As France cancels exams, SNES-FSU demands a solution fair to students and teachers

3 April 2020

The COVID 19 outbreak is a public health crisis quite different than anything Europe has faced for many years. As education personnel and their trade unions grapple with the outbreak, we are supporting and informing member organisations in any way we can.

As the COVID-19 shutdown drags on, European education authorities are faced with tough choices about end-of-year exams. The French Ministry of Education is cancelling exams used to assign grades for the Baccalauréat school-leaving certificate, proposing instead to use marks already collected in continuous assessment. ETUCE member organisation SNES-FSU is lobbying the government for a solution that does not unfairly penalise the students who expected to sit exams this year, especially those in poorer or more vulnerable communities.

However, the union fears that the government will push ahead with an approach which includes continuous assessment marks from the third term (the period most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak). This could exacerbate the ‘school effect’, widening inequalities of attainment between students of schools which operate in different socioeconomic contexts. SNES-FSU calls for a bespoke solution for the 2020 session where a student’s social and family environment is considered.

Countries across Europe are facing similar questions. This case shows how important it is that governments and education institutions consult fully with education trade unions when deciding on their exit strategy from confinement measures and the next steps for exam and qualification systems. Education personnel and their representatives are experts on the daily realities in schools and other education institutions, and they are well placed to assess the impact of any measures, especially on the most vulnerable students. In times of crisis meaningful social dialogue is more important than even.

SNES-FSU also calls for a carefully planned end to school closures which protects the health and safety and teachers and students, including in the new academic year.

See SNES-FSU’s full statement.

Get in touch

The ETUCE Secretariat sends solidarity to all teachers, academics and other education personnel and their education trade unions as they react to and tackle this unprecedented crisis. We invite ETUCE member organisations to inform the ETUCE Secretariat about the challenges you face, how you are responding, which good practices you have developed and can share with colleagues, as well as your needs for support from the ETUCE family. Contact ETUCE at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..