This Thursday, MEPs will review Article 21 of the law on “separatism”, which restricts the home school and, according to its opponents, questions fundamental freedom.
Around 400 amendments were tabled in the Chamber on Thursday before its examination, proving that Article 21 of the “separatism” law is widely discussed. And for good reason, it touches on a particularly sensitive point: freedom of education. Since the Jules Ferry Act of 1882, only education is compulsory in France, not schooling. It applies to children from 3 to 16 years old. Their parents, on the other hand, can choose to teach at a public school, private or at home, according to Cned courses or not.
Misunderstanding and anger of parents
Homeschooling affects only 50,000 children out of 12.4 million students, but Emmanuel Macron was very interested in showing his desire to fight radical Islamism and secret schools. The president announced last October that he wanted to finish school at home, with rare exceptions. This is enough to provoke the misunderstanding and anger of the parents concerned, who are ulcers from such stigmatization, especially since the cases of children educated at home for radicalization are “extremely marginal”, pointed out Release Philippe Bongrand, a lecturer in pedagogical sciences at Cergy Paris University, who has worked extensively on home education.
This idea from the hat was also not legally correct, as the Council of State estimated, as freedom of education is enshrined in law. In order not to be challenged later by the Constitutional Council, the government finally abandoned the ballast by expanding the list of exceptions in home education. Exemptions have therefore been granted in the Special Committee on medical grounds, disability grounds, artistic or sporting activities and much more clearly: “For specific situations, provided that the persons responsible for the child can justify their ability to provide instruction having regard to the best interests of the child”. It is not enough to satisfy the defenders of this guideline: “This is a classic negotiation technique, but ultimately the last exception leaves open the possibility of administrative arbitrariness and unacceptable discrimination, says Anne Detremmerie, spokeswoman for Les Enfants d’abord. It is a fundamental freedom and we are not asking permission to be free !»
“Unnecessary and unjust deletion”
Today, families who opt for home education only need to enroll their child in City Hall and National Education. Once every two years, they can be inspected by the town hall and once a year during an educational inspection. but “It happens that they are not inspected, inter alia because the inspectors have an extremely busy schedule”, says researcher Philippe Bongrand. With this law, families will now have to obtain permission from academic services. Parents will need to justify their choice as well as their ability to educate their child. And this does not happen at all for the affected families.
The measure also spans the entire political spectrum, including within the majority. In a column posted on Tuesday in the worldMathematician and former pedestrian Cédric Villani, along with 18 other signatories, claim that this article has been deleted. “misses his goal” a “unnecessarily and unfairly remove the proven system.” On the left, the Communists are among those most favorable to Article 21, but they also have some dissenting votes. If the text is adopted, family associations practicing home education are already planning to use the Constitutional Council and pursue all possible remedies, even before the European Human Rights Council.