Paris started its 2021-22 school year with 6,000 fewer kindergarten and primary school students than last year, as more people work from home as a result of the Covid crisis, say officials.
Families are also fleeing the capital’s soaring property prices to find bigger homes for less money.
The number of Paris schoolchildren has been falling steadily over the past decade, leading to the closure of several schools.
But the five-percent drop this year, to 113,000 students, is two to three times bigger than in previous years.
“We’re seeing both the structural phenomenon of lower natality rates” combined with “the effects of Covid and working from home,” said Patrick Bloche, one of the city’s deputy mayors.
As a result, the net loss has been 20 classes closed across the city this year, leaving an average of 21 children in each kindergarten class and 20 in primary schools — “numbers that other cities would dream of having,” Bloche added.
President Emmanuel Macron has already promised to address the problem of large class sizes that other schools are struggling with.
With many companies expected to make working from home much more widespread even after the Covid crisis is over, more families with children could quit the capital.
Years of rising real estate prices that have put larger apartments out of reach for many. (AFP)