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The French government has initiated a scheme to give all 18-year-olds in the country €300 each. The money is to be used on cultural products and activities. The government aims to improve the cultural horizons of young people by giving them easier access to culture. Young people can access the money through an online portal and app. They are only able to make purchases through the app and website, this ensures that the money is only used for its intended purpose. The cultural options available are virtually limitless. Everything from cinema and concert tickets to books, music and video games are available. The idea behind the program is not to limit what the 18-year-olds have access to but to enable them to access whatever they are interested in.

What the teens can purchase was the subject of some debate during the testing phase of the program. Some people in France said that they should not be able to purchase things like cinema tickets for Star Wars. They said that young people will already spend money on Hollywood blockbuster movies and that the money should only be used for things with more cultural value. However, this was decried as cultural elitism with the French culture minister saying there would be “no cultural snobbism … No cultural or artistic offering will be excluded. Every organisation active in the cultural arena will be welcome on the pass – public or private, physical or virtual.” This led to discussions over the so-called “cultural aristocracy” in France, where some cultural things such as blockbuster movies, video games and modern music are seen as lesser than other cultural works such as paintings, books and arthouse movies.

The original test for the program began in 2018. It gave €500 to 18-year-olds in a few select areas around France. The test was deemed a success and the program went nationwide in May 2021. The amount was reduced to €300 instead of the original €500 to give smaller amounts to younger teenagers as well. Students in France will get €25 a year at the ages of 14 and 15 and then €50 per year for their last three years of school. The cultural program for younger teenagers will roll out in 2022. The timing of the pass for 18-year-olds is related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement that the pass would be going live came as lockdown restrictions were coming to an end in France. Most cultural entertainment venues were closed in France from the end of 2020 until May 2021. There’s hope amongst the government that the pass might be able to help cinemas and other venues which are reopening.

Although the cultural options are almost limitless, there are some restrictions designed to support French businesses. For example, film and music streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify are not included but French equivalents such as OCS and Deezer are included. These French services don’t have to be providing French content but the government wants to see French cultural businesses supported. OCS is most known for providing American movies and TV in France. Similarly, foreign movies, TV, books, video games and music can all be purchased through the app but only from French companies. So French stores and websites which sell these products are included but foreign companies such as Amazon are not.

With COVID restrictions beginning to lift in France and everybody 18 and older now eligible for the vaccine, there are certainly a lot of options for 18-year-olds in the country to enjoy the summer.

Difficult words

Horizon (n): The limit of a person’s knowledge, experience or interest.

Portal (n): A website providing access or links to other sites.

Decree (v/n): An official order or decision.

Elitism (n): The belief that one thing is superior to something else.

Snobbism (n): To think oneself is superior to others and look down on things that are different.

Aristocracy (n): The highest class in a society, or a group regarded superior to others.

Arthouse (adj): A part of cinema which specialises in showing films that are artistic or experimental rather than merely entertaining.

Deem (v): To regard or consider something in a specific way.

Equivalent (adj): Being equal in value.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

American English Audio:

Match the Synonym!

1. HorizonA. Decision
2. PortalB. Look down on.
3. DecreeC. Consider
4. ElitismD. Website
5. SnobbismE. Equal
6. AristocracyF. Limit
7. ArthouseG. High society.
8. DeemH. Superior belief.
9. EquivalentI. Artistic film.

True or False?

1. The French Government have decided to give elderly people €300 for culture. T / F

2. The €300 will be deposited into each person’s personal bank account. T / F

3. Video games are included as an approved purchase. T / F

4. Some people believed Hollywood blockbuster films should not be included in the culture pass. T / F

5. The French culture minister said there would be no cultural snobbism with the pass. T / F

6. The culture pass was not trialed before being released. T / F

7. The culture pass was originally €1000. T / F

8. Children ages 14-15 will get some money as well. T / F

9. The timing of the pass is not connected to COVID-19. T / F

10. Websites like Netflix and Spotify are included with the pass. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. initiated / The / French / a / has / government / scheme

2. the / can / some / of / was / subject / debate / teens / purchase / What / the

3. were / venues / in / entertainment / France / Most / cultural / closed

4. have / French services / These / to / be / providing / French content / don’t

5. is / France / movies / OCS / in / known / American / TV / for / most / and / providing

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

American English Audio:

DesignedInitiatedOffering
SupportedNationwideVenues
LimitlessSubjectEligible

The French government has (1)_____________ a scheme to give all 18-year-olds in the country €300 each. The money is to be used on cultural products and activities. The government aims to improve the cultural horizons of young people by giving them easier access to culture. Young people can access the money through an online portal and app. They are only able to make purchases through the app and website, this ensures that the money is only used for its intended purpose. The cultural options available are virtually (2)______________. Everything from cinema and concert tickets to books, music and video games are available. The idea behind the program is not to limit what the 18-year-olds have access to but to enable them to access whatever they are interested in.

What the teens can purchase was the (3)_____________ of some debate during the testing phase of the program. Some people in France said that they should not be able to purchase things like cinema tickets for Star Wars. They said that young people will already spend money on Hollywood blockbuster movies and that the money should only be used for things with more cultural value. However, this was decried as cultural elitism with the French culture minister saying there would be “no cultural snobbism … No cultural or artistic (4)____________ will be excluded. Every organisation active in the cultural arena will be welcome on the pass – public or private, physical or virtual.” This led to discussions over the so-called “cultural aristocracy” in France, where some cultural things such as blockbuster movies, video games and modern music are seen as lesser than other cultural works such as paintings, books and arthouse movies.

The original test for the program began in 2018. It gave €500 to 18-year-olds in a few select areas around France. The test was deemed a success and the program went (5)_______________ in May 2021. The amount was reduced to €300 instead of the original €500 to give smaller amounts to younger teenagers as well. Students in France will get €25 a year at the ages of 14 and 15 and then €50 per year for their last three years of school. The cultural program for younger teenagers will roll out in 2022. The timing of the pass for 18-year-olds is related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement that the pass would be going live came as lockdown restrictions were coming to an end in France. Most cultural entertainment (6)___________ were closed in France from the end of 2020 until May 2021. There’s hope amongst the government that the pass might be able to help cinemas and other venues which are reopening.

Although the cultural options are almost limitless, there are some restrictions (7)_____________ to support French businesses. For example, film and music streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify are not included but French equivalents such as OCS and Deezer are included. These French services don’t have to be providing French content but the government wants to see French cultural businesses (8)______________. OCS is most known for providing American movies and TV in France. Similarly, foreign movies, TV, books, video games and music can all be purchased through the app but only from French companies. So French stores and websites which sell these products are included but foreign companies such as Amazon are not.

With COVID restrictions beginning to lift in France and everybody 18 and older now (9)____________ for the vaccine, there are certainly a lot of options for 18-year-olds in the country to enjoy the summer.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. How important is experiencing culture for young people?
5. What do you think of the French government giving young people this money?
6. Does your country have any programs like this?
7. What would you do with the money if you were 18?
8. Do you think different types of culture are more important than others?
9. What’s your favourite cultural thing?
10. Should movies like Star Wars be allowed on the app?
11. How much value do you think this money provides to young people?
12. Should money be given to more than just 18-year-olds and younger?
13. Is it expensive to experience different cultural activities in your country?
14. Do people have time to experience their favourite cultural activities in your country?
15. What do you think about only French businesses being included in the pass?
16. Do teenagers in your country engage in the culture?
17. Is modern music and film as culturally important as works of the past?
18. Do people in your country have the same elitist opinions about culture as in France?
19. How culturally important do you think video games are?
20. Are there any other ways to get young people interested in culture?