The school year in France has started with a clear commitment by Emmanuel Macron’s government to defending secular principles, not without criticism from certain quarters and not without compelling reasons given the country’s recent past.
The more than 4000 complaintsaccording to official data that took place last year for violating the principle of secularism applicable to public educational institutions, twice as much as last year, has left the French executive reacting to a society where the echoes of the wave of riots by youths at the beginning of the summer after the death of 17-year-old Nahel by gunfire are still resonating with the police . Also, the successive criticisms of directors of educational centers I’m tired of not getting clear direction from the previous educational leader about the ban or non-ban of the Islamic abaya or tunic and delegate the responsibility to the criteria of each center.
Macron, who was once accused of practicing lax secularism and being too flexible about circumstances and exceptions, believes in a firm line that sees secularism as a value and where entanglements end up being politically and socially expensive.
The first measure was the announcement of the complete ban on the abaya according to the the Secularism Act of 2004, which bans conspicuous religious dress. Such incidents occurred on the first day of school on Monday, which Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne described as normal and without incident a total of 67 cases of students refusing to remove the garment stopped at the entrance of their schools and therefore could not attend classes, although in all cases the protocol applied was to receive them at the center and to have an explanatory interview with them explaining the reasons for the government’s decision.
According to the Ministry of Education, a total of 298 people dressed in Islamic robes appeared at the beginning of the course, which means that the strategy of explaining and justifying worked in most cases. “We have identified about 513 centers that could potentially be affected by this problem,” said the educational leader. Gabriel Attalto RTL radio.
The measure is broad support from the French. According to the latest polls, seven out of ten citizens support the decision to ban, including those voting to the left of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, although party leaders continue to strongly criticize the ban, believing it could stigmatize female students and that it could affect yours opinion, persecuting Muslims again. They also confirm from the left that Macron has created a problem where there is none, affects a remaining number of schools. This criticism is already more differentiated if you look at the 67 cases on the first day and the 0.25% of schools affected, according to the left. At the beginning of the course, is there an opportunity to over-dramatize secularism from an executive who seemed overwhelmed at the start of the summer? There are movements that invite you to think.
The controversy over the abaya was followed by the controversy over the uniform. On Monday, Gabriel Attal, the new head of education, who many see as a kind of loyal student of Macron, surprisingly brought the idea to the market. “It’s a solution for testing,” and announced pilot programs in some schools across the country at the request of mayors or local councils. “I don’t think it’s a miracle solution that will solve all the school’s problems, but I think it’s worth trying,” said the minister, who advocated doing it “quickly”.
The government has thus reopened an old transversal debate in French society, in which there are supporters and critics on both the right and left of the parliamentary arch.
Hours later, it was Macron himself who gave his opinion in an interview on YouTube this Tuesday, stating that this was the case rather cheap for a “single dress” in the classes. “It doesn’t have to be a uniform, but you can say you’re wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a jacket,” said the French leader, stressing that there was a “minority” trying to “oppose the republic”. . “Secularism,” something the administration now appears to be combating with much more vigor than it had during the president’s first five years.