2 February 2024

The Minister of National Education, Pap Ndiaye, in his office, in Paris, on October 11, 2022.

Others would have left bruised and irritated by such a disavowal. But Pap Ndiaye, Minister of National Education, continues on his way as if nothing had happened. “I trace my path”, confides the historian to World. The former director of the Palais de la Porte-Dorée presented, Wednesday, May 17, the protocol concluded with the general secretariat of Catholic education to strengthen social diversity at school. The plan, many times put away, initially scheduled for May 11, is now reduced to the minimum portion of an unconstrained commitment.

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A disappointment for those who, on the left, had made Pap Ndiaye the standard bearer of social diversity. And a relief on the right, where the memory of the “school war” of 1984 opened by Alain Savary, Minister of National Education under the Mauroy government, who had had to give up creating a public and secular service of education. Pap Ndiaye, who had been working on the file since entering government in May 2022, could have been tempted to slam the door of a political world struggling to accept this discreet intellectual, who flees controversy and media noise. “I do not intend to resign, he says. All the conditions are met for me to do my job. If it wasn’t, I would’ve left, but that time hasn’t come. »

The author of The Black Condition. Essay on a French minority (Calmann-Lévy, 2008) does not take offense at the caution imposed by the Elysée on its favorite subject. When the Head of State offered him the ministry, the academic had, he said, “no solid plan”but “convictions: improving the academic level of our students and equal opportunities”. ” For that, he points out, we must strengthen the mix that promotes the school climate, social and secularism. » In June 2022, in his first interview at Parisian, the minister had made social diversity his great cause. “The French school does not succeed in everything, in particular from the point of view of educational inequalities. She does very poorly with underprivileged children, he explained. This situation is not acceptable. This is my starting point: do we accept these educational inequalities, yes or no? It is therefore a priority, to which is added the question of the environment. »

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Pap Ndiaye forced to present a plan for social diversity at school much less ambitious than announced

“I have support”

Two days before the presentation of the protocol concluded with the private sector, Emmanuel Macron nevertheless urges his minister to review his priorities. “We need an academic ambition! To make our public school stronger”explains the Head of State in an interview with Opinionon May 11, stating: “The Minister is right to want to bring everyone together, but old demons must not be awakened. »

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