A new private school has just opened in Mont-Saint-Guibert: “School of the Smile”. Its purpose is to welcome students who have dropped out of school. More practice, less theory and partnership with the business world. The establishment is also located in an industrial area. However, the course has its own cost: 10,000 euros per year are paid by the parents.
Disgusted with traditional teaching, students find a different educational approach at the new school in Mont-Saint-Guibert. The establishment is called “School of a smile” (note: school of a smile in French). “If there are any specific subjects that you want to see in mathematics, in the humanities, you also put them, one idea per sticker,” the professor launches to his class. Here, part of the program is imposed so that students can receive a diploma from a central jury. But they can also suggest important points. Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, stocks, rental management: here is an overview of the topics proposed by the students.
“General school education is not for everyone. It’s a pattern, and not everyone fits into the pattern. It was either too slow or the subject was not advanced enough. There were times when I was fourth and I had the impression of repeating the same calculations as per second, which is not normal,” admits Virgil, 18. “I’ve never really liked school. It’s more than dislike, it’s really a dislike of school. It’s like a relief that there is finally another school that offers other things,” explains Theo, 16.
Less theory and more practical experience
Some young people have high intellectual potential. Others suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder. Everyone dropped out of school. “They no longer have the motivation, they no longer have the desire to move forward in the traditional system. Here we offer an approach with less theory and much more practical experience,” notes Gregory De Ho, professor of mathematics and science.
We are just attending one of the practical seminars. “These 10,000, we can’t invest in many things. We can invest in a startup” is an example of a sentence voiced by a student. We guess a subject that is far from the topics considered in traditional schools. In economics, we are already talking about how to invest your money.
Learn with entrepreneurs at work
Another feature: thirteen students share their workspace with companies. “It is important for us to create a school in a coworking space because it allows young people to connect with other entrepreneurs. If you look around you will see that there are entrepreneurs who are working. It is important for us that young people interact,” explains Stefan Biron, professor of economics.
“Obviously, this is different from a normal school. Because in a regular school, I don’t think there are entrepreneurs who regularly come to work in the school offices. We can connect with many people who work in many different fields.” Virgil rejoices.
I was sad to see that it no longer fascinated him.
We are interviewing Julia, the student’s mother. She says she was seduced by the educational project, despite its annual cost of 10,000 euros, which her parents pay. “I was afraid that he would lose his taste for teaching. My parents are teachers. I have always liked to study. And there I was sad to see that he was no longer passionate about it. ” she said.
If the year of study represents a certain cost, the institution does not want to have the image of the school as “daddy’s boy.” “We are not interested. We want students who are actively involved in their learning. Students who know why they come to us. And they need to move to come to us. They have a resume to do. They have an accompanying writing. They have to work to pay for their education,” says Anne-France Pottier, a foreign language teacher and co-founder of the school.
In formal education, a secondary school student costs society almost 8,000 euros. Thus, the stated fee for running this private school is not exaggerated.