How Pap Ndiaye seeks to revive

The Minister of Education, Pap Ndiaye, at the Elysee Palace, during a meeting of the National Council for Refoundation, December 12, 2022.

“But what is Pap Ndiaye doing? » The question has been burning the lips of part of the educational community in recent weeks. Seven months after his arrival in rue de Grenelle, the Minister of Education has endeavored to set up his ” method “ based on national consultations, concerning the salary increase for teachers, and local consultations, through the National Council for Refoundation. But the concrete measures, except for the reintroduction of mathematics in class 1re, are slow to come. Worse: the minister often appeared silent, in the shadow of Emmanuel – even Brigitte – Macron.

With his speech in The worldPap Ndiaye tries to regain control and show himself to the maneuver. “The findings are harsh”, asserts the minister. Always cautious, he strengthens his words despite everything. “Despite major advances, which have made it possible in particular to support the first years of primary school and which show encouraging results, there is still a long way to go to strengthen the republican promise of the school”, says the minister. Implicitly tackling the balance sheet of his predecessor, Jean-Michel Blanquer, he recalls that mistrust is growing towards the institution, “marked by the rise of the private sector and by the skepticism expressed by some parents”.

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Pap Ndiaye formula three “requirements” : raise the academic level of students, develop social diversity and improve the functioning of the school. In seven months, his speech has evolved. He no longer speaks of the place of fundamental knowledge but assumes the drop in the level of the pupils, “whose international comparisons reveal worrying shortcomings”.

“Confidence is far from being restored”

Beyond the roadmap set by Emmanuel Macron, he wants to make social diversity his trademark. “Objectives will be assigned to the rectors of academies, who, in conjunction with local authorities, will be able to act in particular on school assignments. Private education under contract will have to contribute to this effort”warns Pap Ndiaye, who also wants to hire “the project for the redesign of the priority education map”. The well-being of the students, barely mentioned, or the ecological transition, totally absent when it was one of its priorities in June, are no longer in the foreground.

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A speech sufficient to convince teachers? They have been waiting for action for several months. The sketches of a salary increase which would not affect the most experienced teachers or the 1,500 job cuts planned for 2023, with regard to school demographics, are fueling the anger of part of the profession. “There is no reference anywhere to the question of resources. The objective of a 10% salary increase has even disappeared”, remarks Sophie Vénétitay, head of the SNES-FSU, the main secondary school teacher union. Catherine Nave-Bekhti, of the SGEN-CFDT, may judge “interesting” the reminders on the issues of social diversity and secularism, she also finds that, “for the moment, the education budget provides for job cuts in secondary education, despite relatively stable numbers”.

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