “You know that the bureaucratic state has been reached in an organisation when the procedure is more important than the result.” If that is true of the public education system in France, it is doubly true in Canada.

Good-bye Coke Zero, hello Dr Pepper.

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I read today in the online version of Le Point, a French newsmagazine, that yet another study has established a link between diet pop and increased belly fat along with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Apparently, pop with real sugar is better for your health.

I think I have discovered why I like Dr Pepper. They aren’t saying what 23 flavours are used to create its unique taste, but the consensus seems to be that amaretto is number one. Amaretto is derived from apricot pits, among other things, and has a taste somewhat like almond, yet different. My absolute favourite form of coffee is cappuccino with a shot of amaretto syrup, so I’m getting something akin to that in Dr Pepper.

Also in Le Point, I read that Robert Marchand just rode his bicycle around a velodrome for an hour, travelling a total of 22.5 km. Monsieur Marchand is 105 years old. When he was 81 he biked from Paris to Moscow.

I did 15 minutes on my rebounder today. I hope that counts for something.

France this week

Today is the release date in France of a new novel by Michel Houllebecq entitled “Soumission” (Submission). In the book, the French presidential election of 2022 pits the candidate of a new Muslim political party against the candidate of the Front National. The Muslim candidate wins, then goes on to transform the public schools into Islamic schools, bans women in the workplace and promotes polygamy. This improbable scenario is an attempt to capitalize on current fears and the book had a massive first printing.

Le Point, a weekly news magazine, has just published a special edition this month which promises to tell the real story of the personal  life of Mohamed.

This week, the front page of Charlie Hebdo, a weekly satirical newspaper, carried the headline “Still no attacks in France.”  Beneath it was a cartoon of a jihadist saying “Just wait – we have until the end of January to present our New Year’s resolutions.”

Today, two men forced their way into an editorial meeting of Charlie Hebdo with Kalashnikovs and gunned down all those gathered there. Ten are dead, eleven more are in hospital. Two policemen are also dead. Other than shouting “Allahu Akbar!” they spoke impeccable French. They made their escape, but last reports say the driver of their car is now in custody.

What are we to make of all this?

First, it would appear that the Anglo-saxon malady of political correctness has not yet infected the French.

Secondly, the editors of Charlie Hebdo are on record as stating that humour and religion are incompatible. Islamists are in complete agreement with this, but their method of making their point is much more brutal.

Thirdly, those who found Charlie Hebdo’s brand of humour to be distasteful could simply ignore it. No one was compelled to buy it or read it. Radical Islamists do not want anyone to have freedom of choice.

Fourthly, as Christians we should mourn the deaths of fellow human beings, whether we agree with their philosophy or not. We should also mourn the twisted minds of those who believe they are doing service to God by killing others.

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