France readying education, arts for ‘new normal’

KUWAIT: Pierre Colliot, Counselor for Cooperation and Culture Affairs at the French Embassy. – Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: France is ready to receive new applicants and enrollees in its schools and universities as it sees an end to the coronavirus pandemic soon. “It’s the reality of life for many countries around the world, but we refuse to be affected and are readying our institutes for the ‘new normal’ very soon. Arts and culture are considered the heart of France.

Our life and activities were disrupted, but we can see the light as coronavirus vaccines are being rolled out all over the world,” said Pierre Colliot, Counselor for Cooperation and Culture Affairs at the French Embassy, and the current Director of Francais du Koweit, an institute run by the embassy.

Colliot admitted things will still be slow until the second quarter of next year, but believes life in France in the fields of culture, literature, music, research and education will be back to vibrancy very soon. “Tourism is one of the badly-hit sectors by this pandemic all over the world, but with the vaccines, we can see life returning back. We are still in strict lockdown in some areas, but the government is contemplating opening businesses soon. Once vaccines are rolled out, we will soon be back to a ‘new normal’, and this is the reason why we want to announce that we are now ready to accept students from Kuwait,” he said.

“Some Kuwaiti students are back in France, but we want all of them to come back and are ready to accept new enrollees – our education affairs are ready now,” Colliot added. France has around 200 students from Kuwait studying in the fields of medicines, judiciary and engineering. “I am happy to serve as the counselor for cooperation and culture for France in Kuwait.

Kuwait and France enjoy very close cooperation in the field of education and we want them to know that we are ready to accept their inquiries. If they want to learn French, we have online classes available at our institute. We have the technology – we only need to be ready and reinvent. Soon we will reopen cinemas and museums – probably with a small number of attendees at first, but we can all agree that this is very important in our social life,” he said.

Colliot said his priority is to enhance cooperation in the field of education and culture between France and Kuwait. “My priority is making sure French language is widespread in Kuwait’s schools, and maybe in colleges and universities. Kuwait has taught French since 1966 in the country and we are happy that they are welcoming this language as a foreign language in high schools,” he said.