1 December 2023

In the early 1980s, a beginning teacher earned the equivalent of 2.3 times the minimum wage. This remuneration fell to 1.2 times the minimum wage at the start of 2022. This statistic alone reveals the downgrading suffered by teachers. How can this symbolic and salary dropout be explained? Why have teachers tumbled down the social hierarchy and how can we explain that no large-scale public action has been taken to curb the phenomenon?

To understand it – while Pap Ndiaye is working on an upgrade “historical” promised by the head of state that many already consider disappointing -, The worldI have asked the question to all former ministers of national education for three decades. Six agreed to share their experience with us: Jack Lang (April 1992-March 1993, under François Mitterrand and March 2000-May 2002, under Jacques Chirac), Luc Ferry (May 2002-March 2004, under Jacques Chirac), Gilles de Robien (June 2005-May 2007, under Jacques Chirac), Vincent Peillon (May 2012-April 2014, under François Hollande), Benoît Hamon (April 2014-August 2014, under François Hollande) and Najat Vallaud-Belkacem (August 2014- May 2017, under François Hollande). None of Nicolas Sarkozy’s ministers wished to respond, any more than Jean-Michel Blanquer, minister of Emmanuel Macron’s first five-year term.

Measures, of varying magnitude, have been taken by the various tenants of the Hôtel de Rochechouart. But they have never made it possible to catch up with the wage dropout that has set in, and with it, the loss of attractiveness of the profession.

Also read the analysis: Article reserved for our subscribers Teachers’ salaries: a story of endless devaluation

For these former ministers, the need for a salary increase appears today as a “evidence”. “Social and symbolic revaluation would return if financial devaluation were not so devastating”, Judge Luc Ferry. And the game, point out the ex-ministers, is worth the candle. “A school that works is a real investment expense for a country: its competitiveness still lies in the training of citizens”believes Vincent Peillon.

Benoît Hamon puts forward a kind of double penalty for teachers. They see their income crumble at the same time as their role seems to them more restricted. According to him, it is firstly because the reduction of inequalities is no longer the central subject, and that “the profession is devitalized” : “If teachers no longer have the impression of helping to change destiny, what’s the point of getting up in the morning? »

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