“The school, a place where human intelligence blossoms”

Bertrand Gaufryau calls for listening to the recommendations of the National Council for Refoundation (CNR).
Bertrand Gaufryau calls for listening to the recommendations of the National Council for Refoundation (CNR). (© Guillaume FAUVEAU)

On December 22, the Minister of National Education and Youth published a column in the newspaper Le Monde, which was immediately relayed on the ministry’s website. It was certainly to be a text of real importance. And yet, or unfortunately, should I say. Summoning prestigious names, such as Jean Zay, the illustrious predecessor of Pap Ndiaye, or ending a text with one of Victor Hugo’s most famous quotations, could bode well.

In short, the Minister sets out “the three requirements which will lead his action to improve the level of the pupils, the social mix and the functioning of the school”. But the account is not there, far from it! The findings have been known for many years: a lower educational level, as the international Pisa rankings show, a social mix that remains a wishful thinking in a sometimes caricatural way, a vocational education still considered as that made “for ordinary people” , and unrecognized teachers up to the challenges and their role in our society, that of today and tomorrow.

We know all this and to write it as a prerequisite for the minister’s desire to “reform the school” translates a form of “intellectual laziness” on the part of the elites. A pinch of physical education and more, a hint of mathematics, a discovery of trades in college and the trick would be played? And reforming the school map, one of the perverse effects of which is to reinforce educational inequalities, both in public and private education under contract? On this last point, intellectual honesty imposes to say that social diversity is not always where we would be entitled to expect it…

Reforming the school means listening to the actors of the territories and the National Council for Refoundation (CNR). If we can legitimately consider that it is a form of circumvention of representative democracy, the Government wants to be rather an element of representative democracy. So the tracks sketched out in the minister’s gallery lack audacity.

Reflections on the organization of the school, the ambition that we wish to assign to it, the transmission of knowledge deserve a real transformation of thought. The intellectual exhaustion of the elites of which the school is a victim invites that “ordinary people” finally be listened to because they cannot be dispossessed of what they are with impunity. So it is up to the actors, the women and men who live and animate the territories to seize the places of debate, of the proposals offered by the CNR. Audacious proposals will emerge, both on the organization of the school, the transmission of knowledge or “the authority of the teacher”, including from agricultural education, nugget of our education system.

“The school must be the place where human intelligence blossoms”, concludes the Minister in his tribune. On this point, the agreement is clear. Chick!

“The school, a place where human intelligence blossoms”