The cross : What is your view of our school system on the eve of the presidential election?
Marie Trellu Kane: A mixed look. There is the strength of a valuable public service that needs to be consolidated. But also a system that still generates a lot of school dropouts, with each year more than 90,000 young people leaving school without a diploma or qualification. Many come out of it having lost confidence in themselves and in society, sometimes even being broken. The Pisa study, which compares the performance of 15-year-olds every three years, shows that our system produces great inequalities, without creating a taste for knowledge.
→ READ. Education: concrete ideas to build your orientation
What is it about?
MT-K. : This failure is the result of multiple factors, such as the density of programs and the standardization of courses, as well as the lack of diversity within establishments, which results from the social segregation of territories. But it can also be explained by a cultural factor that goes far beyond the school. We French people easily fall into criticism. This is undoubtedly the reverse of one of our qualities, the requirement. Nevertheless, we train future adults who dare not assert themselves or undertake. Contrary to what I observed in the United States, where I was able to carry out part of my studies, we do not offer a sufficiently positive education.
What do you mean by that ?
MT-K. : Even if he does not fit the mold, each child has qualities that deserve to be highlighted. This requires a more personalized approach, probably easier to proclaim than to implement in very busy classes. And, more generally, it is important to cultivate the qualities that are essential for bouncing back in the event of failure, such as optimism, curiosity, teamwork, communication, and a sense of the general interest. Transversal skills that young people will need more than ever, in a world where lifetime employment will probably no longer exist. The education system could develop them further, via active pedagogies, which are insufficiently valued. But these qualities are also acquired outside, in the extension of the classroom. The openness of the school to its environment offers part of the solution.
Does this mean that our society too often approaches education from the exclusive angle of the school?
MT-K. : When, in 1994, we created Unis-Cité, our conviction was that young people lacked the time spent in concretely serving the general interest, learning through action in the service of people we don’t know, to work as a team in diversity and mixing. A structural time of non-formal education that allows the development of empathy and fraternity. This is how civic service was born, which in my view should become essential and complementary to school. In 2020, 132,000 young people benefited from this scheme. For 2021, the authorities had promised to increase this figure to 200,000. In reality, the number of places actually financed by the State is more around 100,000. For an age group of 800,000 people…
Should civic service be made compulsory?
MT-K. : For me, civic service should be part of everyone’s education. Every young person, between the ages of 16 and 30, should give themselves this time of commitment. Participating in the reception of refugees, becoming an ambassador for energy savings or helping families of disabled children, while being compensated… This experience can allow a dropout to revive himself by experiencing an absolutely vital feeling of usefulness. social. On leaving civic service, one in two resumes training in high school or on a work-study basis. Civic service can also offer a break to a student, help him to take a step back, to put the race for diplomas on hold. But I don’t think it should be made mandatory. Basically, it should be like the bac. Nothing forces you to pass it. But we do everything to allow as many young people as possible to obtain it.
→ INVESTIGATION. Parcoursup: investigation into the algorithms that decide the future of our children
Some training courses, on Parcoursup, however favor candidates who pass their baccalaureate during the year, to the detriment of young people who, for example, have chosen to perform civic service directly after the end of high school…
MT-K. : This is one of Parcoursup’s fundamental errors. It is planned that young people can take a gap year. But they must first enroll in college, before requesting a one-year postponement of the start of their studies. It’s absurd. The year of civic service allows you to think about the meaning you want to give to your life and the direction you want to give it.