Universal Periodic Review of France

This report is a contribution by Brokenchalk to the fourth Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of  France. Broken Chalk is an Amsterdam-based NGO established in 2020 and focused on raising awareness and minimizing human rights violations in the educational field. Our goal is to work together with global partners to remove barriers to access to education and to take concrete steps to ensure universal access to education. Therefore, this report will focus on human rights violations in regards to education in France.


  1. Broken Chalk is a non-profit organisation that focuses on developing each country’s educational system to improve the level of human rights on the global level. Therefore, this report will focus on education. By drafting this report, Broken Chalk intends to assist with France’s 4th Universal Periodic Review [UPR]. First, the report will analyse the most important issues that France faces regarding the Right to Education. Then, it will shed light on some issues that should be solved by the French government. Finally, Broken Chalk will provide a few recommendations to France to further improve education.
  2. In the last review of France of 2017, the Republic of France received 89 recommendations and observations from 7 different human rights mechanisms, that focused on education and other issues such as gender gap, discrimination and human trafficking, which affect education’s access, outputs, and outcomes.
  3. The French educational system is based on the principles of the 1789 revolution. Indeed, the structure of the French educational system can be traced back to Napoleon’s First Empire (1804-1815)[i]. The educational system is divided into three stages: primary education, secondary education, and higher education. In France, most of its elementary and secondary schools, as well as its universities, are public institutions that have highly centralized administrations[ii]. Moreover, the curricula at primary and secondary schools are standardised across all schools, for a given grade.
  4. The Preamble to the French Constitution stipulates that it is the “state’s duty to provide free, non-religious public education at every level”[iii]. Therefore, the state must develop a clear roadmap for the training routes, national programmes, organisation and content of curricula. It must also lead and evaluate education policies to ensure overall consistency of the education system.

[i] Educational Policies: France (2014)

[ii] French Ministry of Education

[iii] European Agency; Fundamental principles of the French educational system

by Faical Al Azib

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Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay

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