“France, champion of inequality in education” lamented Le Figaro. “The OECD paints a damning picture of education in France” said Les Echos. “France stagnates in education matters”, moaned L’Express.
The Education At A Glance 2011 report, published on Tuesday, provided plenty of statistics for commentators to analyse and most drew negative conclusions.
L’Express highlighted the fact that France is one of the few countries to have seen its enrolment rate of 15-19 year olds fall between 1995 and 2009, from 89 to 84 percent. Overall, this rate increased in other OECD countries by 9 percent.
“13 percent of young people are completely outside the school system, that’s 130,00 a year” said Bernard Hugonnier, education director at the OECD. He described the rate as a “macabre permanent feature” of the French system.
Le Parisien said that the OECD was “warning France” in its latest report. The newspaper pointed out that France was 33rd out of a total of 34 countries when it came to inequalities in the school system (New Zealand came in last).
For Le Monde, the story in the data was that 1995 was the year that the quality of education in France either stagnated or started declining.
Midi Libre chose to lead on the fact that teachers’ salaries in France have fallen in real terms since 1995 while they have “risen in two-thirds of other countries”, according to Eric Charbonnier, an education analyst at the OECD quoted by the newspaper.
Catholic daily La Croix managed to pull out one sliver of positive news from the report. It reported that 84 percent of adults have a good secondary education level qualification, better than the OECD average of 81 percent.