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France:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

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Overview France

Contents

France:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

France:Historical Development

France:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

France:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

France:Political and Economic Situation

France:Organisation and Governance

France:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

France:Lifelong Learning Strategy

France:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

France:Organisation of Private Education

France:National Qualifications Framework

France:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

France:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

France:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

France:Funding in Education

France:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

France:Higher Education Funding

France:Adult Education and Training Funding

France:Early Childhood Education and Care

France:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

France:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

France:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

France:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

France:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

France:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

France:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

France:Primary Education

France:Organisation of Primary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

France:Assessment in Primary Education

France:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

France:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

France:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

France:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

France:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

France:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

France:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

France:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

France:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

France:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

France:Higher Education

France:Types of Higher Education Institutions

France:First Cycle Programmes

France:Bachelor

France:Short-Cycle Higher Education

France:Second Cycle Programmes

France:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

France:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

France:Adult Education and Training

France:Distribution of Responsibilities

France:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

France:Main Providers

France:Main Types of Provision

France:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

France:Teachers and Education Staff

France:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

France:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

France:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

France:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Management and Other Education Staff

France:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

France:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

France:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

France:Management Staff for Higher Education

France:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

France:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Quality Assurance

France:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

France:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

France:Educational Support and Guidance

France:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

France:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

France:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

France:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

France:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

France:Mobility and Internationalisation

France:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Mobility in Higher Education

France:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

France:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

France:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

France:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

France:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

France:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

France:National Reforms in School Education

France:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

France:National Reforms in Higher Education

France:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

France:European Perspective

France:Legislation

France:Glossary

The main national institutions are: the Presidency of the Republic, the Government and Parliament. These institutions are responsible for drafting and implementing national policies.
On the local level, France is divided into twenty-two regions each consisting of two to eight départements and several municipalities; since the eighties, the State has transferred some of its competences to these local authorities. As has already been said, the major territorial reform brought in by François Hollande and his government will produce a map of France comprising 13 extensive metropolitan regions as against the present 22.

Breakdown of competences on the national level

Since 2000, the President of the Republic is elected for five years (instead of 7 years, as before) by direct universal suffrage, with an absolute majority of votes expressed. He/she appoints the Prime Minister and, on the latter's proposal, the other members of the government. The draft organic law setting out the means by which the President of the Republic might be removed from office in the event of serious misdemeanour was definitively adopted by the Senate on 21 October 2014. It can apply to the President’s private life as well as his political behaviour, as long as acts concerned are seen to detract from the dignity of his office. Henceforth, he can be removed from office by Parliament.

The Prime Minister, head of government, answers to the National Assembly which can overthrow him/her. According to the Constitution (article 20), "the government determines and steers through the Nation's policy". However, in practice, the President of the Republic is the real head of the executive even though his/her responsibility cannot be challenged before the National Assembly which cannot overthrow him/her.
Within the government, the Minister for National Education, Higher Education and Research'.

Parliament has legislative power. It consists of the National Assembly and the Senate. Deputies are elected by direct universal suffrage, based on a majority single-name vote in two rounds, within a constituency. Senators are elected by indirect universal suffrage, within the département. The length of their term was fixed at 6 years in 2008.

The 1958 Constitution defines a domain of the law (article 34) that falls within the competence of the legislator (the Parliament) and a domain of regulation (article 37) that lies with executive power, i.e. government. As regards education, only the "fundamental principles of education" fall within the law. As such, two major guidance laws have been voted in the past twenty years (law no 89-486 of 10 July 1989, the law no 2005-380 of 23 April 2005 and the law no 2013-595 of 8 July 2013), which define the major principles and objectives of the education system. But, within the aforementioned general framework, the definition and implementation of education policy are the responsibility of government whereas Parliament only intervenes for the annual vote of Education Department's budget.


Distribution of competences within local authorities

Since the 1980s (Decentralisation laws of 1982 and 1983), local authorities (regions, départements, municipalities and intercommunalities) have been given responsibilities in the management of national policies.Before the new law of 27 January 2014 (see homepage), the most recent Decentralisation law, called law relating to local liberties and responsibilities of 13 August 2004, lists the different fields of competence transferred from the national to local authority level. Several provisions affect Education. They include the creation of a Territorial Education Council (article L.239-1 of the Education Code), a consultative body chaired by the Minister and composed of representatives of the State, regions, départements, communes and public intercommunal cooperation institutions. This council may be consulted for any issues of interest to local authorities in the education field.


The Region

The law of 2 March 1982 gives the region local authority status in its own right. Since 1986, the region has an assembly voted by direct universal suffrage, called the "Regional Council". Regional councillors are elected for six years. They elect a President, who acts as the head of the regional executive. He/she prepares and executes the council's decisions.
The general competence of the region is to promote economic, social, sanitary, culture and scientific development and territorial development. As far as Education is concerned, since the laws of 1982 and 2004, it is responsible for the construction and equipment of upper secondary education institutions (lycées) as well as recruitment and management of technical staff, workers and service personnel in lycées. It helps to fund a significant share of university institutions and is also responsible for the organisation of vocational and apprenticeship training centres as well as providing information and advice on the validation of learning from experience (validation des acquis de l'expérience - VAE).
The State departments in the region have been placed under the authority of a préfet – with the exception of Education, which remain under the authority of the recteur de l’académie, whose territory more or less covers the region, depending on the case. With the law of 27 January 2014, not only does the number of regions go down from 22 to 13, but these latter become the only local authorities competent to set training and employment policies, take part in organisation of school transport, and finance the building and equipment of collèges and lycées.


The "Département"

The département is both a decentralised local authority - with an assembly elected by the population in its territory (the conseil général) - and an administrative district of the State - managed by a civil servant, appointed by the government, the préfet. The préfet is the political representative of the government in the département; as such, he/she enforces laws and informs the government about local issues
As regards education, several competences are entrusted to départements, in particular school transport, maintenance and construction of secondary schools (collèges). ). With the law of 27 January 2014, these competences will fall to the new regions as from 1 January 2015 for the metropolis of Lyon and 1 January 2016 for the metropolis of Aix-Marseille Provence and a dozen others. The metropolis of Greater Paris will come into being on 1 January 2016. France has 96 metropolitan départements and 5 overseas départements (also with regional status: Guadeloupe, Guyane, Martinique, Mayotte, La Réunion).


The "Commune" (Municipality)

The commune is a local authority, consisting of a territory and a population, which is self-administered thanks to a body elected by direct universal suffrage: the municipal council. Members of the municipal council are elected for six years. They vote for the mayor who is both the head of the communal executive and the agent of the State.
"The municipal council settles the affairs of the commune through its deliberations". In particular it is in charge of building, maintaining and administratively controlling pre-elementary and elementary schools (ISCED 0 and ISCED 1). However, its decision-making power in terms of creating schools or classes requires the approval of the State representative, i.e. the préfet of the département insofar as it is the State that allocates teaching positions. Consultation procedures are therefore set up between the State and communes, in view of jointly establishing genuine scheduling of investments and teaching positions, on the basis of education needs observed in the short- and medium-term.

Since 1 January 2014, each of France’s 36,700 municipalities has either belonged to a community of municipalities or one of the future metropolises, known as intercommunalities.