"In order for our young people to succeed, we need to invest massively in their education"
The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and the County (Départment) of Seine-Saint-Denis have signed a loan agreement worth 200 million euros to finance multi-annual investments in education. This is the first direct loan the CEB has granted to a local authority in France. INFO met with Stéphane Troussel, President of the county of Seine-Saint-Denis.
INFO: The county of Seine-Saint-Denis is not only the youngest county in France but it is also one of those hardest hit by social and economic difficulties. How is the county facing up to these challenges?
ST: Seine-Saint-Denis is a county of great contrasts faced with significant social and economic problems, but which is bubbling over with initiatives. Already today, Seine-Saint-Denis is the most dynamic area of Greater Paris, and will be all the more so tomorrow with the hosting of the 2024 Olympic Games.
The young people of Seine-Saint-Denis must represent an opportunity, a force and an asset. However, in order for our young people to succeed, we need to invest massively in their education.
And this has been the county’s number one priority for several years now.
INFO: You have launched an ambitious programme for secondary schools "School Development Plan 2020" ("Plan ambition collèges 2020"). What do you aim to achieve through this initiative?
ST: By investing 640 million euros between now and 2020, we intend to provide pupils in Seine-Saint-Denis with the best possible conditions of study. We plan to build 8 new secondary schools and to carry out in-depth renovation work on over 80 others. The other challenge we would also like to highlight is that of digitalisation (ultra-fast broad-band connection, collective and individual new technology and digital equipment), to enable young people to master the new techniques and practices.
INFO: The CEB and the county of Seine-Saint-Denis have signed a loan agreement worth 200 million euros for multi-annual investments in education and families. How would you evaluate this collaboration with the CEB?
ST: Given our budgetary constraints, our collaboration with the CEB has been vital in enabling us to secure funding for our major programme of investments in education and in our nursery facilities.
With the CEB, we have an interlocutor who listens to our needs and who is able to understand the general interest approach underpinning all our investments.
This makes it a quality partnership that we hope to develop and pursue.