Private education: the Court of Auditors points the finger at the lack of state controls

They are 7,500 private schools under contract, which accommodate two million students and to which the State pays 8 billion euros each year. And yet, in a report published this Thursday, June 1 on private education under contract, in the midst of a debate on social diversity at school, the Court of Auditors notes that very few checks are carried out.

“The financial control of private establishments under contract, which is the responsibility of the departmental and regional directorates of public finances (DDFiP and DRFiP), is not implemented, write their authors. The pedagogical control, carried out by the academy inspectors-regional pedagogical inspectors (IA-IPR), is exercised in a minimalist manner. Administrative control, which is the responsibility of the General Inspectorate for Education, Sport and Research (IGÉSR) and the rectors, is only mobilized on an ad hoc basis when a problem is reported. »

It appeared to the auditors that “rare are the establishments having indicated that they sent their accounts to the departmental or regional director of public finances within three months of the end of the financial year”, in accordance with the law. On the other hand, “the regional directors of public finances contacted as part of the investigation (Hauts-de-France, Pays de Loire and Brittany) indicated that their services did not carry out these checks”, specifies the report.

“The monitoring of contracts is not very rigorous”

A surprising finding when we know that these controls are required by law. Since the Debré law of 1959, private establishments have entered into a contract with the State which commits them to teaching the programs defined by the Ministry of National Education and to welcoming all pupils without discrimination. “The monitoring of contracts is not very rigorous,” says the report. Some rectorates do not have these documents on the basis of which substantial sums are nevertheless paid”.

These amounts are essentially used to pay the 142,000 teachers who teach in private establishments. But also to pay their management, school life, administration and health staff, via what is called the externship package, and which was topped up by the State to the tune of 686 million euros in 2022. This public money represents 55% of the financing of private nursery and elementary schools and 68% of that of colleges and high schools.

According to the Court, these checks would, for example, make it possible to ensure that a teacher does not teach during his service time to pupils who are educated in a cl outside the contract. Or that the teaching hours paid to school heads are well done.

“There is clearly a lack of state services”

To explain these non-controls, the Court of Auditors mentions, as an aside, the lack of resources. “There is clearly a lack of state services, supports a magistrate. These checks on private education are therefore not a priority. »

However, for the Council of State: “This non-application of the texts is not admissible and must be corrected as soon as possible”.

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