Making education a right again for all French people abroad, Aurélie Pirillo

For an exemplary republic, make education a right for all French people abroad!

In the wake of the presidential election, French living abroad have been conspicuously absent from a national debate that has overshadowed the fate of 2.5 million of our compatriots. Again, the French living abroad, who nevertheless make France shine all over the world, will have been the forgotten ones, the ones left out in the presidential elections.

One of the main concerns of these French, education is given absolute priority.

French people living abroad have watched helplessly for years at the weakening of the French education system, with many of them striving for their children to benefit from this excellent education.

French education abroad is an extremely effective asset for university success, often a royal route to the most prestigious higher education for the children of foreign families.

Today, however, among French living abroad, only 345,000 students receive education in French institutions. A low and worrying figure that highlights the growing number of French nationals living abroad who have not been educated in a French school.

It is France’s unique school network, with nearly 500 schools and secondary schools spread across 130 countries, which today is weakened and losing ground. It is the future of thousands of French people abroad and their families, deprived of this education, that is at stake. An unbearable injustice.

French people living abroad are French people in their own right and deserve access to a quality French education system for their children.

France is extremely fortunate to have a unique worldwide network of schools, Instituts français and Alliances Françaises. This French-speaking network has unfortunately been downgraded in recent years due to disastrous political and budgetary decisions. In 2017, the government voted to cancel 33 million credits from the AEFE (Agency for French Education Abroad). In the 2022 financial law, 10 million euros were cut in school grants in program 151, “French abroad and consular affairs” and 512 teacher posts were cut and recruitment was given priority. Finally, the French Institutes and Alliances Françaises closed.

These damaging policies have seriously weakened French education abroad, raising tuition fees in many institutions, sometimes blocking French families from accessing French schools.
In addition, an increasingly competitive environment threatens the attractiveness of our French education system outside France, particularly in favor of the Anglo-Saxon system.

This one double threat calls for a large-scale policy to revitalize French education abroad. It is this ambition that I will prioritize as a deputy for the 10th constituency of French living abroad.

I defend access for all to the French education system, without geographical and physical barriers. For children too far from school, distance learning, which has proven its worth during the health crisis, will be accompanied by physical education in the Institutes and Alliances françaises.

I defend access for all to the French education system without financial barriers. The terms and criteria for awarding scholarships should be revised and their volume increased to allow easy access for the middle class to institutions in the AEFE network.

He is urgently to restore the financial resources for French education by restoring the 100% state guarantee for mortgages for educational institutions.

He is imperative to vote for a significant increase in the annual budget of the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) to reduce tuition costs and increase the quality of education.

Tuition costs should be reduced and tiered rates to the benefit of the French should be expanded, as is being done in many countries.

I defend access for all to a quality French education system. There is an urgent need to restore human resources by defending the proliferation of French teachers, increasing teachers’ incomes and benefits, and improving and protecting their status.

I defend access for all to the French education system without barriers or exclusion. The allowance of accompanying students with disabilities (AESH) should no longer be paid by the parents, but by the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE).

I defend access for everyone to the teaching of French, including children educated in a non-French speaking system. AEFE’s support for FLAM (French as Mother Tongue) schools should be strengthened to enable children educated in non-French institutions to take French language classes.

I champion equal access to higher education for French high school students abroad as it does for high school students in mainland France. Currently, less than half of French candidates who have completed their training in a foreign system have obtained one of their wishes on the Parcoursup platform. Improving the Parcoursup system is therefore urgent. French students pursuing a binational baccalaureate or a national baccalaureate in the country of residence should no longer be disadvantaged in their orientation choice.

What is at stake from the weakening of French education and its access to foreign compatriots is extremely serious. It is nothing more or less than a violation of equality between French citizens in access to education.
Let’s fight together with all our strength for the French abroad to finally be considered as fully-fledged French and not as separate French!

Tribune signed by: Aurélie Pirillo is the candidate officially invested by the right and center on the occasion of the French parliamentary elections for French people living abroad in Africa and the Middle East, which will take place in June 2022.
Councilor of Paris, she was chief of staff to the deputy mayor of the 16th arrondissement of Paris and former minister to Jacques Chirac, she spent ten years in the National Assembly with the Foreign Affairs Committee and friendship groups in many African and Middle Eastern countries.

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