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François Allain, BoD President, École Française De Belgrade – The International French School Of Belgrade

Where Happy Children Grow Up

EFB is part of a global AEFE network of 552 international French schools in 138 countries. The curriculum in all these affiliated schools is the public schools in France, which makes it much easier for children to integrate into a new school when their family moves to a different country

The time of borders is slowly coming to an end, with the trend of global citizenship taking over. People are moving around the world more than ever before. EFB aligns with this trend and has been empowering generations to explore the world since it opened in 1951.

You are simultaneously the parent of an attending pupil and the President of the Board of the French School of Belgrade – EFB. Could you please explain this double-role model?

Every parent who has a child attending EFB automatically becomes a member of the Association – like a shareholder. All parents are invited to participate in regular General Assemblies, though attendance is not obligatory. They are invited to vote on certain strategic topics and to decide who will represent them, together with other members, on the Board. The members of the Board work closely with the school management team on a voluntary basis and contribute with their own set of skills and competencies. The model is interesting and flexible: it enables parents to get involved directly in the management of the school if they wish to. ]

You’ve spent more than a decade living in Belgrade. Your spouse is Serbian, and your son speaks both languages. How does EFB fit in?

EFB is a French school, but Serbia is its country of adoption – just as it is mine. It was crucial for my wife and I that our son adopts both traditions as his own. Cultural immersion is an important principle of EFB and Serbian language studies are mandatory. In addition to French and Serbian, kids start learning English from the age of five and another foreign language from the age of 12, so four languages in total! There is also an optional bilingual French-English section, where kids have English lessons and other subjects taught in English every single day. And with more than 30 nations represented at our school, EFB is a truly multicultural environment.

Children can attend EFB from the age of two and a half until the end of high school, which ensures smooth transitions through different stages of education

The EFB slogan is “For a life without borders”. What message are you sending with this statement?

EFB being a part of the global AEFE network ensures an easy integration into a new French school if the the family moves to a different country. Children simply continue their education where it previously stopped, without any exams to determine the grade.

After passing the French Baccalauréat exam at the end of their high school studies, students can apply for any French university, whether public or private, but also universities in the UK, U.S., Canada, or pretty much anywhere around the globe. EFB provides not only education, but also orientation and counselling throughout the high school years, in order for our students to be able to find their spot in the world.

EFB is known as a place where happy children grow up and that’s loved by parents. Why do you think that is?

Children can attend EFB from the age of two and a half until the end of high school, which ensures smooth transitions through different stages of education. On top of that, EFB offers a range of additional services: school lunch, tutoring and help with homework, daycare services and a range of extracurricular sports and artistic classes to choose from for optional afterschool activities. Basically, you can drop your kids off at 8am and pick them up as late as 6pm, and then spend quality time with them, without having to worry about homework or driving them around for activities. From the perspective of a busy parent, this is a great advantage of EFB!

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