8 September 2023

The Minister of National Education, Pap Ndiaye, and Emmanuel Macron (from the back), in the courtyard of the Louise-Michel college, in Ganges (Hérault), April 20, 2023.

Pap Ndiaye was thinking of leaving the club of “invisible” ministers, to which he has been assigned since his appointment to national education. Thursday, May 11, the former director of the Palais de la Porte-Dorée (and therefore of the National Museum of the History of Immigration) was to unveil a vast mixed plan, to promote school and social mixing by involving establishments private. But this project, potentially explosive and postponed since January, has gradually deflated.

“We have some difficulties, it is clear that the headwinds are strong”admits the Minister, the day before, to the World. “A part of the right would like to portray me as someone who would like to relaunch the debate on “free school”, by making me a new Alain Savary (Minister of National Education under the Mauroy government, which had to give up creating a public and secular education service, in 1984). I do not put myself in his footsteps, even if I have a lot of admiration for the former minister and the resistant, unjustly forgotten “observes the historian.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Social mix at school: Pap Ndiaye faced with the delicate involvement of private education

To put out the nascent fire, the plan was split into two stages. On May 11, Pap Ndiaye will only talk about public schools. He should discuss the fate of private schools under contract on May 17, insisting on the absence of constraints. “I know of few wars that have been fought when both sides agreed”he shouts.

In reality, the minister is procrastinating, at the request of Emmanuel Macron, who found that “it didn’t come out right”. In Le Figaro of April 13, he rejects the term “quota” while wishing, on the part of private establishments under contract (financed at 75% by the State), “a commitment to move towards more social and educational diversity” with “percentages”. The room for maneuver is mainly in the public, he immediately specified, as he does on every occasion, now.

“Universalist Line”

Pap Ndiaye knew he would come up against the right and the far right, who have not stopped sharpening their knives since he entered politics. The mere mention of the mixed plan has revived, within the Les Républicains (LR) party, the specter of the “school war” of 1984, where the private sector would be threatened with losing its autonomy and its funding. “Mixing is inefficientclaims the leader of the LR senators, Bruno Retailleau. He must first solve the problems of the republican school, which has become a machine for reproducing inequalities. It is imbued with a lounge wokism. »

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