Posted on April 20, 2022 at 3:00 p.m.
They both make him a headliner on their show. For both Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, education must be “a priority.” Both candidates want to focus on basic knowledge, split classes, improve teachers, prioritize student orientation from college, and bring school closer to the world of work. But the similarities stop at words. The two projects are radically different.
The outgoing president wants to open the school to society, putting “around the table the mayors, the teachers, the associations that do the extracurricular, the parents of the students.” The school “cannot function in the same way in the center of Amiens, in the northern districts of Marseille and in Clichy-sous-Bois,” he advocates.
Emphasis on basic knowledge
Marine Le Pen accuses him of wanting to “destroy French national education.” It wants to refocus the school on the essentials, eliminate “all inept lessons” – such as interdisciplinary practices – and launch “a vast project to take over the content of the lessons” that would be defined by law. French, math and history would be at the center of the programs. He leaves, in primary school, to “increase each school day from one hour to an hour and a half,” according to the candidate’s campaign team. Then we would need “fewer lessons at home.”
Emmanuel Macron’s program also provides more French and math in elementary school, but without increasing students’ class time. It would be the responsibility of the teachers to organize the schedule.
On the duplication of classes, which began in 2017, Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that he wanted to “continue this work in the rest of primary school, especially in university and high school.” It especially aims to “put more resources into the hinge classes, the sixth and second,” to prevent dropout. This would translate, in the most difficult establishments, into the possibility of “welcoming fewer students per class, having reference teachers or giving more resources to support students who drop out.”
To achieve this, Emmanuel Macron wants to “give teachers much more freedom to adapt methods and much more freedom to school principals.” An educational fund of 1 billion euros will be used to finance projects adapted to students. It would benefit especially the most disadvantaged schools, in the spirit of the experiment carried out in Marseilles that Emmanuel Macron wants to “generate”.
Marine Le Pen takes up the idea of ”dividing” the classes into primary, but for “all the classes in the large section of kindergarten and CP.” From CE1, enrollment will be limited to 20 students. Therefore, duplication would no longer be reserved for priority education. The candidate wants to eliminate all forms of positive discrimination. Priority education “has led to discrimination between territories,” according to his campaign team, while “poverty is as strong in certain rural areas as in certain suburban neighborhoods.” In elementary school and college, Marine Le Pen plans to wear a uniform. And it announces “an unprecedented disciplinary recovery.”
Bringing the school closer to the world of work
At university, he made guidance an important subject, like Emmanuel Macron. But Marine Le Pen would make the national patent diploma an orientation exam after the third year, while Emmanuel Macron opts for the discovery of trades from the fifth year refuting the idea of early guidance. In its program, the current teaching of technology would be replaced, for all students from fifth to third year, by a “Future” of half a day each week, consisting of digital classes (coding) and manuals and techniques -provided by the faculty. – as well as visits to companies, vocational training schools or interventions by professionals in the establishments.
Marine Le Pen wants to “encourage young people to enter the job market soon.” “As soon as the patent, we will recover their letters of nobility in vocational training,” he insisted, announcing an increase in the salaries of apprentices and interns from 200 to 300 euros. Emmanuel Macron points to a comprehensive reform of the vocational training institute, in the spirit of what has been done for learning. Baccalaureate students would do more internships and would be charged by the state (200 euros per month under 18, 500 euros beyond).
For the general and technological baccalaureate, Emmanuel Macron has already indicated that he wants to return to mathematics “for everyone”. Marine Le Pen has pledged to “take out” high school reform and restore the literary, scientific and economic sectors.
Different revaluation methods
Both candidates have said they want to increase teachers’ salaries. Marine Le Pen is committed to a 3% annual revaluation of the index grid, for five years, from elementary to high school. The status of teacher trainer will be “attractive and duly remunerated”, promises the candidate, who wants to eliminate teacher training institutes.
Emmanuel Macron does not want a “homogeneous revaluation” of teachers. It offers a “pact” to those who are willing to take on additional tasks (training outside school hours, individual monitoring of students, strengthening ties with families, replacement of absent teachers). From 2023, this “pact” would apply to new teachers.