2 February 2024

The Minister of National Education and Youth, Pap Ndiaye, at the National Assembly, May 2, 2023.

“We guarantee the right of free expression, but this type of talk does not fall within the right of free expression. » The Minister of National Education and Youth, Pap Ndiaye, justified on Sunday May 7 the suspension for three months of two professors of philosophy, sanctioned for their repeated and controversial speeches on social networks.

Franklin Nyamsi, who teaches in Rouen, and René Chiche, near Marseille, both associate professors, have been suspended since this spring. In a press release published on Friday, the Association of Philosophy Teachers in Public Education (Appep) wrote that it only has “fragmentary data” about these two cases, but “sufficient to arouse the legitimate concern of teachers”. She wonders about “the use that may be made” professors “of their freedom of expression without risking incurring an administrative sanction, including when they criticize the policies implemented by the government”.

Asked about their fate on the program “Dimanche en politique”, on France 3, Pap Ndiaye notably read aloud the words of one of the two professors, comparing the deputies who voted for the vaccination pass to “those who voted for the status of the Jews”. There, “we are talking about outrageous, conspiratorial, insulting remarks of great violence”said the Minister.

“The sanction was the subject of a strict procedure, motivated by the breach of the duty of reserve”had previously justified the Ministry of National Education, which notably carried out the“hearing of interested parties”.

Teachers widely followed on Twitter

Followed by nearly 160,000 people on Twitter, Franklin Nyamsi considers that he was punished for his “criticism against France’s African policy” and evokes a “political persecution”, according to a post in late April. The philosophy professor challenged the sanction in court, but the Rouen administrative court dismissed his request on Thursday, according to a decision he made public on Friday. “Without the least reason for his decision, an administrative judge in France rejected our appeal against the exclusion from teaching duties that I have suffered since March 14, 2023”he commented, while justice must decide in a second time on the merits of the case.

For his part, René Chiche was suspended from mid-April, according to a letter from human resources from the Ministry of National Education, tweeted by the professor. Known in the middle of the teachers for his virulent remarks on a school which he considers to be adrift, the professor is also vice-president of Action and Democracy, a very minority teachers’ union. “According to the Minister, my public expression and the audience of my remarks damage the image and reputation of the public service of national education”he reacted on Saturday on Twitter, a network on which he has 105,000 subscribers.

The joint commission meeting as a disciplinary council had reproached him, a few weeks ago, for putting “promote his quality as a teacher in his public speeches”. The committee considered “that the frequency of these remarks is likely to impact the proper functioning of the public service”.

The World with AFP

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