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Moral and civic education, towards a new reform?



Tuesday, January 11, on the occasion of his greetings to the press and in the context of the submission of the report of the Bronner commission on the fight against disinformation, Emmanuel Macron announced that he was in favor of the establishment of“a new civic education” where we would teach “the precariousness of democracy and the values ​​that are ours”.

Teaching to be systematized according to the Bronner commission

Reformed for the last time in 2015, moral and civic education (EMC) is now taught to students, from CP to terminale, with around 300 hours of lessons. Media and information literacy (EMI) is integrated into the EMC program, from primary school to high school, and can also be approached transversally throughout the curriculum as part of the “citizen journey”. » set up following the attacks of 2015.

According to Iannis Roder, member of the Bronner commission, this is still insufficient: “Today the gateways to information for students are social networks: they are flooded with images and information without having the tools to decipher them”, reports the history teacher. In his 27and recommendation, the commission recommends the systematization of the training of students in critical thinking, in the media and in information, from primary school until after the baccalaureate, which it considers to be very heterogeneous.

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The report also recommends the training of teachers, so that they can be able to integrate MIL and critical thinking education “in a transversal way, in the teaching of their discipline”, specifies Iannis Roder, referring to the teachers of history-geography, philosophy and languages.

Insufficient number of hours

Christine Guimonnet, professor and general secretary of the Association of History and Geography Teachers, already devotes part of her teaching to the EMC. “Wanting to educate the media and critical thinking is very good, but we need more hours”, she judges.

In her high school, the teacher only sees her students for an hour every two weeks. Sometimes forced to group these hours in “blocks” to have time to start projects, she believes that it should be devoted to EMC “at least one hour a week”.

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That is double the current hours, around 18 per year in high school. In October 2020, following the assassination of Samuel Paty, Jean-Michel Blanquer had already announced that he wanted to increase the number of hours of moral and civic education “from next school year” (in September 2021) during an interview with Parisian. A measure also recommended by more than 130 deputies and senators who signed a forum published last November in the World.

“A real gap between ambition and reality”

The student members of the association Projet Democratia, at the initiative of this forum, started from an observation: “We all had EMC courses less than five years ago. And it’s not finished, we can do much more. » The association deplores a material perceived as “secondary” by students, sometimes used as an adjustment variable by some teachers to catch up in other subjects. And “a real discrepancy between the ambition carried by this material and reality”.

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In addition to an increase in the number of course hours, the association would like to make it compulsory for local elected officials to visit classes (prefects, deputies, regional councillors, mayors) and set up a “citizen project” carried out on the long term by the students, to get out of the theoretical framework and benefit “a very concrete awakening to citizenship, more focused on practice”.

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