France is to make it compulsory for three-year olds to attend preschool. French President, Emmanuel Macron, announced at an early childhood education conference in Paris that a regulation to this effect will come into force in summer 2019. Almost no other country requires children to attend preschool at such a young age. Compulsory schooling in France begins, as in Germany, at age six. But educational success in France rests more heavily than in Germany on family background and social environment – an enduring negative trend that is substantiated by PISA studies. This reform is aimed at addressing this problem and at supporting equal opportunities.
Currently, approximately 97 per cent of three-year-olds already attend preschool and this new regulation aims to reach the remaining three per cent. Preschools, unlike kindergartens, are free of charge, and it is hoped that making attendance compulsory will particularly counteract differences in language development.
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