France will have 2,000 fewer primary classes at the start of the next school year, indicates the SNUipp-FSU, the main union in the sector. For the Minister of National Education, Pap Ndiaye, this is partly justified by demographics, as he explained on Tuesday April 11 on RTL: “We have to look at a reality, it is the drop in the birth rate for ten years. We will lose up to 500,000 students over the five-year period”.
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The minister says (almost) true. And to understand this figure, we must turn to other statistics. France experienced a peak in births in 2010 and since then there has been an almost continuous drop in the number of births: 821,000 in 2012 compared to 712,000 in 2022. 2022 was also a historic year, since it n There have never been so few births since 1946, according to INSEE. This decrease is mainly explained by the decrease in the number of women of childbearing age.
73,000 fewer pupils in primary school at the start of the 2023-2024 school year
Fewer births today means fewer children enrolled in school three years from now. This is why for the moment this drop in the birth rate mainly affects primary education, from the small section to CM2. In middle school and high school, the decline should begin to be felt in 2025.
The Ministry of National Education already expects to lose 73,000 primary school students (private and public) at the start of the next school year, in September. Almost all the academies will lose students, but especially those of Paris, Lille, Amiens, Besançon and Normandy. Only Guyana and especially Mayotte will gain students.
Overall, for all students, from kindergarten to terminale, a decrease is to be expected in the years to come. According to the National Education Statistical Service, we will go from 12 million students currently to 11.5 million, in four years at the end of Emmanuel Macron’s five-year term. It is therefore 475,000 fewer students, a figure close to the 500,000 announced by Pap Ndiaye.