The new French Minister of Education is being criticized for lying about enrolling his children in a private school

The new French Minister of Education is being criticized for lying about enrolling his children in a private school

French Education Minister Amelie O'Dea Castera allegedly lied about why her children went to private school.Getty Image

The 45-year-old former professional tennis player and businesswoman was promoted on Thursday from Sports Minister to Minister of Education and Sports, as part of a reshuffle in the French government. Almost immediately, journalists noticed that her three children were studying at Collège Stanislas, a prestigious private school located in one of the best neighborhoods in Paris. Alumni include Albert I, Prince of Monaco, and Charles de Gaulle.

While Odia Castera takes responsibility for public education in her new position. When asked about this choice, she stated that there was a significant teacher shortage at the public school her oldest son initially attended. “The hours lost have not been seriously compensated,” Odea Castera said. “At some point we got frustrated, like thousands of other parents who chose a different solution,” she said of the choice she and her husband, an executive at pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, made.

Education unions have reacted angrily to the newly appointed minister's criticism of the French school system. AOC quickly said she was sorry and hoped the teachers would not be offended.

Stay in public school

But that wasn't the end of it. Newspaper launch I spoke to, among others, a primary school teacher whose eldest son was in the class at the public school when he left for private school. According to him, the minister left with her son because he had to repeat a year in public school, which she did not agree to. The teacher says he was not gone for long when the minister's son was in his class.

According to the school, there have been no cancellations of classes due to a shortage of teachers. The story is corroborated by a well-known journalist from French radio RMC, whose children were educated at the same school during the same period, some fifteen years ago.

The head of the largest teachers' union told AFP on Monday, “All teachers felt hurt and insulted. There is great anger in the profession.” Many opposition parties are demanding the resignation of Odia Castera.

Ministerial reshuffle in the French government

The minister does not seem ready for this. She denied these reports during her visit to the Olympic Village launch, Which she described as a “personal attack.” I do not wish to comment further on this private matter. “We need to close this chapter.”

Odea Castera owes her promotion to a reshuffle in the French government. According to President Emmanuel Macron, this was necessary after the atmosphere in the Cabinet worsened. Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne resigned and was succeeded by Education Minister Gabriel Attal. This left a place available for Oudéa-Castéra.

The controversy surrounding the new Minister of Education, a few days after the cabinet reshuffle, represents a painful blow to Macron and his government. The cabinet reshuffle was specifically intended to become more decisive and be able to implement some important decisions before the French elections in June.

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