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Showdown over regional language teaching

Diacritics in civil status documents, signage for public buildings, signs on traffic lanes … The bill drafted by the deputy (Liberties and territories, center) of Morbihan, Paul Molac, adopted on April 8, includes a series of measures aimed at “the promotion and protection of regional languages”. But it is its educational provisions that crystallize the oppositions.

On April 22, 60 LREM deputies turned to the Constitutional Council. At the center of their referral, a senatorial amendment which survived the examination at second reading and which modifies the education code to strengthen the funding of private schools under contract providing courses in the regional language.

→ READ. MEPs adopt a bill favorable to regional languages

Unless the Elders advise otherwise, the town halls will now be required to finance these establishments as soon as a child from the municipality is registered there, even though the school is located in another municipality. With one condition, however, that it does not already have on its own territory a school offering courses in the regional language.

“Tie break”

“There is no reason why the budget of a municipality finances the education of children in a private school located outside its territory”, considers the LREM deputy of Hérault Jean-François Eliaou, one of the signatories of the referral. Observing in his constituency the attractiveness of certain calendretas, Franco-Occitan schools, this elected official fears that the new law will come “Weaken the school balance in rural areas where sometimes a few fewer students are enough to close a class, or even an establishment”.

Jean-François Eliaou highlights a “Tie breaker” between these establishments and other private schools under contract, which do not automatically benefit from municipal funding when they welcome pupils from another municipality.

The education code, which incorporates the principles of the Carle law of 2009, nevertheless already provides for exceptions. Thus, the municipality of the place of residence is required to pay a lump sum to the private school of a neighboring municipality if it itself is not able to welcome the child in one of its public schools or in three others. cases, linked to the professional obligations of the parents, to medical reasons or to the fact that another member of the siblings is already educated in the other municipality.

In their referral, the deputies essentially invoke the constitutional impossibility of imposing a financial contribution on the municipality of residence for education which results from the choice of families and is only optional. There is, they insist, no constitutional right to teaching regional languages ​​for the benefit of pupils.

The possibility of immersive teaching in public schools

Paul Molac sees in this approach, carried out in conjunction with the Jean-Michel Blanquer firm, “The fight of Jacobins opposed to a France rich in its languages ​​and its cultures”. Especially since“It is estimated that only 0.02% of pupils are educated outside their municipality in a private establishment which offers education in the regional language”, notes the one who defines himself as a “Regionalist”.

→ INFOGRAPHICS. Regional languages ​​in France

Its objective is not to force mayors to put their hand in the wallet, but to encourage them to offer such education in their schools. “The municipalities which will do so and thus contribute to the public interest will not have to pay this fixed price”, he insists. Moreover, continues the Breton parliamentarian, the wording of the text offers the municipality as well as the private schools full latitude: “It can be a simple initiation, bilingual education or immersion education. “

The law, specifically, opens up the possibility of “immersive” teaching in public schools, teaching which can therefore be done most of the time in the regional language, without prejudice to the objective of a good knowledge of the French language “.


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