The Senate gives the green light to the lowering of the age of compulsory education at 3 years

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Back to school, 3 September 2018. Return to school in a kindergarten near Bordeaux (Gironde). – M.Bosredon / 20Minutes

The Senate unanimously approved Wednesday the lowering of the age of compulsory education from six to three years, a peak measure
reads "for a school of trust" considered in first reading.

This obligation, a translation of the commitment made by Emmanuel Macron in March 2018, must take effect as soon as the next school year begins. For the Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, is "the most important article of the law", with "a concrete social dimension, but also a signal dimension". "It is a law to strengthen the nursery school," he said.

"25,000 children, it is not a negligible amount"

While this measure is often presented as symbolic, given the few children of the age group who do not attend school today, Jean-Michel Blanquer said that "we cannot minimize it". "25,000 children are not negligible (…) even a child is important," he said.

According to the Ministry's statistics, the enrollment rate in 2016-2017 was 97.5% at three years, 99.9% at four years and 100% at five years. Senator LREM of Guyana Antoine Karam praised "a profoundly social measure", "for equal opportunities for all children". With Mayotte, Guyana has one of the lowest enrollment rates. In 2013, it rose to Guyana at 80% for three-year-olds and about 90% for four and five-year-olds.

Training requirements from 16 to 18 years, in response to school drop-out

The senators have modified the text resulting from the National Assembly, to allow, through a dialogue between the families and the school managers, exceptions to the obligation of attendance in the small section of the nursery school. This is for example to allow children who do not eat lunch in the canteen to take a nap at home.

On the night between Wednesday and Thursday, the Senate also gave the green light to the requirement of education from 16 to 18 years, in response to the school dropout, even if questions related to the means and efficiency they were raised by several senators. In this sense, the minister defended the "social progress", the speaker stressed that he has the advantage of "creating a collective bond".

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