Pap Ndiaye Announces “Big Debates” About School

On June 10, the Minister of National Education traveled to Vienne and announced major debates in schools at the beginning of the school year to open the institutions to their communities. It is a matter of “fighting educational inequalities” and “projecting the world of education into a new dynamic”. Words similar to those of E Macron in Marseille on June 2. Is this the return of the Thélot commission, almost 20 years later?

autumn gatherings

“From September or October, our plan is to launch the big debates about school. Not to hold a Grenelle on education, a high mass in Paris, but rather closer to local demands and the field, to propose devices in the alliance between the school and the extracurricular.” While visiting Vouneuil-sous-Biard (86), in support of LREM candidate Sacha Houlié, Pap Ndiaye announced that it would hold meetings in the branches in the fall of 2022.

The minister’s comments implicitly criticize the large masses organized by JM Blanquer. But they are following the line drawn by E Macron. In Marseille, Emmanuel Macron said on June 2 that he wanted to collect the opinion of teachers and school actors (mayors, parents, associations) in the residential areas, that is, at the level of intercommunalities. Since then, the project seems to have evolved towards an even more local scale, at the branch level.

Open the school to the community

For Pap Ndiaye, it is a matter of forging links between the school and the extracurricular for educational success. But also to unlock innovations, as E Macron had said. Pap Ndiaye wants to “fight against inequalities in education and project the world of education in a new dynamic, to take it out of a form of gloom partly related to the health crisis… This will be the opportunity, in every school in France , to propose and propose what can be done at the level of the institutions so that these sometimes dilated ties can be renewed. I will be very attentive to this, I myself will also be a minister on the ground.” †

A remake of the Thélot debates?

Education experienced a first attempt at major local debates. This was the adventure of the Thélot Commission. From autumn 2003 to spring 2004, the committee organized local debates as part of the “national debate on the school”. In total, almost 26,000 meetings took place. They lead to a summary that was submitted to the minister in April 2004.

What does she say ? “Smaller classes help to better motivate the students… The fun is driving but the effort is necessary…” A large part of the observations concerns what we will qualify, if we are nice, of consensus common sense, so less so, proof. From all this, C. Thélot thinks he can identify some collective requirements. “The French… demand that the School be much more concerned with the students’ mastery of what they need to know. In that sense, the School needs to shift its emphasis somewhat: no longer just to convey, but to ensure mastery The school should not only instruct… but also educate: it should teach the students rules of conduct… The school appears to be too opaque”.

The real problem of the committee is the establishment of common ground. But the Commission was ultimately rejected by the minister, François Fillon, who passed a law proposing a very watered-down version of the base.

An outdated view of school

10 years later, Claude Thélot returns to this experience, during a colloquium organized by the AFAE. In order for all students to succeed, it is necessary for him to “liberate the initiatives of teachers and heads of institutions” thanks to the autonomy of institutions by relying on “active educational minorities” against the unions. “It is not reasonable to entrust certain unions with too much importance,” he says.

Twenty years later, the same scene seems to be preparing. A major broken-down debate, resulting in a government-only law. The desire to divide teachers in order to break the influence of unions, seen as champions of resistance. The “liberation from experiment” discourse and the old quarrels seem completely out of step with the expectations of a disaster-ridden profession, to say the least. The minister did not see it and adhered to the Elysian roadmap.

Francois Jarraud

In France Blue

In the echoes

About the Thélot Commission

In 2014 the AFAE congress

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