How do you guarantee the effectiveness of the control of the obligation to instruct?

Response from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports: In its current wording, Article L. 131-1 of the Code of Education establishes the principle of compulsory education for children aged three to 16 and Article L. 131-2 provides that it may be taught in public or private schools, or with families.

In order to ensure that this obligation is respected and that no child is deprived of his right to education, it is the duty of the mayor, as the agent of the state, to draw up a list of all children living in his municipality and subject to to compulsory education, with application of Article L. 131-6 of the Education Code. The same article stipulates that the mayor may introduce automated data processing to facilitate the compilation and maintenance of this list.

Article R. 131-3 of the same code specifies how often and under what conditions this list is updated: this update is mainly based on the status of staff transfers in the establishments, which they address monthly to the mayor, but it also benefits from what the municipal councilors, the departmental deputies of the national education, the assistants of the social service, the members of the education, the agents of the government, the academic director of the services of the national education can read and copy, at the town hall, report this list and any omissions to the mayor.

Likewise, and for the same reasons, Article R. 131-10-3 of the same Code provides that the authorities responsible for the payment of family benefits shall, at the latter’s request, provide the mayor with information relating to the identity of the child giving rise to to the right to payment of family benefits, as well as those relating to the identity of the beneficiary.

As you underlined, the effectiveness of the compulsory education check relies primarily on the quality and completeness of the school list, from which the Constitution benefits from relying on additional information in addition to the lists and declarations on home education provided by the institutions. After all, the purpose of this check is not so much to identify the children who comply with this obligation, as to identify those who have been deprived of the right to education.

This is why the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has committed itself, in parallel with the legislative work, to improve the process of drawing up the school list. In this regard, discussions took place in early 2021 with the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion and Relations with Local Governments to assess the extent to which it could be relevant, to facilitate the work of mayors, to establish a national repository of children with compulsory education on the model of the Common Electoral Register (REU) that was established in 2019.

After shared expertise between the INSEE, the DSS and the MENJS, it appears that this path faces several pitfalls, most notably the issue of the first delivery of this directory, which should not only identify all children aged three to 16 years on the national territory, but also inform their municipality of residence at any time.

The analysis carried out shows that in the end this scenario could not be a satisfactory solution in terms of the costs generated, its development time and its complexity, as the aim pursued is, in particular, to be able to assign children an INE number “off-radar” ie less than 1% of school-aged children.

The resources deployed must be commensurate with this goal. In summary, the contribution of such a reference system to the current system, which is already based on the educational information system of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports on the one hand and on the data processing by mayors pursuant to the second paragraph of Article L. 131 -6 of the Education Act has not been demonstrated.

At this stage, the most operational way to make the list of schools more reliable and, above all, to guarantee its completeness as far as possible, remains that of systematizing the transfer to the mayors by the organizations responsible for the payment of family benefits. , the files of the beneficiaries of these services; this transfer, which is already possible, only takes place at the request of the mayors, as provided for in Article R. 131-10-3 of the Education Code.

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