Emmanuel Macron announced Thursday that he wanted to generalize to the whole territory “the school of the future”, an educational experiment carried out in Marseille, as well as the return of maths as an “option” in First class, sketching the roadmap of the new Minister of Education Pap Ndiyae for the start of the school year.
The Head of State, who has made the school one of the major projects of his new five-year term, had chosen to go to one of the 59 establishments in Marseilles experimenting with this “school of the future” for his second field trip since his re-election, after a first devoted to health on Tuesday in Cherbourg.
“Our ambition with Mr. Minister is in the coming months to be able to generalize this approach”, which consists of providing resources while giving “more freedom, also educational to teachers”, declared Emmanuel Macron, alongside Pap Ndiaye, at the Menpenti school, located in a popular district.
It is a “method that we will generalize from the fall”, added the head of state. “The school of the Republic has the right to invent, to have flexibility, to be freer,” he insisted.
Emmanuel Macron launched the idea of ”school of the future” last September when he presented the emergency plan “Marseille en grand”, intended to help the second city of France, where the poverty rate exceeds 50% in some neighborhoods to catch up.
“The school of the future” allows establishments to set up an innovative project around culture, languages, the environment or science by giving school principals the opportunity to participate in the recruitment of their teaching staff.
At the Monponti school, kindergarten pupils discover mathematics in a fun way, by moving “robot bees” on a checkerboard.
While the president was greeted by around fifty euphoric children shouting “Macron, Macron”, around thirty demonstrators posted near the school demanded more resources for National Education.
The Marseille experiment raises many questions, in particular the idea that school principals can choose their team.
“National Education is not a sum of start-ups”, asserts Stéphane Crochet, secretary general of SE-Unsa. “This experiment seriously calls into question the national character of public schools (..) the equal treatment of staff”, adds the FO Federation of Education (FNEC FP-FO).
Faced with these criticisms, President Macron assured that school principals would not make their “own transfer window” and that “national rules” would remain.
But he defended a “new approach”, a “cultural revolution”, closer to “the reality on the ground”, where “we put all the rest of the administration at the service of those who do for our children”.
The mayor of Marseille, Benoît Payan (Left Union), welcomed Mr. Macron’s desire to “put resources on the table like no one has done before” – the state has promised 400 million euros for the renovation of schools in Marseille – and “to make children do maths, foreign languages”.
“But there are red lines: it is the school of the Republic, the equality of all schools”, underlined Mr. Payan, also saying he was “opposed” to recruitment by school directors.
The executive was also eagerly awaited on the teacher recruitment crisis, the question of remuneration and the reintroduction of mathematics in the common core in high school.
On this last point, the Head of State has decided: mathematics will return as an “option” and therefore not compulsory, at the rate of an hour and a half per week, at the start of the school year, outside the math specialty.
On the salary side – the president-candidate had promised six billion euros in this area during the campaign – “there will be an improvement in (unconditional) remuneration for all teachers”, he repeated, and specific remuneration for those who commit to this “new pact” for new projects.
The head of state also expressed his support for Pap Ndiaye, a renowned historian of minorities and the target of a barrage from the far right, who describes him as a “racialist and anti-cop activist”.
Pap Ndiaye, born in France to a Senegalese father and a French mother, embodies through his journey “what we have done” for five years and “what we want to do” for the school, particularly in terms of equal opportunity, he said, praising a “destiny of excellence”.
This was Pap Ndiaye’s first major media outing. Discreet, attentive, he found the mathematics laboratory presented “extraordinary”. “We potentially have something,” he slipped to the mayor of Marseille, Benoît Payan.
02/06/2022 16:59:11 – Marseille (AFP) – © 2022 AFP