Education: DF activists mobilized to defend Buck

About 150 FNEC FP-FO and SNFOLC activists met on February 4 at the Confederation’s headquarters in Paris with activists from other trade union organizations. Goal: to demand the abolition of the new Baccalaureate initiated by the Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer. This reform exacerbates competition between educational institutions, worsens the working conditions of staff and worries students, the staff emphasized in their numerous speeches on the podium.

This is an old request that becomes even more urgent at the beginning of the year: the new bachelor’s degree, initiated by the Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, must be cancelled. On February 4, activists of the FD, as well as other trade union organizations, announced this. There were 150 of them at the confederation’s headquarters to attend a conference organized by the FO Federation of Education, FNEC FP-FO and its union of high schools and colleges, SNFOLC. FO activists, but also from the SNES and SUD, and professional teacher associations such as the Association of Teachers of Philosophy in Public Education (APPEP), the Association of Teachers of Biology and Geology (APBG), and the Association of Teachers of Economics and Social Sciences. (APSES)

It is about protecting the national character of this diploma, – said the Secretary General of the Federal District Yves Verrier in front of the militants. This protection is also a protection for the recognition of professional qualifications and therefore of wages. Over the past five years, reforms have led to the cessation of the S, L and ES series, which have been replaced by special lessons, 3 in number in the première and 2 in the terminale. Another novelty of this undergraduate program is the introduction of continuous assessment and tests in March. This system, which had already been subject to strong opposition prior to its implementation in September 2019, has been adjusted several times, and not only because of the pandemic. !

Already 14,000 signatures on the inter-union petition

Throughout the sessions, teachers and high school students mobilized against this new undergraduate degree, a factor of disorganization and inequality. In the midst of an indefinite strike for pensions, they found themselves in front of institutions to block general tests under constant supervision., — recalls Edith Buratchik, general secretary of SNFOLC. For activists, the mobilization must continue, especially two weeks after the historic January 13 strike that forced the minister to move his specialty exams from March to May. We opened a gap, we must push it back !Edith Buratchik scored to applause.

On the podium, the report was unanimous: the teachers showed their disagreement with this new undergraduate program. I don’t see a single colleague in my institution advocating this reform,” testifies an activist from Amiens. Even those who supported the reform or waited for what it would give admit that it is untenable. The challenge is broad: more than 14,000 people have signed an inter-union petition (Bac 2022, to move vocational tests to June), which is still in progress. In its final declaration, the Conference calls on staff to sign this petition en masse and come together to take positions, in the broadest possible unity, and discuss initiatives to restore the National Baccalaureate.

Competition at all levels

This bachelor qualified as “ budgetary and its local nature enhances competition, whether between students, disciplines and institutions. As we can see, some universities are asking teachers to add points to their students, testifies Laurent Hoffman, an activist from Metz and a professor of history and geography. This liberal project empties the public school a little more in favor of the private sector. And the current trend is already heavy: private institutions have become a real economic market. More broadly, institutions are not all on the same footing. The Minister of Education spoke about the egalitarian nature of this reform. But, faced with the challenges of replacing absent teachers, not all students have the same conditions to prepare for this undergraduate degree.stressed an activist from Créteil, listing the number of teachers who are absent from many institutions of the academy.

The teachers’ speeches have also changed, a number of PF activists testified. How is it that so many of your students keep your subject as a major in the terminal? ? What will you tell your seconds to choose your specialty of teaching ?, assures Sylvie from the Amiens Academy. And this reform has consequences for positions. As for teaching mathematics, which is avoided by many students, we note the reduction in the number of positions. We no longer fight only for our education, but for our working hours and our work.– exhales the participant at the exit from the conference.

Pedagogical freedom undermined

The introduction of continuous monitoring has also turned the relationship of teachers with their students on its head. Due to the current health crisis and lack of students, many were only able to account for two grades per semester. Where is the continuous control in this? ?, asks Benoit from Limoges. This reform is a gas plant that puts pressure on everyone. Faced with students stressed about their undergraduate degree, teachers have to negotiate for each class. We are under pressure to mark copies, testifies Laurent of Metz. At the same time, students, their parents, and sometimes our own hierarchy, which is not interested in students having bad undergraduate grades. All this limits our educational freedom.

Many teachers notice stress in their students from the second. As soon as they turn 15, they have to choose lessons that will be relevant for their post-baccalaureate orientation, but they do not know what they want to do as a study, activists are outraged. Which point out that at the same time National Education is tearing the public service of leadership in favor of private sector initiatives.

Many of our colleagues, more often than before, are faced with the fact that students break down and cry right in front of them. They don’t know how to answer their orientation questions. National education psychologists are in short supply compared to demand. They also see more anxiety among the youth. Pediatric Psychiatric Service Overwhelmed… Add to that the stress of Parcoursupprotested an activist from Bordeaux.

New tank as an element of university selection

Because these high school and undergraduate reforms are merged into one. And we saw that recently when specialized tests were postponed in May, raising questions about the Parcoursup files. When you move an element you have to remove everything because everything is connected, contextualizes Muriel coming from Tours. Indeed, the first and final grades, and even more so the grades of the specialties, will be taken into account for higher education courses when evaluating the dossiers of candidates as part of the Parcoursup procedure. This procedure only organizes the selection to the university in order to hide the lack of places in these activist comments between two aisles on the podium.

By law, a bachelor’s degree is an entrance fee to the university. But with Parcoursup and austerity not allowing enough public spaces to open up, budgetary considerations take precedence over that right. !says Sylvain Excoffon of FO-ESR. And the trend is emphasized again and again: after the bachelor’s degree, now there is a selection for the master’s degree. The government will open up Parcoursup for graduate admissions, where again places don’t increase when there are more applicants. And in their files, the latter will have to indicate more than their academic background, as they will need to attach a resume and a cover letter. Of course, private trainings will also be listed on this platform, which will therefore be at the same level as the public ones…

In response to this, FO activists stressed during a February 4 conference, mobilization can only be important to join the fight for higher education, and the fight for schools and colleges, or even the fight to protect status and compensate teachers.

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