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Education: the Court of Auditors points to the mismanagement of teacher absences

In a report, the Court of Auditors focused, Thursday, December 2, on the mismanagement of teacher absences in national education, which costs, according to it, 4 billion euros per year.

During the 2018-2019 school year, the Court of Auditors recorded 10.7% of course hours lost in general and technological high schools, 9.8% in vocational high schools and 8.3% in secondary schools . In some cases, this breach of equality between students leads parents to refer the matter to the administrative judge. The problem mainly concerns middle and high schools for so-called short-term absences (less than fifteen days), which alone represent nearly 2.5 million hours. Only a fifth are replaced.

→ READ. Replacing absent teachers, the eternal puzzle

The Sages of rue Cambon have quantified the overall cost of absences at 4 billion euros, first and second degrees combined. A figure higher than that established by the Ministry of Education, which only takes into account the additional cost of replacements (2.7 billion).

24% increase in the number of hours lost in one year

The Court also points to a deterioration of the situation: for the 2018-2019 school year, it mentions an increase of 24% in one year in the number of hours lost, and relates this problem to deficiencies in school results, without however stigmatize teachers.

Behind the 2.5 million hours of short-term absences, nearly two-thirds can be explained by poor organization of national education. The Court therefore suggests better organization to schedule training, participation in examination boards or school trips. The Court of Auditors also invites national education to “Pilot” management of absences by upgrading its information systems: “Why not schedule a teacher’s training on the day he doesn’t have lessons?” Or, when a course brings together ten teachers, resort to computer tools to choose the day that causes the fewest hours lost for the students? “, she suggests. It recommends imposing on teachers, in their service obligations, an annual fixed rate of replacement hours, as well as a strengthening of the prerogatives of school heads.

→ READ. Replacements in schools: digital technology to the rescue of lost teaching hours

In his response to the Court, the Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer mentions digital solutions, students who can be supervised by an education assistant to follow online courses. Or the training days which, since 2019, can be provided during school holidays, preventing students from wasting hours of lessons. At the rate of € 120 per day for five days per year, the Court however sees it as a lever to be used marginally, so as not to increase public spending.


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