The Covid years and the management of distance education already seem a distant memory as there are so many problems to be solved in Mayotte. The only territory in France to see the growth of school enrollments increase by 5.3%, and to have obtained 330 job creations for 2023. Present at each event and its communication, the one whose mandate was to install a rectorate will have been in empathy with the territory until the last moment. To the point of meeting his successor, which is seen only too rarely among representatives of the State. We asked him for a last interview, when he took up his post at the head of an academy which is also dear to him, Orléans.
Three and a half years, is it a lot or not enough?
Gilles Halbout: Three and a half years is very good. It leaves time to stall things, to launch actions. You shouldn’t stay too long, and settle in a kind of governorship, with the risk of doing things in everyone’s place. Long-term action belongs to elected officials. Me, I was able to launch the projects.
What were the cogs to be activated to evolve from vice-rectorate to rectorate?
Gilles Halbout: I will start with the latest achievement, the integrated payroll from January 1 of this year 2023. We are now aligned with national tools, which will limit errors.
On the educational level, it was necessary to set up national projects, such as preparatory classes, the duplication of CP-CE1, orientation, Parcoursup, the Health Access License. Whereas before, we could be derogatory, now we must not fall behind on the new measures. We were told, ‘evaluations in CP or CE1, it’s complicated, there are other priorities here’. But if we hadn’t done it, we wouldn’t be able to establish the level and put in place the appropriate policies.
Among these variations of national policies, the obligation to educate from the age of 3, and no longer from the age of 6, of the law of the School for confidence fell on a territory in great deficit of schools, since‘more than 800 classes are missing.
Gilles Halbout: We did not say to ourselves, ‘in Mayotte, we cannot do it’, quite the contrary, but with an adaptation schedule authorized by the Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer. Obviously, some were excessive in filing a complaint with the administrative court while in accordance with what was decided, we started with the large sections, then the medium sections and finally, the smaller ones to come. Given the lack of classrooms, we had to put in place the traveling classes, and the rectorate initiated in 2021 an agreement with AFD and the mayors to speed it up, and this is beginning to bear fruit, several constructions are scheduled.
Social advances long demanded by unions were obtained, whether for AESH*, contract workers, or teachers’ pensions. What was your method to unblock the situation?
Gilles Halbout: First of all, not all of them come under the Ministry of National Education. Then, to move forward, we wanted to write a human resources roadmap with trade unions, elected officials, managers, staff, etc. And this roadmap traces our trajectory. Some measures will take time, others have been implemented. Like longer contracts for contract workers, the possibility of mobility to Overseas communities for teachers, the Geographical hardship allowance (ISG) no longer extended to 4 years but to twice 2 years, that allows colleagues not to fear too long a commitment on the territory, and the same ISG allocated to new contract employees. There remains the indexation that the trade unions are asking for at 53%, whereas it is at 40% here, to which must be added the ISG. The departmental council was cautious because of the impact on the payroll of the territorial public service. The question remains to be decided.
And we must not forget several salary increase measures deployed nationally, particularly for young teachers, and we have many of them in Mayotte, but also for AESH* and AED*.
The file of the retirement of former teachers recruited by the departmental community before switching to us, is closed. We have allowed financial compensation, for which we are working on better communication with those concerned, as the unions have alerted us.
I would like to say that we have remained in constant dialogue with them, with transparent, open measures.
Schools, like buses, have become grounds for the settling of scores between gangs. The former have been bunkered, and the latter are on their way. How do you view this rapid development?
Gilles Halbout: The big problem is that the school time spread over a year represents 10% of the young person’s timetable. It’s not much, but it’s the only time of supervised activity where they can meet, due to the lack of associations, cultural and sporting activities, the insufficient number of adults compared to young people in this territory. , etc. So when they arrive in the establishments, they go from nothing to everything.
To cope, we have increased the number of Mobile Security Teams, video protection, and put substantial resources into school life. We have worked on living together, to break up these partitioned recreations, so that they mix, we have offered anti-harassment workshops, in particular cyber-harassment, and media literacy since a lot of things are at stake on social networks.
We must continue to work on extracurricular activities so that young people have more actions offered on the outskirts of the time spent studying. We have put money into educational success within the framework of the PEDT*, but for their part, the municipalities must structure themselves and train their staff. There is currently a stir in some municipalities that offer activities during the holidays. We must multiply the meeting places to avoid brutal reunions in college or high school. Extracurricular activities now include five actors, National Education, which was the driving force, the prefecture, the departmental council, the Association of Mayors and the Social Security Fund.
This extracurricular time is really the challenge for the next few years because it will reduce the pressure on the school. Young people go around in circles, idle in their neighborhoods, look for each other, find themselves in high school, and things go wrong.
The second point is working with the parents. We conducted it with the FCPE and the UD CSF, wanting them to take their place in the establishments. At first it was difficult, but measures such as ‘open school’ have made it possible to open the school to parents for the success of their children, you have to trust them as long as you familiarize them with the organization of the Republic, like Pronotes, they then become real actors in the orientation of their child.
To sum up, schooling, extracurricular time and parents are the three bricks that work in the construction of the young person.
You initiated upon your arrival theObservatory of violence. Why and where is it?
Gilles Halbout: It’s a very nice tool, the operation of which has been somewhat suspended because it had to integrate the Council for Culture, Education and the Environment, I don’t know where the discussions are with the CD. The actors worked well, we had interesting written contributionsthis makes it possible to draw up an inventory, and to benefit from the analyzes of researchers.
You learned shimaore, why?
Gilles Halbout: First of all, when you go to a territory, you have to understand the culture, the language. I started with that, because a language says a lot about the way of life, and allows by exchanging a few words, to understand that we say things to each other differently.
On the other hand, on the pedagogical level, the mother tongue of most of the pupils not being French, understanding the mechanism of shimaore, with the nominal classes in particular, was essential before setting up thee plan ‘Speak, read and write’, to understand students’ learning difficulties. You have to know how to learn shimaore and kibushi at school, not to speak it for years, but as a bridge to French. Some students who have only heard shimaore are a little paralyzed in class, the reception in shimaore to bring them to French, in particular through the tales translated into both languages by Nassur Attoumani, or through the work proposed by Rastami Spelo , are a good bias.
You have been the rector of Orléans since January 2, a new challenge?
Gilles Halbout: Three and a half years ago, it was a great chance to come to Mayotte, and there, leaving for Orléans is more than symbolic. It is the family cradle of my grandparents, teachers, and my mother was a student at the École Normale d’Orléans.
Your successor in Mayotte, the academic Jacques Mikulovic, will he benefit from a tile?
Gilles Halbout: As soon as he was appointed, we interacted, and I met him on December 30 last.
A word of conclusion on your slice of Mayotte life?
Gilles Halbout: I had the chance to work with senior civil servants with whom the flow went well, and to have been well received by elected officials, parents, National Education officials and friends.
Interview by Anne Perzo-Lafond
* AESH: Accompanying Students with Disabilities
AED: Education Assistant
PEDT: Territorial Educational Project
Gilles Halbout: “Schooling, extracurricular time and parents are the three building blocks of young people” – JDM