Social mix at school: non-binding commitments for private education

After months of discussion and an announcement repeatedly postponed, the Ministry of National Education and those responsible for Catholic education signed a memorandum of understanding on social and school diversity, this Wednesday evening.

The right had expressed its anger at the means of pressure envisaged by the Minister of Education, Pap Ndiaye, for more diversity in private establishments. The executive finally decided to temporize, after a first sign in this direction last week about co-education in public education.

“Sensitize” communities

Concerning private Catholic education establishments, the “action plan” provides for a shared information base between public and private, considering that the lack of diversity may be “in particular due to self-censorship of the least privileged families” and that they need to be better informed about prices and possible reductions.

“The main obstacle” for the less privileged families to go more towards the private sector is “economic”, underlines the protocol which undertakes to “raise awareness among local authorities” so that they, for example, give aid to the school canteen. , as they do for public establishments.

For its part, Catholic education undertakes to “encourage” establishments to adjust their prices according to the parents’ income. “The number of establishments offering modulated contributions will increase, at least, by 50% in five years”, provides for the protocol. This is one of the few quantified commitments that appears in the document.

More scholarship students

The other objective concerns the share of scholarship students, which Catholic education also undertakes to “increase” in order to “double the rate of scholarship students in five years, in establishments where families benefit from equal social istance to those from which they benefit when they enroll their child in a corresponding public establishment”.

The increase in the number of scholarship holders in private education will therefore be subject to the goodwill of local authorities who will grant, or not, social istance to put the canteen at the same price level as in public education, for example.

To promote “educational diversity”, in other words the diversity of levels of students in cles, National Education and Catholic education still claim to want to “strengthen the reception of students” with special needs, with disabilities or in great difficulty, whereas these two devices are now mainly used in public education.

Discussions, but no constraints

Discussions must be opened to examine as a priority the new establishments of private education “in sectors with a strong social and academic mix” rather than in city centers, which are often more socially advantaged.

To implement the protocol at the local level, a “regular dialogue body” between the rector and the local representatives of Catholic education has been created.

All these “non-binding” measures will not “be enough to increase the social diversity of students”, note the public and private education unions, Sgen CFDT and FEP CFDT, in a joint reaction. They would have liked the endowments of establishments, both public and private, to be “modulated” according to the real mix they practise.

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