“Re-establishing, from middle school, links between school programs and manual practices”
This column appears in “The World of Education”. If you subscribe to Le Monde, you can subscribe to this weekly letter by following this link.
Craft and industrial companies are on the edge when it comes to recruitment. To remedy this, it becomes imperative to reweave, from college, links between school programs and manual practices, in order to better enhance the intelligence of the hand and hope to encourage vocations.
In France, in 2021, the share of manufacturing industry in GDP fell to 9%, when it is 19% in Germany. While political discourse insists on the challenges of relocation, the delay in a few decades in terms of vocations and training in the field of manual trades today penalizes a whole section of the economy. Lack of vocation, lack of transmission. Within ten years, nearly 300,000 craft businesses should be taken over.
Within the education system, everything has been done to break the link between learning and the practice of the hand. Technical and manual education, where boys were made to do mechanics and girls to cook, has gradually disappeared from the school landscape. Sidings, less prestigious courses for less educated students: the manual courses are reserved for those who are not able to follow an intellectual course. The superiority of the cerebral over the manual has imposed itself. Consequently, the single college pushed to its climax seems to value only one form of intelligence, and only one way to succeed: that of higher education. These are millions of young people who are deprived of expressing their talents and their potential otherwise.
Different forms of intelligence, background, success
The removal of technology in class 6e is a new signal, which suggests that this matter would be accessory. However, this discipline was thought of as “an inductive approach where manufacturing is a pretext for discovering the physical laws that determine the functioning of objects”. If this weekly hour had swapped a large part of its welding or electricity lessons for those of computer science, it remained the last place in the college where students could experiment with the subject.
Today, how to make young people want to choose manual courses if there is no time to allow them to confront the pleasure of doing things with their hands? For the past two years, the De l’or dans les mains association has been deploying artisanal practice programs within colleges with professionals: drawing the contours of the pattern of your jeans with a seamstress thanks to its geometry course, preparing the composition of his ceramic clay thanks to knowledge from the science and life of the earth course, build his wooden photo frame with a cabinetmaker companion thanks to mathematics, assemble and disassemble a pendulum mechanism with a watchmaker.
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