After years of hard work, high school students are ‘paid’ with the bac. It is an intense moment of waiting to get the results or ‘mentions’, but this year, the wait for the 150 mentions taken at the end of the baccalaureate exams was longer than usual. “From my memory as a headmaster, I have never known such a long wait,” says Pierre Cellario, headmaster of the Albert 1er high school for the last six years. If the bac results were like fine wine, the results of the 2017 ‘vintage,’ unveiled on Tuesday 12 July, are the result of the previous two ‘crus’. This year’s overall success rate for all series combined was 98.6% after the catch-up sessions, a 1.4 percent drop compared to the last two years, when the success rate reached 100%. “Out of 420 registered students, we had only three who failed. It’s a tremendous achievement and we value our work,” said Isabelle Bonnal, Director of National Education.
Seventy-six “Très bien”
This year’s results showed a meritorious achievement of the baccalauréat holders, with 76 “Trés bien”, or ‘very good’ mentions against 69 last year. The same is true of the number of “Assez bien”, or ‘fairly good’ entries by Monaco youth: 19 more than in 2016, at 158 versus 139 respectively. While the general bac boasts an impressive 98.8% success rate, the technology sectors showed figures to make the French lycées green with envy: 98.6% of students passed their exams at lycée Albert 1er; and at lycée technologique et hôtelier de Monaco, the technology track celebrates the first zero failure, with a 100% success rate and the hôtelier track with a 94.4% success rate. Fifty mentions were given, including two “Tres bien” to students from STMG (Science and Management and Management Technologies). Eleven of the twelve candidates enrolled in the hôtelier school passed the exam without going through the dreaded round of catch-up orals.
“Families are begging us to open registration for their children,” Isabelle Bonnal said. “This is a sign of excellence for our faculty.”
Q & A with Isabelle Bonnal, Director of National Education
What can you draw from the results?
We are completely satisfied with our high school students, in whatever field. In addition to the general category, which achieved nearly 100% success (with only three failures out of 420) and seven more “Très bien” mentions than in 2016, the professional sectors posted exceptional results. This is proof, if need be, that we are making every effort to optimize the success of all young people, without showing any favouritism.
You seem irritated by the criticisms of pupils and parents who accuse you of practicing a “selective admittance.”
Criticism is easy but art is difficult. There is no shame in leaving an educational path. But it is better to leave secondary school with a vocational baccalauréat than to obtain a general bac and no longer pursue studying. Since my arrival in 2011, we have been applying pedagogical methods so as not to leave anyone by the wayside. Look, every high school student who suffers from a scholastic phobia receives personalized support for an indefinite period after their courses. We also provide supervisors for the disabled and support for young people with dyslexia. The financial support of the government and the steadfast support of Patrice Cellario [government advisor and Minister of the Interior] allows my team to provide this unique support for our students.
Anything new for September?
We will open the philosophy courses of the professional sectors from the beginning of the ‘rentrée.’ Moreover, the Rencontres philosophiques de Monaco, chaired by Charlotte Casiraghi, will return this year. I advocate for more diversity within our institutions by encouraging the presence of young people from families living in neighbouring cities. For it is the key to the future success of a young person with a good head on their shoulders. It is not enough to simply register in Monaco to obtain the bac.