2.8 Explain the nature of administration, supervision structure and operations of the French Educational system
Administration, Supervision structure and operations
The French education system is highly centralized. The principal of centralism was introduced by La Chalotais in 1763 and was supported by the writers of the revolution. Napoleon adopted it to facilitate the control that he needed in training an elite to run his empire. In France, authority is centralized in the Ministry of Education under the control of parliament. The country is divided into seventeen academies for the purpose of administration of education. A Lector who is appointed by the president of the republic heads each academy. The Lector is directly responsible to the minister of education. He is chosen from among the professors and has total control of an academy from nursery school to the university. He over sees both the state and private educational institutions.
There are inspectors in each department of the academy. They are specialist in respective types of education provided in each department. The departmental councils administer the whole primary education and it is responsible for the recruitment, training, and promotion of primary school teachers.
At the central level, the minister and his advisers are assisted by a body of inspectors of national education who visit educational institutions and keeps the minister informed of the general picture of education in France. The inspectors plan the programmes of studies for the schools including the methods of instruction.
The administration of examinations is centralized. All examinations are state examinations. This means that any type of examination in the education system is merely a school leaving examination. Any child anywhere in France as long as he/she has reached the right age can present himself/herself for the appropriate examination anywhere in France. The various institutions do give their certificates and diplomas but they are of no use. This ensures that every body has covered the programmes of work for a particular certificate or diploma; it ensures uniformity in coverage of programmes of studies and even the approaches. Some examinations are competitive and the numbers of those who qualify depend on places available.
Since the 19th century, communes have been responsible for running primary schools.
Major measures to decentralize powers in the early 1980s marked an important stage in the evolution of the French education system giving a greater role to departments and regions. The Act of 13 August 2004 on local authorities and freedoms increased the powers of local elected authorities when it comes to education. While the initiatives of local and regional authorities are growing in number, it is still the central government’s responsibility to decide on curricula, educational guidelines, recruitment and teachers’ salaries.
The education system consumes 6.4 % of the Gross National Product (GNP). Education is financed by the state. However, the regions, departments and communes have increased proportions of funding leading to a decrease in state funding from 1982-83 decentralisation. Employers contribute inform of apprenticeship tax and households also contribute. Much of the expenditure goes to teachers’ salaries. In universities there is no fee paid by the students. Universities and institutes of technology consume much of the resources due to their heavy operational costs and the large teaching staff. Families take care of school supplies and clothing. The Ministry of education provides grants and only those disadvantaged in secondary are eligible for the grants. Those in vocational secondary schools are considered. School textbooks are free in primary and first cycle of secondary education. In higher education 23 % of the students receive some form of aid and majority are based on the background of the family. The government guarantees the loans provided