Letter from Pap Ndiaye to teachers

Dear teachers, dear teachers,

I am happy to write to you directly, having the responsibility of a ministry that has built not only my career but shaped my life. I did it like the university professor I was, the son of a high school teacher. Passing on to the family in this profession is a widely shared story, which speaks volumes about its value. He tells what makes it so much more emotional and more appealing: the awareness of a mission that is too big to lead a lifetime and, in the future, to carry on to the next generation.

You teach the children and teenagers of this country every day in schools, colleges, general, technological and vocational high schools. In your classes, you create the rhythm and the conditions for a conversation to be temporarily suspended for a few days, during the summer holidays, but the memory of it can mark their lives. as it marks mine. This teaching focuses on knowledge. To self -esteem and others. To the possibility of everyone following their own path.

You talk to them at an age where we are looking for clues, convictions, while our time is always lacking in offering it. We are going through a period of doubt in the common good of our Republic. Because within the boundaries of the school some generations rub shoulders, because through you the State meets with citizens and future citizens there every day, we have a decisive mission. The diversity of your disciplines, reflecting the complexity of the human experience, can provide refuge from all forms of prejudice. Your speech, which takes into account the weaknesses of youth while preparing each student for his or her future life, can prevent setbacks that are soothing in appearance, detrimental in reality. Together, we can ensure that young minds are not attracted to anger and pessimism. We have a duty to talk to them about other futures.

My discipline, history, has also taught me how much the school institution has changed since the beginning of our Republic and that it is up to us to make it happen.

Recently, the classroom area and the conditions of your work have been affected by the pandemic that has damaged the regularity of relations between students and School, forcing teachers and students to communicate with each other through masks, to adopt rigorous protocols. I salute the unity and strength you have with this crisis working so hard for the youth and our staff. I’m happy to be able to start working together when normal conditions seem to come together again.

I want to share with you some of the great challenges of our ministry. This is not a detailed road map, but the major strategic directions we can take.

The first axis is to fight against social inequalities. While it promises equal treatment to all students, we know that the School strives to give everyone the same opportunity to succeed. This broken promise casts a shadow over our actions. It hinders the economic growth of our country, it feeds the distrust of republican institutions. And it hurts us, because we’re here in this business to give every young person a chance to thrive, and not leave them on the side of the road. We will strengthen what is already there, change if necessary, so that birth inequalities can be better overcome at School. I have a responsibility to manage the drama of injustice fed into our school system by not allowing the poorest to hope to change their social status.

The second axis is to give weight to basic knowledge. The foundation of our School is to guarantee all of our students the proficiency in basic knowledge, the knowledge necessary to get out into the world. The priority will continue to be to give French and mathematics: to the instruction given to our students until the end of the sixth form; to train our school teachers by continuing the French and math plans and the launch next year of the kindergarten plan; finally, to evaluate students ’achievements.

In high school, as you know, I decided from this beginning of the school year to introduce mathematics to the common core of the first general class to provide all students with a common standard of knowledge and skill in mathematics. useful for their social and professional life.
In the sense of sharing knowledge that allows for other knowledge, it is also important to improve reading. This is the best way for everyone to go beyond themselves, to go as far as possible at their own pace.

The third axis is the well -being of students. The need for a policy of demand and social justice should be to preserve the well-being of children and adolescents in school, not against effort and work. Within the secular school precinct, every child should feel welcomed, protected from degrading discourse, encouraged. I want to keep an eye on it. I am very attentive to students with disabilities, to pursuing their careers and to improving the situation of our staff who accompany them every day at school and whose part-time jobs are constantly suffering.
The shared space of the school should also allow all personalities to develop and reject any word of intolerance. This spirit of vigilance, of listening, must also be concerned with acts and words of discrimination, hatred of racist or anti-Semitic, sexist or sexual violence. The well -being of students requires that the school be a place without prejudice, without words and without acts of intimidation, a secular place as well. It also needs to improve the quality of this common time and place by promoting arts and culture education and sports practice.

The fourth axis is the question of ecology. It appeared urgent and important. The Ministry of National Education and Youth should engage, in all its dimensions, a strong movement on the subject. This includes fixing our actions with local authorities on school buildings. It also means strengthening the teaching of the subject in the school curriculum. I can contact the High Council for Programs about this topic.

Nothing happens without teachers. Our final axis, and main vector of all these policies, is of course the revaluation of the teaching profession. The continuous decline over many years of the attractiveness of recruitment competitions is a warning signal, evidence of a crisis related to working conditions, career dynamics and advancement, the social representation of the profession and a also an economic situation that is no longer commensurate with the efforts. required.

The next school year will come in a dangerous context of recruitment tensions. Steps have been taken to address this and meet the most immediate challenges. But more structurally, it is the position of our teachers in society, the authority of knowledge and their irreplaceable role in teaching and uplifting our students that need to be strongly affirmed. This symbolic recognition is important. It involves spending a particular and significant effort to raise salaries if we want to create an “attractiveness shock”, attract and retain our young colleagues.
This investment is essential: to better hire teachers, but also – and I have voluntarily linked these two purposes – to better train them in their careers for the greater interest of our students ’success. .

Ladies and gentlemen teachers, dear colleagues, I salute your participation in exercising a profession in which we all depend, I salute your skill in serving our students. My consideration, my opinion, is yours. I would not have succeeded in my mission without your support. I measure my responsibility before you, so that together we can succeed in making the school fairer, more efficient, more ecological. Many thanks and happy holidays.

“Let’s work together to build a committed school!”

Pap NDIAYE

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