How can Inequalities of Access to Education be Reduced inside Mainstream Education by Integrating Elements of the Private Sector?

Denis Poizat


In France, for decades, a part of the education of children and teenagers living with a disability was entrusted to the professionals of the private sphere. With the aim of reducing the disparities of access to compulsory education, the French law passed on February 11, 2005, recommends that children living with a disability are schooled in the mainstream State educational system. The number of children with a handicap schooled in ordinary sector amounts to 279,000 in 2016 – against 155,000 at the end of 2006. Is this important increase correlated to a transformation of the private educational sphere? Was there, during the last decade, an increase of the role of the private sector in the increase of the number of children schooled in mainstream school? We shall analyze the evolution of the private sector input in public education regarding inclusive education at a macro level.
On a micro level, we will also examine a new structure of education embedded into the mainstream pre-schooling system, which contains private elements (managed by the central administration of education, Lyon city council, and a private non-profit organization). This organization is called Unité d’Education Maternelle (U. E. M., Preschool Education Unit) François Truffaut, in Lyon, France.  The national social backdrop of this article is crucial, given that we now live in a context of augmentation of prevalence and incidence of some difficulties (dyslexia, dyspraxia, etc.) and an increasing need for recognition of diversity. A lack of vocational and professional training of teachers, as well as a lack of medical schools recently underlined by the Academy of medicine in France represent some of the main aspects of this backdrop.  At the same time, the technical and medical resources available in the university hospitals in France allow for the survival of highly premature babies who require a very high level of medical investment – many children who would not have survived fifteen years ago live today with, for a big part of this population, specific needs in Education. The new population of the pre-schooling area is changing quite quickly and the question of the private and non-profit sector in education is now crucial.


inequalities; education; mainstream education; private sector

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