“For school and purchasing power” – Bertrand Munier’s gallery

It’s not surprising that concerns about “purchasing power” have emerged in the recent presidential election campaign. That the theme of school has also been given a place in campaign arguments is more surprising – pleasant – given that the subject has been ignored for decades.

On the other hand, no connection seems to have been drawn between purchasing power and scientific results of a scientific type. However, research in all countries of the world has been able to measure with remarkable precision the impact on the growth of a general culture with a scientific tone. It is from primary school to the beginning of higher education that this work deserves to be printed. Three points seem essential to give precise direction to both reformers and teachers.

Scientific deficiency. The first concerns the scientific disadvantage of primary education. The decrees organizing the school teacher recruitment competitions made it possible until the 2022 session to access a post of school teacher without skills in mathematics or in any scientific subject. Fortunately, that has just changed: a written mathematics test is planned from 2022. Even then, it is only a third-level program of the colleges, which has hardly been adapted. It would be desirable to open at least one of the primary school teacher recruitment competitions to more candid scientific profiles, without however giving preference only to mathematics, on the contrary.

Working school systems are those that give meaning to the freedom of schools in combination with their collective responsibility, under the authority of a headmaster with room for decision-making.

The second point concerns vocational education. Most of the reforms announced, sometimes vociferously, leave troubling mistakes that keep vocational training adjustment in the shadows. One of the main reasons is the non-existence of professional high school boarding schools. It’s pretty obvious that no high school can offer all the specialties of the subject. However, we often think of specializing high schools according to local industries, which can lead to frustration when it comes to “assigning” a job to a young person for geographical reasons only. We have to accept that older adolescents move to train in the way that will open them up, which presupposes boarding schools.

Finally, let’s look at the facts around us: the school systems that work are those that give meaning to the freedom of schools in combination with their collective responsibility, under the authority of a headmaster with discretion.

Quality of life. At the cost of reforms of the type outlined here, we could imagine finding school and college results and an education system worthy of a country like France. Thanks to the culture with a scientific tone that would result for everyone, one could also hope, with greater justice and social stability, for an economic growth better able to guarantee the standard of living to which our fellow citizens aspire. So many questions suggesting new strategies to ensure effective training and sustainable purchasing power.

Bertrand Munier is pEmeritus professor of the universities, former director of economics at the ENS de Paris-Saclay, chairman of the scientific council of the Maurice Allais Foundation. “Training and economic growth” will be the theme of the 4e edition of the Ateliers Maurice Allais, organized on June 3, with the participation of several economists: Stefanie Stantcheva, Bertrand Munier, Ludger Woessman and Xavier Fontanet.

Leave a Comment