8 September 2023

Demonstration against class closures in front of the Paris rectorate, February 14, 2023.

For several weeks, several districts of Paris have been living to the rhythm of gatherings around schools, demonstrations bringing together parents, children and teachers, public meetings, petitions, school occupations. The pediments of dozens of them across the City are adorned with banners all bearing the same message: “No to class closures”.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Across France, teachers and parents are mobilizing against job cuts

The capital is making itself heard in the midst of a protest that is being organized throughout France against these closures, a corollary of the job cuts announced for the start of the 2023 school year. With 155 jobs withdrawn in primary and 182 in secondary, Paris is the most affected academy. The rectorate has planned the disappearance of 162 primary classes (178 deletions for 16 openings), or 3% of the total. About fifty are also planned in college and ten in general high school. “It is unprecedented, even during the Sarkozy years we did not close so many at once”underlines Audrey Bourlet de la Vallée, of the SNUipp-FSU Paris.

What the association of parents of FCPE students in Paris denounces as a “bleeding” is the result, explains the rectorate, of the demographic decline observed throughout the territory and particularly strong in the capital. In ten years, Paris has lost 27,500 primary school students, including nearly 14,000 between 2019 and 2022. At the start of the 2023 school year, 3,100 fewer students are expected in Parisian schools. The phenomenon also concerns colleges and high schools, although it is on a smaller scale: around 2,300 fewer students in September 2023 (– 2%).

“Over-endowed” territories

For teachers, and especially parents who are mobilizing in large numbers – there were still several hundred in front of the rectorate on February 14 – this abandonment can only be used as an argument in a “accounting logic”, which they reject. The protest extends to elected officials, many of whom have expressed their concerns and disapproval. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, wrote a letter to the Minister of National Education, Pap Ndiaye, in which she deplores a project that she does not consider ” not acceptable “.

The anger is all the stronger since around sixty closures concern establishments in the North-East of Paris, in the least favored districts, including 41 in priority education. “These measures would lead to a reduction in the number of pupils per class in establishments where the public is the most socially and academically fragile. It would be a major regression”, denounces Anne Hidalgo. The figures have not yet stabilized, but many schools and colleges affected by closures fear that this will increase the number of students in the remaining classes at the start of the 2023 school year, create more multi-level groups and deteriorate teaching conditions.

You have 60.56% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *