At the Sorbonne, Emmanuel Macron gives his roadmap for the school
The academy rectors probably did not expect such a mission sheet. In an opening speech at their traditional back-to-school meeting – to which he was invited for the first time – Emmanuel Macron named them as the instigators of a “cultural revolution” where they should be “bearers of good news” and “facilitators” of projects. The latter welcomed the remarks of the President of the Republic with a long standing ovation.
This new kind of address to rectors is a way for Emmanuel Macron to reaffirm that he has placed educational subjects at the heart of this second five-year term, but also to readjust his position in relation to them. After a first council of ministers placed under the seal of the “end of abundance”school issues are also now being addressed in a less combative and more twilight tone: where the former Minister of Education was only listing the multiple transformations undertaken since 2017, Emmanuel Macron, after having recalled them all, has added that they would not be enough – that the teachers were missing and that the inequalities were still glaring.
The President of the Republic mentioned both the students “unhappy”professors “disillusioned” and parents of students “worried”. “Something is wrong in our collective organization”, added the president, who regretted that the education system is now marked by the reciprocal mistrust of its actors. A call to “lucidity” in the form of a confession “of failure”, to better announce future transformations. The clearly stated objective is to move towards a school that is freer, more autonomous and more flexible – more liberal, its detractors will say.
The presidential speech suggests that the school overhaul concerns all levels, from kindergarten to high school. In the early ages of schooling, Emmanuel Macron calls for more room for child development. In primary school, he insists on the importance of fundamentals and recalls the ambition, announced in 2021 and which will materialize from this start of the school year, to establish a daily half-hour of sport. In college, he evokes the establishment of half-days intended for the discovery of trades, from the fifth, to improve the orientation of adolescents – with a word for school bullying, which is particularly rampant in this age group. In high school, he recalls his ambition to strengthen the place of maths, a discipline that has already returned to the common core of the first year after having disappeared for a time in the high school reform.
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