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Private Catholic education, measures for more social diversity

One has insisted, since his arrival in rue de Grenelle, that private education must “take part” to the effort of diversity desired by the government. The other recalls that, to achieve this shared objective, it must above all be helped by the State. However, Pap Ndiaye and Philippe Delorme, the general secretary of Catholic education, have agreed: they are preparing to sign, on Wednesday, May 17, a protocol to promote diversity in private establishments under contract.

The content of this text becomes clearer. More than a great evening, he draws “a trajectory, a common method”, summarizes Philippe Delorme. Also, at the risk of disappointing the most militant, few quantified objectives should appear there. Similarly, the main principles of the contract of association with the State should not be called into question: neither quotas, nor sectorization or allocation system. Families’ freedom of choice is guaranteed and private establishments remain free to choose their students.

Welcoming scholarship students who so wish

However, several changes have been made. The most important concerns the reception of scholarship students. The idea is to ensure that all families who wish to choose the Catholic private sector can finance it. In order to achieve this, local authorities, which subsidize canteens and school transport for public pupils, are invited to put their hands in their pockets. This is so that a scholarship student from the public sector who arrives in the private sector can retain the benefit of social assistance – in particular for the canteen – which was allocated to him in the public sector.

Discussions will also take place with the ministry and the rectorates with the aim of allowing private establishments to open more classes adapted to the students most in difficulty or with disabilities, as well as branches in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

In addition to these measures, which directly call for aid from the State and local authorities, there are others, which relate to private education alone. Catholic education thus undertakes to distribute the teaching resources allocated to it by the State according to the social profile of the establishments or their efforts in terms of diversity.

Modulate family contributions

A database should also make information on tuition costs and possible aid available. Above all, within the network, establishments will be encouraged to generalize the practice of varying family contributions so that tuition fees vary according to parental income.

All these projects will be subject to evaluation. In order to draw up a report on the actions carried out, the rector and the academic managers of Catholic education will meet every year, at local and national levels.

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Catholic education in brief

More than 2 million students are now enrolled in Catholic education under contract. More than one in two families make this choice for at least one of their children.

These establishments are placed under the supervision of the dioceses or congregations. It is a network led by a secretary general, appointed by the Conference of Bishops of France.

Three saints, religious and educators, are considered the inspiration of Catholic education: Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, Jean Bosco and Louise de Marillac.

The current legal framework has been built over time. The 1905 law known as the separation of Churches and State proclaimed freedom of conscience and guaranteed the free exercise of worship. In its extension, the Falloux law of March 15, 1850 guaranteed freedom of education in primary and secondary education.

More recently, the Debré law of December 23, 1959 created the contract of association with the State made up of reciprocal rights and duties.

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Written by Emilie Grenaud

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