Accounts will be set up for two classes in each school, each containing around $3,000 apiece. If the students maintain good attendance records and reach performance targets agreed upon with their teachers, reward payments will be added to their class account. But here’s the catch: the students can’t go and spend the money on a new iPod or an Xbox at the end of the year. Each account, which could reach a maximum of $15,000, can only be used to finance a school-related project or endeavor, such as a class trip abroad to improve foreign-language skills, computer equipment for the classroom or driving lessons to obtain a license. Still, not a bad deal. (See pictures inside a boarding school.)

The government’s objective is simple: increase student motivation and class attendance and reduce the number of French teenagers who leave school without earning a diploma or professional training certificate, roughly 120,000 to 150,000 each year.