Philippe and Blanquer play the VRP against disillusioned professors


Edouard Philippe and Jean-Michel Blanquer face the teachers of the high school of Val d'Argens – Yann COATSALIOU / AFP

  • In the Var, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Education came to meet high school teachers during their pre-entry.
  • Edouard Philippe and Jean-Michel Blanquer tried to "make feel the sense of reform" high school, implemented in this fall.
  • On the faculty side, there is no "illusion". This communication operation will not change the reform, which led to the strike of many teachers last year, especially at the time of the baccalaureate.

From our special correspondent to Muy (Var),

Admittedly, Edouard Philippe loves this region, which he knows well to have surveyed during his military service here, in the
Var, a few kilometers from the high school of Val d'Argens, at
Muy. Admittedly, this brand-new establishment, with excellent results, is moreover, by the Prime Minister's own admission, "quite astonishing" and "does not look like the high schools he was able to attend at all".

But above all, the high school of Val d'Argens, which hosted in this pre-entry Edouard Philippe and Jean-Michel Blanquer, Minister of Education and Youth, has an undeniable advantage: "It's a quiet high school," as describes one of his teachers. On the whole, favorable conditions for the two ministers, who came to promote the very controversial reform of the
Baccalaureate from 160 teachers of the institution, which this year receives 1,360 students. "If they came here to Muy, they know that there is a great union activity here," says a teacher.

"To make sense of the reforms"

This new school year promises to be thorny indeed: it is the first year of implementation of the new baccalaureate, version Blanquer. A very controversial reform, which resulted in a
 strike of some of the correctors of the ferry last June. So, in this pre-entry, Edouard Philippe and Jean-Michel Blanquer donned their VRP costumes. The two ministers went to meet the professors of Val d'Argens to answer their questions about this reform, all under the gaze of journalists. With a slogan: the government is understanding … but will not change course.

"We do not reform for the pleasure of reforming," says Edouard Philippe. But we do it because we have identified something that was not going well. "" From the moment there are reforms, there are questions, you have concerns, and this is nothing abnormal, "abounds Jean-Michel Blanquer in front of teachers Var high school. The goal of the Minister of National Education seemed clear: justify to teachers this profound change of the baccalaureate he instilled. Or, rather, as he told the press, "to make sense of the reforms". "We can always discuss the terms, but the meaning is to better prepare our students for the future. "

And what does it matter to criticize the elitist nature of the new school? "No, this reform is ambitious, replies Edouard Philippe. And ambition is not a big word. The ambition of a well-trained youth, the ambition of access to knowledge, and the complexity of knowledge is not a big word. We are, it is true, with the President of the Republic and the entire government, ambitious for the school. Elitism is not a big word either. It's even one of the foundations of republican functioning for a very long time, but the reform that was prepared by the Minister of National Education aims to better prepare all students in France to be freer, more mature, and somehow more armed, stronger intellectually to face the coming world. "

"Propaganda", "the display", according to teachers

But this ministerial visit to the appearance of a great communication operation is not to the taste of all teachers of the high school of Val d'Argens, disillusioned and somewhat bitter. They are also very few to have questioned the minister, in the short time of exchange which was reserved for them. "This is a sort of propaganda," says Stephanie Decap, professor of economics and social sciences. I do not see the point. The questions, we have already asked them, we did strikes last year, and we see the responses of this government, with a passage in force. "

"I'm not against a reform of the baccalaureate, I'm not unionized, except that here is the display, abounds his colleague Frederic Cassagne. It's an accounting reform because we have to reduce the number of professors. And then, it's not a real debate. We ask questions, the minister answers what he wants to answer. It will not change the situation. It's a masquerade in terms of communication. When I heard the minister's visit, I was surprised, but without any illusions. "

"Dialogue has always been a principle and it is even more so in this season, defends Jean-Michel Blanquer. I know that there are always factors in our society to look for some conflictuality but it is certainly not my state of mind. Several teacher union organizations have already filed strike notices on the eve of the start of the new school year.

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