“An education in secularism experienced as a call to order would risk fueling tensions”

Tribune. The assassination of Samuel Paty on October 16, 2020, tragically put back on the agenda the question of the sometimes frictional relationship between religious and educational institution. As from 1989 to 2004 after the repeated crises around the Islamic headscarf at school, as in 2003 after the think tank on the application of the principle of secularism, chaired by Bernard Stasi [ministre et parlementaire, disparu en 2011], and as it had done following the attacks of January 2015, national education responded to this terrorist act by the need to educate in secularism. Such a pedagogical affirmation, which seems obvious today, is in fact very recent.

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Indeed, until the 1980s, secularism was only a very marginal aspect of school programs – including civic education programs, re-established as such in 1985 in primary education. The measures of secularization of the educational institution, taken a century earlier from the 1880s, were progressive and centered on the secularization of the teaching, the premises and the teachers of the public school. Secularism was, in this context, much more of an organizational principle than an educational object. The end of teacher training colleges in 1989 even set back training in the secular principle of teachers, which tended to flow back into university teacher training institutes (IUFM) where teachers were trained from 1990 to 2013.

Obligatory passage

The “pedagogization” of secularism, that is to say its transformation into an object of education, owes a lot to the tensions introduced by the Creil affair in the fall of 1989, when three veiled schoolgirls also fueled the debate. politics than media passions. Because the progressive ban on so-called conspicuous religious symbols in public schools, from the Bayrou circular in 1994, had to be explained to the pupils, the first to be affected by these measures. Likewise, the growing fear of religious contestations of the course, within the educational institution, present in the collective work of teachers entitled The Lost Territories of the Republic (Thousand and One Nights, 2002), the Stasi report in 2003 and the report led by the Inspector General of National Education, Jean-Pierre Obin [ancien inspecteur général de l’éducation nationale], in 2004.

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The effects have been clear since 2012, the year of publication of a report commissioned by the Ministry of National Education to the philosopher Abdennour Bidar – now Inspector General -, and significantly entitled For a pedagogy of secularism at school. The secular reference has become an obligatory passage in a number of school programs, in particular that of moral and civic education in force since 2015. The charter of secularism, introduced by Minister Vincent Peillon at the start of the 2013 school year, symbolizes the fusion of concern regulatory and educational desire: it is both a document displayed in all classes of public schools, in order to recall the secular rules of the educational institution, and an educational support.

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Ray Richard

Head of technical department in some websites, I have been in the field of electronic journalism for 12 years and I am interested in travel, trips and discovering the world of technology.

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