French schools fail social inequalities test

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The French education ministry on Friday published its latest detailed evaluation of school performance and the prospects of pupils leaving the academic system. Much of it is alarming reading; every year, about 140,000 young people leave the French educational system without any qualifications and there are now 900,000 people aged between 15 and 29 who are neither in education, nor training, nor actively seeking employment. The report concludes that French pupils from lower social categories are at a greater academic disadvantage than those in other similar European countries. Lucie Delaporte reports.

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The publication last year of the results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the regular global education survey by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), caused something of an electroshock in France. For it revealed that among the 65 countries studied, it was France’s school children whose social situation most determined their academic performance.