Elementary School building of Lycée français de Pondichéry inaugurated

The new Elementary School building constructed within the existing heritage Lycée Français de Pondichéry compound was inaugurated yesterday.

Pondichéry, 11 April 2018

The Director of AEFE (Agency for French Education Abroad), Mr. Christophe BOUCHARD and H.E. Mr Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India inaugurated yesterday the new Elementary School building of Lycée français de Pondichéry in the presence of the Cultural Counsellor, Embassy of France New Delhi, Dr. Bertrand DE HARTINGH, the Consul General of France in Pondicherry and Chennai, Mrs Catherine SUARD and the proviseur of the Lycée Français, Mr Stéphan MADRIAS.

The new Elementary School building has been constructed within the existing heritage Lycée Français de Pondichéry compound located at 12, Victor Simonel Street, Pondicherry 605001.

Speech by Ambassador of France to India, H.E. Mr Alexandre Ziegler

(Check against delivery)

Hon’ble Chief Minister, Shri V. Narayanasamy,
Hon’ble Minister of Education (and Agriculture), Shri R. Kamalakannan,
Hon’ble Minister for Public Works, Shri A. Namassivayam,
Hon’ble Minister for Tourism (and Health), Shri Malladi Krishna Rao,
Hon’ble Minister for Welfare, Shri M. Kandasamy,
Hon’ble Minister for Revenue, Shri M.O.H.F. Shahjahan,
Dear Chief Secretary, Shri Ashwani Kumar,

Distinguished Guests, chers tous,

It is always a real pleasure for me to come – even if it is for a few hours, like today – to Puducherry, the place symbolizing the very special relations that unite France and India.

Exactly a month ago, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron – who, by the way, has well heard our messages to come to Puducherry next time – stated that this history that nurtures our relations should today be expressed through people-to-people ties, and termed this aspect of our bilateral relations as – and I quote – “that of sharing”.

It is this desire for strengthened cooperation, shared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, based on people-to-people ties that has led to the signing of two very important agreements for all our us gathered here today at the Lycée français de Pondichéry :

  • a Bilateral Agreement for Partnership on Migration and Mobility, which will facilitate the mobility of students and professionals between France and India by simplifying the conditions governing entry and long-term stay in these two countries;
  • an Agreement on the mutual recognition of degrees, which will facilitate the pursuit of higher education of French students in India and Indian students in France, as well as boosting their employability.

As you would have understood, these two Agreements have paved the way to multiplying exchanges, especially student exchanges, with the target of 10,000 Indian students in France by 2020, which was recently reaffirmed by President Emmanuel Macron.

And if I am stressing on how important these Agreements are for all of us here at Lycée Français de Pondichéry, it is because to fuel these future flows, these forthcoming exchanges, we must have breeding grounds of well-educated students proficient in both French and English, familiar with both cultures, and open to the world.

And what better breeding grounds in India than that of our Lycée Français in Delhi, and here in Puducherry? Both belong to this global network of 500 institutions and 350,000 students, helmed by you, Mr Bouchard, in your capacity as the Director of the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE –l’Agence pour l’enseignement français à l’étranger).

The Lycée français de Pondichéry in particular, an institution under the direct management of AEFE, owes a great deal to you; that’s why, on behalf of everyone present here, I thank you for the significant funds granted for the construction of this new building, and more generally, for your unwavering support to one of the most emblematic French institutions of South Asia.

The relocation of the primary section to the main building of the Lycée français de Pondichéry enables the school to offer students optimal conditions for learning and strengthens the presence of the Lycée français steeped in heritage at the heart of the historic city, thus contributing to enhancing Puducherry’s attractiveness in the region as well as India. I know that our friends from the Smart City team present here will not contradict me: education must be imparted at the heart of smart cities and French education is a mark of excellence.

This inauguration is also an opportunity for the Lycée français de Pondichéry to be geared to the future and better fulfil the aspirations of our cooperation as expressed by the President, by drawing up a 2018-2023 development plan.

I warmly thank the headmaster of the Lycée, Mr Stéphane Madrias for devoting his efforts towards realizing this plan, which essentially aims at:

  • reinforcing all students’ mastery over the French language and culture, with the development of the tools for learning French as a foreign language as well as French as the medium of instruction;
  • improving in parallel the courses offered for modern languages, notably with an international British Section being opened from the very next school term from the elementary school level;
  • developing partnerships with schools of excellence in India and French companies established in south India so as to expand the student induction base;
  • forge tripartite French lycée-university-corporate partnerships so as to further increase student mobility towards France and enhance their employability in both France and India.

In this regard, I am particularly delighted about two initiatives:

  • thanks to the AEFE’s support, a boarding school will open its doors in the upcoming school term and become a real space for welcoming students and provide an additional teaching tool; and
  • the Lycée français Education Trust , which will also be fully operational with effect from the next school term as well, and enable French and Indian companies to support the institution in making its projects a reality.

As you would have understood, dear friends, with the inauguration of this new building, the 2018-2023 plan, the new apparatus of the boarding school and the Trust, we are today marking a decisive step in the development of the Lycée français de Pondichéry to serve Indo-French relations and ambitions that our highest authorities have fixed.

To all those who are contributing to this, especially the directors of the Lycée and the AEFE, we are deeply grateful.

Last modified on 12/04/2018

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