Living in the Languedoc: Education: Regional and Devolved Powers
France has been engaged in a process of decentralisation.
This has brought a small degree of flexibility to what was generally accepted to be uniform, monolithic education system.
Some power is now given to regional and other local authorities (still under the authority of the National Education Minister.)
Recteurs d'académie, who correspond Chief Education Officers in UK or Commissioners of Education in the US, are responsible for schools in each of the 30 education areas (académies).
Each year they receive from Paris a sum of money for each item of expenditure, which they then allocate to various educational establishments.
Since 1999, decentralisation of the management of teachers' careers has given the recteurs responsibility of assigning new teaching posts and promoting and moving teachers between schools within their académie.
Collèges and lycées, but not primary schools, have become local public education establishments (EPLE - établissements publics locaux d'enseignement) which are legal entities enjoying financial autonomy.
They have also acquired greater educational autonomy in that each school draws up an "establishment project" setting out how it is implementing the national objectives and curricula; this enables them to match their courses more closely to the children in their school and so better address their specific needs.
Decentralisation Acts have also increased the role of the elected local authorities, i.e. regional, departmental and communal assemblies which have substantial budgets of their own.
Today they fund about 20% of the total cost of education.
Each tier of local authority is responsible for a level of education.
Communes are responsible for primary- and nursery-school building, equipment and maintenance, and for paying non-teaching staff.
Departments are responsible for building, equipping and maintaining collèges, and financing the school transport system.
Regions have these same responsibilities for the lycées and contribute to education planning (regional training plan, forward investment programme).
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