Synopsis of the articles of the review 74

A few historical reference points

Françoise Œuvrard

The issue of measuring social inequalities in education and their evolution is widely debated. These debates concern the nature of the indicators to be used, the underlying definitions of democratisation of teaching and the methods used to measure evolutions that will or will not result in the reduction of these inequalities. While some theoretical and methodological issues are widely debated, there often remains an underestimated difficulty in this area: collecting data on the social background of pupils and students. Exhaustive statistics on this topic have been produced by the Education ministry for over sixty years, and since that period, the reliability of this information has been increasingly questioned. Although many improvements have been made over the years, there still remains inaccuracy which shows, as is the case for all statistical data, that it is useful to know how the results of this construction were achieved, to make best use of it. However, studies concur to illustrate that, despite its imperfections, the social background as measured by administrative sources, remains a good indicator of the social environment of pupils and students.

Data compendium on the professions and social groups of parents of pupils at the secondary level information system

Marie-Laurence Jaspar

At the start of the 2005 school year, the «SCOLARITE» information system concerned the over 11,000 public and private institutions that are under contract in metropolitan France and its overseas territories. It counts close to six million pupils, of which 96% of the parents declare a profession. This management application for collège and lycée pupils produces information which helps steer the education system both locally and nationally. In 1996, the DEPP in charge of providing this data requested an audit on the diversity and quality of the data compendium on professions and social categories (P.C.S.) by those responsible for secondary level pupils. It wanted to know the effects it had on the statistical results. This audit was carried out by a team of sociology researchers from the European Sociology Centre (EHESS, Paris). In May 1997, the report produced concluded with some ten recommendations. Based on this document's conclusions, we will present hereunder the various measures taken by the DEPP, highlighting the limitsof actions carried out.

The "social background" of collège pupils: confrontation of sources

Pascale Poulet-Coulibando

This study compares the information on the social background of children, provided by two sources, the INSEE Employment Survey and the Ministry of National Education's"scolarité" system. The general divisions between social backgrounds provided by both sources concur. However, they differ in their way of taking into account persons most alienated from employment. The "scolarité" system considers them as "inactive" while the Employment survey classifies them in low qualified posts.
This study walso makes it possible to paint a panorama of the social background of young people starting collège.

Territorial fragmentations and social inequalities: complex relations between spatial distribution, schooling conditions and academic success

Sylvain Broccolichi, Choukri Ben-Ayed, Catherine Mathey-Pierre, Danièle Trancart

How does academic success vary according to the place of schooling, notably at the start and completion of collège studies? How should the noted differences be analysed? These questions have been studied both on the basis of statistical comparisons and field surveys. Measuring the gaps between observed and expected results, given the social characteristics of pupils' families, and based on several geographical divisions, has a remarkable scope among two minority groups of departments. Departments in which the results are clearly lower than expected are much more urban and segregated. Disparities between collèges and inequalities in academic performance according to social background are exacerbated, while they are considerably reduced in more rural territories experiencing academic overachievement.
Variations in academic performance according to the place of schooling are more marked for socially disadvantaged pupils. They result from unequal occurrence of "disturbances" and families' unequal resources to prevent them. However, surveys show the possibility of overachievement in working-class areas where sustainable cooperation encourages development of solutions adapted to pupils' needs.

Democratisation of higher
education: compared evolution of the sociodemographic characteristics of baccalauréat holders and students

Olivia Sautory

Holders of a Baccalauréat S are overrepresented amongst baccalauréat holders whose parents are executives or teachers, while professional series mainly attract children of working class or unemployed parents. The high specialisation of baccalauréat series has hardly evolved since 1997. Irregardless of the baccalauréat series, the social background still plays a role in baccalauréat holders' decision to pursue further studies, to the point where higher education disciplines are socially marked than baccalauréat series. Furthermore, the role of baccalauréat series in new baccalauréat holders' highereducation orientation has been reinforced.

Historical evolution of unequal opportunities in school: methods and results revisited

Louis-André Vallet, Marion Selz

Are conclusions on the recent history of democratisation of teaching in France solid, in that they no longer depend on statistical surveys used to establish them as choices made during analyses - accuracy in subdivision of generations, clarity in descriptions of social backgrounds, or level of detail in the nomenclature of qualifications? In order to answer this question, we wanted to draw from the research done by Thélot and Vallet (2000) based on the Employment surveys alone, and establishing a refined definition for generations,. social backgrounds and levels of qualification. The response is largely positive. For instance, according to this new assessment method, figures for the "concrete" effects produced (i.e. in numbers of persons concerned) by the democratisation of schools should be revised down. Most of all, the fact that agricultural workers and non-qualified workers were separated, highlights the extent to which changes in the schooling of children from agricultural categories impact the democratisation of teaching.

Progression in the primary level population between 2006 and 2015

Chantal Brutel, Bernadette Hée

Projections for pupil populations at primary level mainly depend on demographics, and particularly on forthcoming births. The second factor, with a much lessened effect, is the evolution of two-year old school starters and backwardness at school. The number of children aged 2 to 10 that can attend primary school in France is expected to rise by 202,000 over the next 5 years, and then fall by 117,000 between 2010 and 2015, as the number of women of childbearing age is expected to drop. Supposing that the rate of two-year old school starters and cases of backwardness at school remain stable, the evolution in the number of pupils is expected to be on the same scale as the demographic evolution. This implies a rise of 195 000 pupils between 2005 and 2010, followed by a lower drop from 104,000 pupils between 2010 and 2015. As a result, in 2015, the primary level is expected to accommodate 91,000 more pupils than it did at the start of the 2005 school year.

2006-2015: forecasted increase in the secondary level population as of 2010

Laure Ferrait

Today, the population of pupils in secondary schools is more sensitive to variations in the size of generations than to the education policy which influences the path chosen by pupils. In particular, each collège pupil is expected to complete the full collège program, with a large majority reaching Training Level V.
A single projection scenario is studied here, at the horizon of 2015. It adopts and extends in a moderate manner, the main evolution hypotheses used for the short term.
Over the next ten years, the pupil population in public and private teaching institutions under the authority of the national education system, is expected to fall by - 154,000 pupils. More specifically, the numbers should continue falling until the start of the 2009 school year, before rising over the 2010 to 2015 period. 64 % of those who started sixième in 2006 will reach the baccalauréat level by taking up training paths offered by the ministry, and over 72 % taking into account all the training courses offered by the education system (national education, agriculture and apprenticeships).

Long-term population projections in the main higher education fields: 2006 to 2015 school years

Benoît Leseur

At the start of the 2005 school year, the number of students registered in the four main higher education training courses was stabilised (- 0.1 %).
A first assessment of the population in the main higher education fields in ten years' time shows the continuation of current trends in terms of student orientation, while taking into account demographic evolutions. In this first trend scenario, in ten years' time we would see a 1.7% drop in the number of students in the main higher education fields. In universities (excluding IUT), there would be 1,329, 800 students, i.e. 22,000 fewer students than in 2005.
Starting from 2007, a second projected scenario has been constructed at the horizon of 2015, in line with the prospect of better supervised orientation of holders of general baccalauréats in higher education. This includes restricted pursuit of short IUT and STS courses, in favour of university (excluding IUT) studies. For holders of technological baccalauréats, preference will be given to orientation towards short STS and IUT courses. Those who achieved good passes in the technical baccalauréat will be oriented towards STS. This scenario is also in line with the prospect of reducing university failure by orienting struggling first-year university students (excluding those in IUT), either towards IUT or STS paths. This voluntarist scenario would result in a university population of 1,326,800 students (excluding IUT). In all, the population in the four main fields of higher education would fall by 1.3 % in 10 years' time.

Employment-training prospects at the horizon of 2015: latest results, new approach

Claude Sauvageot, in collaboration with Sylvère Chirache, DEPP and Ahmed Ait-Kaci, BIPE

The employment-training prospective studies carried out by the Bureau d'information et de previsions économiques - BIPE (Office for Information and Economic Forecasting) use certain macroeconomic scenarios to draw up forecasts on the demand for youth recruitment for all levels of qualification. The last study specifies the volume of this recruitment according to professional fields. Various sectors are expected to increase noticeably: construction-public works, civil service-legal professions, personal services, teaching, business and healthcare. The required level of training will be higher than that currently seen in those leaving the education system. The number of students leaving the education system will remain higher than recruitment needs, allowing leeway for training-employment policies. However, there may be tensions mainly on the high levels of training in some regions and socio-professional branches.

Perception of the education system and future projects for children of immigrants

Jean-Paul Caille

Seven years after their entry in sixième, the children of immigrants have an outlook on their academic past and their professional and university future which, as is the case for other young people, depends largely on their academic situation, but which nevertheless has its own particularities Professional lycée students or those who have already left the school system, are more negative than other young people in their judgment of their academic orientation : For them, the latter seemed to have resulted more from their academic performance rather than their personal choice, and they express feelings of injustice more frequently. Whatever their academic situation, children of immigrants give a more critical assessment of their last school. They also differ from other pupils in their future projects. They are more eager to pursue a higher education and have a different vision of their future professions. These boys and girls prefer commercial and administrative roles and reject working class situations more latantly.

Initial training, orientations and qualifications from 1985 to 2002

Sébastien Durier,Pascale Poulet-Coulibando

The level of training among French young people has largely progressed between 1985 and 1995 and has stabilised in recent years. There were twice as many students with
higher education qualifications in 1996 than in 1985, representing in 2001, close to 38% of a particular age group. These advances stem from the fact that different stages of the academic path have been open to larger groups of young people. At the same time, towards the late 1980s, young people were more numerous in quatrième and troisième classes, were oriented, in most cases, towards general or technological secondary studies, then achieved better baccalauréat passes, largely pursued further studies and lastly, got better results in their higher education studies. At the same time, professional study fields accommodated slightly fewer, but more qualified young people, who largely reached baccalauréat level.
After 1990, the population of quatrième and troisième pupils continued to grow, success rates in exams continued expanding globally, but on the other hand, orientations at the end of troisième changed. Families have shown a renewed interest in professional study fields, a factor which has been mostly beneficial for apprenticeships.
The increasingly high level of qualifications achieved and longer studies pursued have particularly affected the last "baby-boom" generations. For instance, those in generation 1974 studied 1.7 year more than their 1966 elders, and finished their initial training with higher qualifications. As a result, the population of those leaving initial training was below 700,000 between 1987 and 1994, while those generations had over 860,000 young people in that age group. Later on, the stabilisation of the duration of studies resulted in a yearly number of leavers of around 780,000, equalling the generations of that age group.

New management personnel that were successful in the 2002 competitive exams: origin, posting and vision of the profession in June 2004, following two years' placement

Michèle Thaurel-Richard

The new management personnel that were successful in 2002 competitive exams, are men for the most part. 69 % are former secondary level teachers and 11 % come from the primary level. Three-quarters remained in their académie.
This exam strongly attracted main education advisors (CPE) and professional lycée teachers (PLP), many of whom have more than the agrégation qualification. Apart from PLP, the feminisation observed is less obvious than in the professional body from which they come.
Two-thirds of the winners had responsibilities outside of the National Education system and a third had coordination or training responsibilities within the National Education system. The winners were posted as deputies, more in collèges (71 %) than in lycées (19 %). Generally speaking, men and holders of the agrégation were placed in more well-paid or attractive institutions. Ideally, their vision of the profession is to conduct a pedagogic educational policy, but in reality, administrative responsibilities occupy most of their time.
Practically all of them wish to pursue this career, with the majority wanting to quickly become school directors.
Mise à jour : février 2020