Report submitted by France

The national report deals with education three times, twice concerning Human Rights Education.

9. Human rights education is vital if citizens are to be aware of their rights. It is dispensed through curricula and educational activities based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the fundamental treaties. For example, civics is taught in the primary and middle school curricula, and civics, law and social studies are taught in high school.

10. These are supplemented by other educational activities organized on an occasional basis. Since 1988, the René Cassin Human Rights Prize has been awarded by the CNCDH and the Directorate of School Education for the best projects on a human rights theme submitted by middle and high school pupils. The prize may also be awarded for projects on the memory of the slave trade and slavery. To mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the subject of the prize for 2008 is “1948-2008: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights today”. As part of the planned programme of educational activities for 2007-2008, schools are encouraged to take part in national and international awareness days on human rights. This year, awareness-raising activities in schools have focused on the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Lastly, CNIL has worked closely with the Ministry of National Education and the Children’s Ombudsman to plan human rights awareness activities in schools on the subject of protection of personal data.

42. With regard to the right to education, a Ministry of Education circular dated 25 April 2002 recalled that ordinary law applied to all travellers’ children. They are required to attend school, regardless of the length of stay and location where they are living, and must comply with the same rules on attendance as other pupils. A national survey (2003) showed an increase in school attendance, which varied according to regional education authority, and was especially marked at lower secondary school level. Children whose families have set up their quarters a long way from any school structure, or who travel a great deal, may benefit from 1 of the 42 mobile school units. Intermediary mechanisms exist to provide a “bridge” to the standard curriculum. In each regional education authority an inspector/coordinator is tasked with facilitating, at local level, the enforcement of legal instruments and there are special teachers and special posts to support travellers in many regional educational authorities.

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