French Catholic school must increase diversity


Western Europe

Earlier Catholic schools in France were accused of elitism. Their share of students with a disability or from a poor environment would be smaller than on the average school. Photo EPA, Zsolt Czegledi

Catholic schools must promote diversity to avoid elitism, the French government believes.

Next Wednesday, the French Education Minister, Pap Ndiaye, and the Secretary General of Catholic Education, Philippe Delorme, will sign an agreement stating that private Catholic schools will do their best to increase diversity. That is reported by La Croix.

The agreement contains a protocol for Catholic schools to help them achieve this goal. One of the measures to increase diversity is to ensure that all parents who wish to send their child to a private Catholic school –which is more expensive than a public school– can afford it. Those who do not have sufficient financial means should be supported by local authorities, which already subsidise canteens and transport to school for public school pupils. In practice, that means that when a student with the right to financial support from the municipality wants to switch to a private school, he or she can retain the scholarship. Also, schools are encouraged to adapt the tuition fees to the parent’s income. That way, more families should be able to afford Catholic education.

Poorer neighbourhoods

In addition, the agreement reads that discussions are to occur with the Education Ministry and rectorates from Catholic schools to set up more adapted classes for students with learning problems or other disabilities. Furthermore, they should look at the possibility of opening up branches in poorer neighbourhoods.

That means private Catholic schools will receive direct aid from the State and local authorities. Furthermore, the Catholic educational system must also integrate teaching resources from the state, according to the social profile of the establishments or their efforts in terms of diversity, La Croix reports.

In the coming time, these measures will be evaluated regularly. Every year, there will be meetings to report on the actions carried out.