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The elections of May 2017 and the its governmental change mark numerous evolutions in youth policies governance. The elaboration, the control and the implementation of youth policies are attribuated by decree to the Ministry of National Education and Youth whose portfolio is composed of youth and NGOs , association policies.
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 plan or road map, but nevertheless they must meet several and general objectives.
- Participating in young people’s personal development, and encouraging their commitment and autonomy
- Fostering employment and professional integration
- Combating inequalities on the pathway to autonomy
- Giving priority to education and training
- 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 lowering of the compulsory education to three years
- The gradual splitting of first-grade class in schools located in disadvantaged urban areas.
- The adaptation of school time by leaving municipalities (with teachersn representatives of parents pupils...) the choice to move to the "four-day" school week.
At secondary school:
- Reform of secondary schools (high schools) and the Baccalaureate examination
Initiated in 2018, the reform of general and technological Baccalaureates – national diplomas awarded upon completion of secondary studies and the first stage in higher education – consists of reducing the number of tests and introducing continuous assessment. The new Baccalaureates will come into force in 2021.
The reform goes hand-in-hand with the reform of the lycée, which abolishes three general streams, “economic and social”, literature”, and “scientific”, and introduces a system of specialities.
Higher education is also affected by deep reforms:
- The national plan "Students" was presented bt the government in october 2017. This plan aims at transform the first cycle of higher education in its entirety :orientation, access to higher education, structuring of the first cycle as well as living and studying conditions.
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 authority and coordinator of youth policies is the Ministry of Education, youth and sports, which is also responsible for the implementation of youth policies, under the decree "N ° 2017-1080 of May 24, 2017 relating to the powers of the Minister in charge of education". The Minister’s Decree of Attribution specifies that he is responsible “for preparing and implementing the Government’s policy bearing on actions in favour of youth”.
From 2013 to 2017, a national youth strategy,the "Youth Priority Plan", was adopted by the Interministerial Committee of Youth of 21 February 2013, chaired by the Prime Minister.
This plan defined the National Youth Strategy as a "government priority". It was an official roadmap that presented the challenges of youth policies and the various measures that the government should implement to improve the living conditions of young people. The Youth Priority Plan was a continuation of the projects carried out by the Government in 2012. More than a planning of measures in favor of youth, the Youth Priority plan had to renew public action by encouraging partnership work between the ministries, local authorities, associations, social partners, but also with young people themselves.
Since the spring 2017 elections, the Government's strategy has been based on the measures taken from the Youth Priority Plan and is part of the desire to create a "trustworthy society" by acting on training, engaging young people and promoting their autonomy.