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Home education: the separatism law plans to strengthen controls

By announcing, on October 2, the end of home instruction, Emmanuel Macron wanted to strike people. Such a measure, however, raises questions of constitutionality. And the executive, in its bill reinforcing respect for republican principles, finally chose to restrict this freedom more strictly by switching the school to the house of a declarative regime (a declaration to the town hall and the rectorate) to an authorization system, issued by the national education system.

→ READ. What drives families to home school

Among the possible motivations, the child’s state of health or disability, the practice of intensive sports or artistic activities or family homelessness, but not “Political, philosophical or religious convictions”.

Welcomed in underground schools

Why such a will? National education recognizes this: The cases of children exposed to a risk of radicalization and identified during the control of the instruction at the family home are exceptional. ” Nevertheless, justifies the ministry, “The number of children educated at home without recourse to Cned has increased a lot”. However, some “In reality attend underground schools, structures which often present themselves as cultural or religious associations but which constitute possible places of radicalization”.

→ DEBATE. Separatism: should home education be limited?

In recent years, several of these schools have been dismantled. “By definition, we cannot know the number of underground schools, concedes former Inspector General Jean-Pierre Obin. But some children are in reality only educated at home with the teachings of the Koranic school. This is in line with what was advocated in 2015 by the Islamic State’s propaganda magazine, which urged Muslims to withdraw their children from public school to avoid any Western influence. We must nip the phenomenon in the bud before it becomes unavoidable. “

Faster checks

During its vote in February, the National Assembly validated the government strategy. “It is better to plan an authorization upstream than to then seek to combat abuses”, argues LREM deputy Anne Brugnera. “Moreover, the fact of requesting its renewal each year must dissuade some parents from evading controls”, insists the elected. Checks of two types: one educational, carried out once a year by the national education system; the other social, carried out every two years by the town hall. Control who “Is not always effective when the municipalities do not have social workers”, deplores Anne Brugnera.

But the Senate did not see it the same way. “The link between separatism and home education seems very tenuous”, slice Senator LR Stéphane Piednoir. Hence the decision, during the vote in committee, Tuesday March 16, not to switch to an authorization regime which, he believes, would restrict the freedom of families.

Prohibitions for parents convicted of a felony or an offense linked to terrorism

However, the senators voted several amendments to strengthen the current system. “When making the declaration, the family must specify the methods of organizing the instruction. In case of doubt about its effectiveness, the rectorate may request an interview with the family. The goal being to no longer wait six months before carrying out a control “, decrypts Stéphane Piednoir.

→ INVESTIGATION. End of home schooling: an attack on fundamental freedoms?

Other measures have been introduced: “A child who has attended an underground school will not be able to follow a home education during the current year and the following year”, indicates UDI Senator Laurent Lafon. Same obligation of schooling in an establishment if one of the parents has been definitively convicted of a crime or offense linked to terrorism, which includes the apology for terrorism on the Internet.

The ministry insists on the creation, provided for by law, of a compulsory national identifier for each pupil. He estimates the number of children at 5,000 “Off radar”, of which we would not know the mode of instruction, at school or in family.


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