The end of home schooling was the flagship measure announced by Emmanuel Macron during his speech in Mureaux (Yvelines), on October 2, to present the main directions of the bill against separatism. At the Assembly in January, the deputies had widely opened the possible exemptions to schooling: families could simply invoke “The existence of a situation specific to the child”, without additional reason to support their request for home instruction.
For senators, the device is still too coercive. The Culture Committee which examined the text of the law “Reinforcing respect for the principles of the republic” voted an amendment to replace the authorization procedure by a simple declaration of families to the rectorate. “The proposed device disproportionately upsets family education”, considers rapporteur Stéphane Piednoir (LR). To fight against some cases of separatism “All families see their choice of education weakened”.
In addition to this very sensitive subject of schooling, the Law Commission, for its part, adopted around a hundred amendments which do not upset the general balance of the text, but nonetheless brings flexibility to the cults. With the reform, religious associations will be required to submit a declaration to the prefecture for five years. Senators want the renewal of the process to be simplified. “At the end of five years, those in charge would not need to re-submit a file but a simple declaration, explains Senator Dominique Vérien (Centrist Union). It is a form of tacit renewal ”.
→ ANALYSIS. Home education: the separatism law plans to strengthen controls
The Senate also intends to respond to a request from religious leaders, especially Protestants. The bill should allow religious associations to administer (and therefore rent) buildings received by donation, but to reassure secular networks who denounce a gift made to religions, the deputies have set a ceiling. The amounts that the cults derive from these buildings cannot exceed 33% of their total annual resources.
Secularism at university
The Law Commission has voted for an amendment that removes this ceiling. The senators do not rule out voting in session a measure that would allow cults to administer buildings acquired for consideration.
→ DEBATE. Separatism: should home education be limited?
Overall the senators do not upset the bill. “On the subject of secularism and cults, the bill takes up proposals that senatorial reports had made for a long time, so it was difficult to overturn the table”, explains Dominique Vérien.
The senators do not question the principle of the republican contract of engagement for associations which receive public subsidies, however much criticized by the associative world. The amendments aiming to extend the principle of neutrality to mothers who accompany school trips have been rejected but the issue of wearing the Muslim veil should come back to the Senate session where the right is in the majority.
The cultural committee finally adopted several amendments aimed at strengthening the principle of secularism at the university. They aim to prevent a religious activity from being held in a place of teaching and to prohibit “Behavior likely to disrupt, through proselytizing or propaganda actions, teaching and research activities, the holding of conferences or debates. “