Despite the crowd of schoolchildren who rush out of the school gates, in yellow uniforms and in a merry hubbub, the exit from classes looks grim in Capesterre-Belle-Eau. Parents grab their children and walk away quickly. Aurélie barely lowers the window of her minivan: “Sorry, I’m in a hurry. And at the end of it too, it must be said ”, she blurted out, hailing her two boys, one in CE2, the other in CM2. Since February, the Alexius Lacroix elementary school no longer has a canteen, forcing parents to pick up their children at noon and keep them until 2 p.m. Almost all the other establishments on the island are in the same situation, because of a massive strike by municipal agents.
→ ANALYSIS. In Guadeloupe, the social crisis threatens
“I juggle with the family, sometimes I take them to work, but it is no longer sustainable”, sighs Aurélie. If some homes are doing as best they can, others are unable to bring the children back in the afternoon. “We see a high rate of absenteeism after 2 p.m.”, thus reveals Maya , teacher in a college in Petit-Bourg. Among the schoolchildren present, she notes an amplified fatigue. Parents also testify to a systematic refusal to return to class; Aurélie’s sons like lunch at home, in front of the television. Sometimes they even take a nap:“So you have to wake them up and inevitably they are not motivated for the rest of the day”
, regrets the mother.
“I take my children to school with a heavy heart” Regularly, too, the water supply is lacking. However, a directive requires that in the event of a power cut, and the absence of a functional emergency device, schools must keep their doors closed.“Every morning, I take my children to kindergarten with a heavy heart” , testifies Stéphanie, whose two sons are also educated in Capesterre-Belle-Eau. She tells a year 2019-2020“Absolutely erratic” , during which his children have accumulated in total“Barely three and a half months of class”
, between strikes, confinement, water problems and absenteeism of the teacher. Despite everything, she considers herself lucky, because she is able to ensure the learning of her children at home:“When entering the small section, mine already knew how to count to 10 and knew the colors”
, she reports. Other comrades arrive in kindergarten without ever having leafed through a book. The education of Guadeloupeans, in fact, is considered ” very fragile “by a report from the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE), dating from 2020: just over 12% of pupils are considered late for entering 6e , when 30.4% of young people read with difficulty, against 10.8% for the whole of France (according to figures from Defense and Citizenship Day in 2016). The Senate, for its part, noted at the end of 2010, “An unacceptable level of academic failure”
Inequality The pedagogical continuity thus undermined greatly worries the teachers.“We see the differences increase tenfold between connected households and others, between children whose parents can follow at home, and others”
, insists Maya. While the wealthiest households have the means for private lessons, at a rate of at least € 10 per hour, 20% of Guadeloupeans have a monthly standard of living of less than € 800, and cannot under any circumstances provide this additional cost.
→ REPORT. Guadeloupe: “In my neighborhood, there has been no running water for a month”
The State, via the France Relance Plan, will spend more than € 45,000 for schools in Guadeloupe, so that they acquire equipment adapted to health measures (individual tables, soap dispensers, etc.). However, the structural problems of public services will not be resolved.