2 February 2024

A class from the Institut Sainte-Geneviève, a private school under contract, in Paris, on May 12, 2020.

It is an understatement to say that Pap Ndiaye’s plan on the social mix of schools was expected. An ambition affirmed from his appointment Rue de Grenelle, months of discussions with actors from the public but also from the private sector under contract, announcements several times postponed against a backdrop of political dissension… This subject, made a priority by the historian specializing in minorities , has sharpened the expectations of the educational community, in a system where the social origin of the pupils weighs heavily on their educational destiny; aroused the interest of part of the left, which sees in diversity the soil of the republican promise of equal opportunities; and provoked the indignation of the right, attached to the defense of freedom of education.

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After a week of chaotic communication, Pap Ndiaye signed a small committee, Wednesday, May 17, a protocol with the General Secretariat of Catholic Education (SGEC), then communicated his overall plan, grouping the measures planned for the two sectors of education. education, private and public. Without it being a question of obligations, Catholic education undertakes mainly in its protocol to increase “50% in five years the number of establishments offering family contributions modulated according to income” as well as “double the rate of scholarship students in five years, in establishments where families receive social assistance” equivalent to those intended for the public.

A few days earlier, on May 11, the Minister had asked rectors to be able to meet the objective of reducing “the differences in social recruitment between public establishments of 20% by 2027” through a series of” tools ” to be adapted to each territory, and to create ” before summer “ a “a body for dialogue, consultation and management of social and school diversity”.

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It is the culmination in two stages of a plan developed for months and which turned into a political soap opera. Equal opportunity and student success depend on “the establishment of sectors of excellence in priority education and by strengthening the school mix”explained Pap Ndiaye at his back-to-school press conference on August 26, 2022, when the theme has always been absent from the speech of the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, and had disappeared from the political agenda for five years, under the ministry of Jean-Michel Blanquer.

Mined land

The subject becomes unavoidable with the publication of the social position indices (IPS), in October 2022, which brings private education under contract into the equation. These indicators – which make it possible to determine the social profile of establishments –, made public for the first time following an appeal to the administrative court by a journalist, shed a harsh light on school segregation. We already knew that private colleges under contract educate less than 17% of students from disadvantaged social backgrounds and concentrate 40% of very privileged students, strictly inverse proportions in the public. The IPS make these general figures more concrete by transposing them to the level of each establishment. Those in the private sector represent less than 4% of the 10% most disadvantaged colleges in the country, but almost two-thirds of the most advantaged 10%.

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