Reconnecting with our French colleagues

ENOHE et la France

Late October ENOHE President Josef Leidenfrost visited the Office of the National and Higher Education Ombuds in France (la médiatrice de l’éducation nationale et de l’enseignement supérieur) as part of the ‘reaching out’ initiative under Board of ENOHE’s annual work plan.

Here Josef met with head of office, médiatrice Catherine Becchetti-Bizot, to touch base in situ after their first virtual contacts during spring 2022.

The main aims of the rendez-vous were to get acquainted with each other’s main tasks and duties and to refresh ENOHE’s collaboration with our French colleagues.

During an extensive conversation at the office headquarters in Paris-Vanves the participants talked about past events and possible future collaborations between ENOHE and mediatrices/médiateurs within the French higher education sector.

The French National Ombuds’ broad scope of tasks

The Office of the National and Higher Education Ombuds in France can be contacted in the event of a dispute, if you are a parent of a pupil, a pupil, a student, or an adult in training. Also, national education and higher education staff active within teaching, as well as administrative, technical, labor, health, library, and museum staff can address their issues to the médiatrice.

From kindergarten to higher education, the office receives requests concerning the functioning of the French public service of national education.

Individuals can refer an issue to the respective Academy’s mediator and ask the mediator to contest a decision made by an institution (school, college, high school, university, etc.) or a service under an academy (direction of departmental services of national education, rectorate, Centre Régional des Oevres Universitaires et Scolaires, etc.). The same procedure applies if you have a dispute with a peer or a member of the education system.

Persons who want to contest decisions made by the Ministry (Direction Générale des Resources Humaines, pension service, etc.), the Network of French institutions abroad and the inter-academic service for examinations and competitions (SIEC) can also refer such decisions straight to the médiatrice.

According to Code de l’éducation instituant les médiateurs dans l’éducation nationale et dans l’enseignement supérieur, the médiatrice has to send and present an annual report to the ministers of education and higher education. The annual report about 2021 was published July 2022.

Reconnecting with France

During the meeting in Paris a fruitful exchange of experiences took place through the sharing of information about our respective organisations’ activities. A quick follow-up will certainly help future working relations between ENOHE and French higher education Ombuds.

ENOHE President Josef Leidenfrost explained that the European colleagues would be very pleased if the network could again have French representatives in its organization’s activities. Next year’s ENOHE annual conference in Prague 14-16 June 2023 would be a natural starting point for this.

Madame la Médiatrice, Catherine Becchetti-Bizot, showed her interest in activities on the European level and asked to be kept informed about forthcoming ENOHE events. This information will then be distributed among the French networks.

ENOHE had its first French conference speaker during our annual conference in London in 2008.

Options for potential future ENOHE annual conference sites in France was also discussed and will be evaluated further in the future.

The first ENOHE annual conference held in France was our annual conference in 2017 in Strasbourg. The conference took place inside the building of the European Parliament and was co-organized by Université de Strasbourg.