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In order to implement the various strategies designed to ensure academic success and education policies and programmes, the Ministry of National Education cooperates with many different operators, including other ministries, public institutions, companies and associations. These partners intervene within their areas of action, some of which correspond to those of such scholastic programmes as sport, professional integration, memory and citizenship, and culture.
Schemes relating to extracurricular education and relying specifically on cross-sectoral cooperation have been introduced, including Territorial Educational Projects (PEDTs - Projets éducatifs territoriaux) and the “Wednesday Plan” (Plan Mercredi) launched at the start of the 2018/2019 school year.
- Territorial Educational Projects (PEDTs)
In 2013, in the context of changes in school time, the Territorial Educational Project (PEDT) scheme was introduced, designed as a tool for local collaboration bringing together all stakeholders in the realm of education: Ministries, including those responsible for education and youth affairs, Family Allowance Funds (CAFs – Caisses d’allocations familiales), associations, sports clubs, etc. The PEDTs mentioned in Article D.521-12 of the Education Code enable local authorities to expressly provide “every child with a high-quality coherent educational pathway before during and after school, organised […]in complement to school hours”. PEDTs aim to mobilise all a territory’s resources, working in partnership to organise extracurricular activities. The creation of PEDTs is on a voluntary basis.
In 2018, the Ministry of National Education announced the inauguration of a “Wednesday Plan” (Plan Mercredi).
- The Wednesday Plan
Introduced at the start of the 2018/2019 school year, the Wednesday Plan is a scheme by which local authorities organise extracurricular recreational activities on Wednesdays for children from nursery school up to the last year of primary school age. Like the Territorial Educational Project (PEDT – Projet éducatif territorial) of which it is part both legally and administratively, the Wednesday Plan is based on partnerial work between local authorities, State departments (the Ministry of National Education in particular), Family Allowance Funds (CAFs – Caisses d’allocations familiales), youth associations and the sports and cultural sectors. The Wednesday Plan seeks to develop the quality of the extracurricular offer, consolidate the educational character of Wednesday activities, and reduce social and territorial divides.
A “Wednesday Plan Quality” (Qualité Plan Mercredi) Charter organises Wednesday activities around four principles:
- “extracurricular activities should complement time with family and time at school”
- “recreational activities should be accessible to all children wishing to participate, particularly children with disabilities”;
- “extracurricular activities should be coherent with the region and with its stakeholders”;
- “rich and varied cultural, sports and nature activities should have the aim of a final project (artwork, show, exhibition, tournament, etc.)”.
Outside the context of PEDTs and Wednesday Plan, the Ministry of National Education also forms partnerships with a variety of operators:
- Partners in the field of sport
In order to encourage physical and sporting activities among schoolchildren, the Ministry has developed partnerships with various stakeholders in the world of sport, including school sports associations and federations and sports federations and clubs approved by the Ministry responsible for sport. School sports federations are:
- the Primary Education Sports Union (USEP – Union sportive de l’ enseignement du premier degré ) for elementary schools
- the National School Sports Union (UNSS – Union nationale du sport scolaire) for lower and upper secondary schools
- the General Sports Union of Private Schools (UGSEL – Union générale sportive de l'enseignement libre), a sports federation for the private education sector.
In September 2013, the Ministry of National Education signed a framework agreement with the French National Olympics and Sports Committee (CNOSF - Comité national olympique et sportif français) and the Ministry responsible for sport. The signatories undertook to promote the educational values of sport and Olympism and collaborate to foster access to community sports programmes. 19 (non-scholastic) French sports federations also signed a framework agreement with the Ministry. The agreements were co-signed by the two main school sports federations, USEP and UNSS.
- Partners in the professional world
The Ministry of National Education has formed ties with companies and professional organisations in all sectors. Such links are expressed by a wide range of actions targeting pupils, families and the educational community alike: talks to schools given by economic operators, entrepreneurs in particular, visits to companies, job shadowing, and organisation of fairs and events such as “Industry Week” and “Company Week”.
In the context of vocational education (see Eurydice 6 Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education), representatives of vocational sectors are participating in the creation and renewal of vocational qualifications (CAP, professional baccalaureate, BTS, etc.).
- Partners in the field of artistic and cultural education
The Ministry of Education has joined forces with the Ministry of Culture and Communication in order to develop artistic and cultural practice as well as access to cultural structures, facilitate encounters with artists and artworks, and improve teacher training. This leads them to lend support to associations and bodies specialising in culture and which develop actions designed for schoolchildren , such as the “Springtime of Poets” (Printemps des poètes), the Avignon Festival and the Jeunesses musicales de France association, which promotes music among the young.
Such cooperation aims to develop activities complementing artistic and cultural education and takes a variety of forms: classes involved in artistic and cultural projects (PACs - projets artistiques et culturels), film projects, art workshops, artists’ residencies and scientific and technical workshops.
- Partners in the field of scientific culture
As regards scientific culture, the Ministry works in close collaboration with such scientific culture institutions as the Académie des Sciences, the Académie des Technologies and the Cité des Sciences et de l’ Industrie.
- Partners in the field of citizenship education
In the context of citizenship education, the Ministry of Education carries out a range of educational actions in collaboration with remembrance foundations and associations as well as other institutions and/or ministries, such as the Committee for the Memory and History of Slavery (CPMHE - Comité pour la mémoire et l'histoire de l'esclavage) and the Ministry of Defence, which implements educational actions focusing on the memory of contemporary wars and conflicts and funds educational projects on the memory of war (First World War).
- European partnerships
Besides such cross-sectoral cooperation, the Ministry of National Education has also developed international partnerships, above all with other European countries, as is shown by schools’ participation in the Erasmus + “Education” and “Youth and Sport” programmes and by mobility among schoolchildren (school trips, etc.) (For further information, see Eurydice 13.5 Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education).
In addition, a number of “partner” European associations take an active part in raising pupils’ and teachers’ awareness of their European identity through a range of actions. They include
- the European Association of Teachers (AEDE – Association Association européenne des enseignants)
- ESHA - European School Heads Association
- ÉVEIL (association)
- GE21 – Generation Europe 21
- Maisons de l'Europe
- International partnerships
The Ministry of National Education has a longstanding partnership with UNESCO, expressed in concrete form by the network of schools associated with UNESCO and such schools’ network of UNESCO Clubs
The network was set up in 1953 in order to promote UNESCO’s ideals; it is present in over 180 countries, comprising almost 11,000 schools from nursery to post-baccalaureate level.
In 2018, the French network comprises 135 schools across Metropolitan and Overseas France.
UNESCO-associated schools are institutions that have defined a three-year interdisciplinary educational project with wide international openness and focus on UNESCO’s priorities (sustainable development; heritage advocacy; global citizenship; intercultural dialogue; promotion of peace and human rights; international solidarity, etc.).
- network of UNESCO Clubs funded by the Ministry responsible for youth
UNESCO Associations, Centres and Clubs are groups of volunteers of varied ages and socioprofessional status, voluntary activists at the service of UNESCO’s ideals.
Established with the authorisation of UNESCO National Commissions, Clubs are grouped into national and international networks, their goal being to engage in fieldwork in UNESCO’s areas of competence. More than 65 years after the creation of the first UNESCO Association in Japan in 1947, the movement numbered some 4000 UNESCO Centres, Associations and Clubs in over 100 countries across the world.
In France, the Clubs have Law-of-1901 association status. They stand out due to the nature and purpose of their activities but are all in close contact with civil society in all its diversity. Clubs are able to carry out local and international projects thanks to partnerships in France and with Clubs in other countries, organise visits, excursions, study trips and exchanges, hold conferences and debates, and take part in colloquia and UN and UNESCO International Days, Weeks, Years and Decades (Culture of Peace, Education for All, Safeguarding Heritage, Sustainable Development, etc.).
In 2018, the French network comprises some hundred Clubs
The Ministries responsible for National Education and Higher Education and Research draft, oversee and coordinate education policies resulting from work in partnership involving the ministries’ various departments and directorates, along with general inspectorates and related and advisory bodies. The Ministry of Education also cooperates with other ministries, including the Ministries of Agriculture, the ministry of social affairs and health, and the ministry responsible for defence, all of which contribute to public education.
In addition, since the 1980s, the education system has been partially decentralised, with local authorities assuming responsibility for the operation of educational institutions: Municipalities are responsible for primary schools, Départements for collèges and Regions for lycées and specialised institutions (agricultural schools, etc.). However, the State (Ministry) continues to be responsible for pedagogy (i.e. teaching methodology) and for definition of national curricula and programmes, teaching organisation and content, and delivery of national qualifications. In the same way, assignment of university grades and titles and management of staff recruitment are the prerogatives of the Ministry of Higher Education and its departments.
For further information and details see Eurydice 2 Organisation and Governance, 2.6 Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level .