FOLLOWING the recent demonstration by one and a half million people in the streets of Paris in favour of retaining private schools, the French Senate has given its approval to a call for a referendum on the subject.
For almost two years, the Education Minister M. Alain Savary has been attempting to find a formula for the reform of the private school system (which represents about 15 per cent of the education sector) which is acceptable to all sides. However, the Catholic Church has continually rejected his proposals (92 per cent of private schools are run by Catholic teaching orders).
Last month the National Assembly passed M Savary's proposals, but the Senate's decision now means that the President will have to decide if a referendum can be held.
In a recent opinion poll, 72 per cent of those questioned said that they were in favour of the continued existence of private schools in the present form.