Is the French school the most unequal in the OECD?

THE CHEKING PROCESS – This was confirmed by the MEP (LR) and philosopher, François-Xavier Bellamy, who criticized the choice of the new Minister of Education, Pap Ndiaye.

“It is my responsibility to take charge of the drama of injustice that is fueling our school system by not allowing the poorest to hope to change their social condition”, Education Minister Pap Ndiaye wrote in his letter to teachers on June 27. While the historian specializing in the black situation makes the fight against inequalities his first priority, the European Delegate (LR) François-Xavier Bellamy, guest of the Grand Rendez-vous on 3 July Europe 1, Cnews, Les Echos claimed that the French school was “the most unequal in the entire OECDIt is not, as the Minister of Education thinks, because French culture is structurally racist, but because it is no longer transmitted» the philosopher replies. What about? Is France the country where social, economic and cultural background has the greatest influence on students’ study results?

To answer this question, we need to look at the wealth of information provided by the OECD since 2000 through its assessment of Pisa (international student assessment program), conducted every three years among 15-year-old students, and in particular on their Economic, Social and Cultural Status Index (ESCS).

Bad results

The results of the last ranking, published in 2019, are final in “writing comprehension» (reading and writing): in France, the performance gap linked to social origin is largest in the OECD (47 points, against 37 on average). This relationship has diminished since 2009, when it was 51 points, compared to 38 on average in the OECD.

In “mathematical culture“, the image is slightly less black. The difference is 47 points, still above the OECD average (36 points), but less pronounced than in 2012 (57 points for France, 39 for the OECD). Slovakia and Hungary rank above France and Belgium at the same level on this indicator.

If we are only interested in school performance, France, in the Pisa 2019 ranking, is at the bottom of the top 20, far behind the Asian countries, Estonia, Canada and Finland which are the leaders, and on a comparable level to Germany, Belgium, Portugal or Czech Republic. An average position for the 7th world economic power, but honorable.

But if France is preserved, it is thanks to its elite that it remains very efficient. A quarter of the best-performing French students are at a level comparable to the best-ranked countries, while a quarter of the worst-performing students are at the level of the most lagging countries, such as Turkey. Social inequalities are running at full speed: 20% of studentsfavoriteare among those with the best results, but only 2% of studentsdisadvantagedIn reading comprehension, students in secondary vocational education achieved results that were 100 points lower than those of students in general and technical secondary an average difference of 68 points in the OECDpoints out to the organization. The weakest students are more often together in the same institutions.” she added.

New inflections

Pending the results of the next Pisa, which will be published in December 2023, the Minister of Education confirmed in an interview on June 26 at the Parisian that the fight against inequality was his priority. With ecology. †There will be new and strong inflections,” promised Pap Ndiaye, referring to a French school that “does very poorly with underprivileged children. This situation is not acceptable. This is my starting point: do we accept these educational inequalities, yes or no?“Statements that, without details of the actions to be performed, think magical for the time being.

The duplication of CP and CE1 classes, conducted during Macron’s first five-year term in priority education, has led to mixed results. Launched at the very end of the five-year term, the Marseille experiment promises to give more resources and leeway to underprivileged schools with projects. Emmanuel Macron, after his re-election on June 2, announced his “generalization“, without specifying the frame. The reform of Affelnet – the procedure for allocating students to Parisian secondary schools – is still causing a lot of unrest. Expanded this year to Henri IV and Louis Le Grand, it strives for greater social and academic diversity. In the capital, the fight against inequality is going badly for voters. And what about these suburbs, where segregation is so great that diversity seems impossible?

summarized, it is true that the French school is the most unequal of the OECD countries, at least for literacy. For mathematics, the picture is certainly less black, but it remains very dark, according to the latest data from the international organization.

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