1.3 National youth strategy
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The presidential elections of April 2022 and the subsequent governmental renewal mark changes in the governance of youth policies. The development, control and implementation of youth policies are assigned by decree to the Ministry of Education and Youth.
From 2013 to 2017, a youth strategy has been created: the Priority Youth Plan ( “Plan Priorité Jeunesse”), adopted by the CIJ – Cross-Ministerial Committee for Youth ( Comité Interministériel de la Jeunesse) on 21 February 2013. Several policies of this youth strategy are still relevant. For the moment (2019-2020) there is no a new strategy for youth.
Current public policies in favor of youth are articulated mainly around education, training, commitment and autonomy. It should be pointed out that these public policies do not form, strictly speaking, a "strategy" since they are not formalized in one plan or road map, but nevertheless they must meet several and general objectives.
- Participate in the personal development of young people, foster their engagement and mobility;
- Give priority to education, guidance and training;
- Promote employment and professional integration;
- Fight against inequalities in the path to autonomy;
- Improving living conditions.
The goal of public youth policies is to create “a society of trust”. By acting on young people’s training and commitment and fostering their autonomy, government policies seek to ensure “society’s trust in its young people and young people’s trust in society”.
The main focuses of action are:
- Education and training
- Commitment (The youth engagement)
Education and training
The training of young people is at the heart of governmental youth policies which wants to build a "school of trust" to ensure pupils'sucess. Several measures concerning primary and secondary schools were implemented.
At primary school:
- The gradual doubling of CP and CE1 classes in schools located in disadvantaged urban areas and covered by so-called 'priority education'. The objective of the priority education policy 'is to correct the impact of social and economic inequalities on educational success by strengthening pedagogical and educational action in schools and establishments in areas with the greatest social difficulties'.
- The adaptation of school rhythms by leaving it up to the communes (local authorities, academic services, school educational teams, parents' representatives) to decide whether to switch to a four-day school week.
- The implementation of a "Wednesday plan", the objective of which is to promote "a new coherence and a new dynamic" in the range of activities offered to children between their school time and their extracurricular time
At middle school:
- The introduction of the "homework done" programme, which offers free supervised study time for schoolchildren outside school hours. The supervision of pupils is voluntary and can be carried out by :
-teachers and documentalist teachers
-the main education advisers (CPE)
-approved associations that provide homework help
-volunteers and civic service volunteers
- The adjustment of the 2015 middle school reform, which should give greater autonomy to schools.
At high school:
The reform of high school and the Baccalauréat examination
Initiated in 2018, the reform of the general and technological baccalaureate, the national diploma at the end of secondary education and the first degree of higher education, consists in reducing the number of tests and introducing continuous assessment. This new baccalauréat came into force in 2021.
This reform is linked to the reform of the lycée, which abolishes the three general streams: 'economic and social', 'literary' and 'scientific' and introduces a system of specialities.
A new reform of the lycée is being discussed in 2022, with the Minister of Education Pap N'Diaye announcing in November 2022 that he would like to see the return of compulsory mathematics teaching for all students in the general stream.
The baccalauréat is the final exam of the last year of secondary school. It is a national diploma sanctioning the end of secondary education (international ISCED level 3) in the general, technological or vocational streams.
A reflection on the reform of the high school courses and the baccalaureate tests was initiated in 2017.
The first changes will take place in the 2020-2021 school year. The first edition of the fully 'renewed' baccalauréat was held in 2021.
The reform introduces the following elements, which are maintained until the 2023 edition of the baccalauréat.
During the school year
- schools apply the "E3C", common assessments of continuous tests in the core subjects
- continuous assessment contributes, during the school year, to 10% of the assessment presented on the school report, except for French and the E3C
- high school students no longer choose, as before, 'specialisation streams' (scientific, economic and social, or literary) but have a compulsory core curriculum (French, history-geography, two modern languages, science, sport and moral and civic education) and choose three specialities 'à la carte' in the year preceding their baccalaureate from the following list
- History and Geography, Geopolitics and Political Science
- Economic and Social Sciences
- Humanities, Literature and Philosophy
- Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures
- Literature and Cultures of Antiquity
- Physics and Chemistry
- Life and Earth Sciences
- Numerical and Computer Sciences
- Engineering Sciences
This reform had led to the removal of mathematics from the compulsory core curriculum. However, mathematics have been reintroduced in the core curriculum of general education since 2022:
- Mathematics became compulsory again for Première students at the start of the 2022 school year, following an announcement by the Minister of National Education and Youth in June 2022
- Mathematics will become compulsory again for students in Première and Terminale at the start of the 2023 school year, following an announcement by the Minister of National Education and Youth in November 2022.
For the general baccalauréat exam
- General education students take their French test in première (the year before the final year of lycée), i.e. a single subject as opposed to several previously
- The assessment is made up of 40% continuous assessment and 60% final tests (compared to a higher rate of final tests previously).
The reform of vocational high schools
A reform of vocational high schools was launched in September 2022 in order to strengthen student support, offer a wider choice of specialisations to young students, and promote establishments that effectively combat school dropout.
Working groups, made up of representatives of all the stakeholders in vocational education, were set up in autumn 2022. A consultation was also carried out in December 2022 with all stakeholders (trade unions, regional presidents, parents' representatives). The results of these discussions led to an experiment that began in early 2023.
The Parcoursup platform allows high school students, apprentices or students to pre-register, to submit their wishes for further study and to respond to admission proposals from institutions.
The platform introduces the notion and principle of 'expectations' on the part of higher education institutions, which are based on the charter 'For a shared implementation of training courses in the service of student success' drawn up by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. The charter defines the expectations as "the knowledge and skills necessary for success in each field of study". They correspond to what teachers expect in terms of knowledge or skills on entry to each higher education course". Furthermore, the expectations must be "formalised by the institutions" and "facilitate and improve exchanges between higher education and secondary education stakeholders".
The construction of a guidance project is one of the cornerstones of the lycée and baccalaureate reforms, one of the objectives of which is to prepare young people for their access to higher education.
The youth engagement
Stepping up young people’s commitment at the service of society is one of the Government’s major goals and a key focus of youth policies. It has been given concrete expression by development of the civic service and by the implementation of a new commitment scheme, Universal National Service (Service national universel) in 2018.
Universal National Service fulfills several objectives:
- “transmission of Republican values”
- “strengthening of social cohesion – which relies on experience of social and territorial mixity "
- “development of a culture of commitment and assistance with social and professional integration”.
It targets all young people between 15 and 17 years of age (for the first two phases) and is organised into three phases:
- a two-week cohesion stay, spent in collective accommodation in a département (local authority) other than that in which the volunteer lives. During the stay, young volunteers take part in a variety of collective activities including introductions to the Highway Code and administration of first aid.
- a general interest mission at an association, local authority department or public service, aiming to develop a culture of commitment and foster young people’s integration into society.
- the possibility of voluntary commitment for at least 3 months, making use of existing volunteering schemes: civic service, the Armed Forces’ and National Gendarmerie’s operational reserves, volunteer firefighters, European Solidarity Corps, etc. This phase is opened to volunteers between 16 and 30 years of age.
The autonomy of young people
The autonomy policies aim at developping the young people’s autonomy are articulated around three axes
1. the fight against the non-use of social rights;
2. the territorialisation of youth policies;
3. the synergy of the actors*
* Source: speech by the Minister of National Education to the Youth Policy Orientation Council, June 29, 2017
The responsible and coordinating authority for youth policies is the Ministry of Education and Youth, which is also responsible for the implementation of youth policies, under Decree "No. 2022-833 of 1 June 2022 on the powers of the Minister of Education and Youth".
The 1 young person 1 solution plan
Young people, who have been particularly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, have been the subject of measures under the 100 billion euro France Relaunch plan, which began in 2020. The European Union is funding this plan to the tune of €40 billion, including €5.2 billion for various measures affecting 16-25 year olds in France.
Of the €100 billion France Recovery Plan, €9 billion has been dedicated to the creation of the "1 young person, 1 solution" plan launched in the summer of 2020.
This plan is intended to combat youth unemployment. It has enabled the financing of 130,000 contracts dedicated to young people in 2021. It includes several components, which are promoted on the www.1jeune1solution.gouv.fr platform:
- The publication of job offers, internships, work-study programmes and student jobs
- The publication of training offers to achieve a professional project
- Promotion of the Youth Commitment Contract (see below)
- Valuation, on the same platform, of the housing and financial aid for which the young person is eligible with the help of a questionnaire that takes less than five minutes
- Valuation and linking of local missions for local support concerning a pathway and dealing with all integration difficulties: employment, training, orientation, mobility, housing, health, access to culture and leisure
- A platform for creating a personalised CV
- Support for the 1jeune1mentor scheme, launched in 2021 in conjunction with the Collectif Mentorat association, for matching young people with mentors.