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Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean

Education in Martinique: The Price of Cultural Confusion

Publication Date: 
June 1998

This article is concerned with the viability of current educational provision in the overseas French departement of Martinique. It contains a critical examination of the French educational system and its implementation overseas. It seeks to illuminate in this context the relationship between educational provision, culturally meaningful learning, and socio-economic participation. 
A brief presentation of the social and historical context, and an introduction to the French educational system, are made. The essential distinguishing features of these which emerge are centralisation, colonialism and cultural assimilation. The application of such features to the situation in Martinique is discussed, and problematic educational dynamics are identified as a result. In Martinique, thus, identifiable concerns include the question of language, political idiosyncrasies, the colonial legacy and attendant identities, drop-outs and school leavers, poor educational performance, the problem ofredoublement, and cultural unsuitability. 

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