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Catholic schools outside contract affected by the law against “separatism”

Among other measures against “separatism”, the bill reinforcing republican principles, expected in the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, December 9, was to prohibit, with some exceptions, home education and more strictly supervise the out of contract. With a flagship provision: the possibility of administratively closing an establishment out of contract with serious and repeated breaches.

While this provision implicitly targets certain Muslim establishments, all of the 1,700 schools outside the contract are in fact concerned, in particular the 500 Catholic schools (they alone represent half of the number outside the confessional contract).

→ EXPLANATION: Separatism, what the law will change

The law is greeted with caution in the Catholic world, including Catholic education. The latter mainly favors the contract of association with the State (1), but considers that freedom of education rests on a balance to be preserved. “We have always stood for freedom of education and sf establishments want to register for non-contract, it is their freedom ”, recalls its secretary general Philippe Delorme, who details: “The notion of a Catholic school outside the contract covers a little all religious sensibilities. From the schools of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X, which do not seek to be closer to us, to small establishments founded locally by a group of parents, with teaching skills which may vary. “

Closeness and daily prayer

Thus, the establishment outside the Saint-Jean Bosco contract, opened in September in Bihorel (Seine-Maritime), only accommodates a dozen students, divided into two classes (nursery school in one, CP and CE1 in the other). “We wanted a local primary school, between students, between parents, between teachers, a structure that offers good monitoring of schooling”, recalls Marie-Dominique Crousillac, the director, who educates two of her three children there.

→ READ. Homeschooling, will the government backtrack?

Holder of a master’s degree in modern letters, she had taught before putting her career on hold. His school does not claim a particular teaching method but does personal prayer “A general attitude”. “Here, we pray every day with the children”, she says. School “Was created on the initiative of Catholic families”, but it does not ask to be recognized as such: “This would mean that I am commissioned by the bishop, which is not the primary object of our approach. “

Ecclesial recognition in small steps

For Philippe Delorme, Catholic education must question itself on what pushes parents to create their own school or to entrust their children to establishments without contract. “Does this mean that they cannot find what they are looking for in us? Are they afraid of social, educational, cultural diversity? Are they looking for a relationship? Greater pedagogical autonomy? Smaller staff? A more assertive religious practice?, he lists. Our vocation lies in welcoming everyone, without distinction, including children from committed and practicing families, whom we must not forget. “

Professor in education sciences, Bruno Poucet believes that Catholic schools outside contract are generally “Closer to the traditionalist movement, without necessarily being in the fundamentals”. However, some are not “Not far from falling into separatism”, he explains, evoking “The choice of different textbooks, the wearing of a uniform, a separation between boys and girls, a desire to live apart, often in the countryside, to prevent people’s minds from being polluted by society, in a logic of ghettoization”.

This “Inter-self risk”, as he himself names it, the Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon Mgr Dominique Rey is fully aware of this. But, like other members of the episcopate, he calls for “Welcome with discernment a movement driven by true creativity”. This recognition will benefit or will soon benefit from three schools in his diocese: one in Draguignan, created on the initiative of the Dominican Sisters of the Holy Spirit, another in Cannet, carried by the Institute of the Incarnate Word and a last one in La Valette, a parish school with classical pedagogy.


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