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On secularism, more accommodating young teachers



Highlighted by previous studies, the generational divide on secularism also exists in the teaching world. According to an Ifop study for the Jean-Jaurès Foundation, teachers say they are almost unanimously in favor (92%) of the 2004 law prohibiting students from wearing religious symbols at school, but this rate drops at the same time than the age of those questioned, with a gap of nearly ten points between those under 30 (86%) and 40-49 (95%).

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The gap is widening even more on the assumption of a reinforcement of neutrality. The wearing of “conspicuous” religious symbols such as a cross, veil or kippah by accompanying parents is thus supported by half (56%) of young teachers, against a third (32%) of over 50s. Likewise, 57% of young teachers support the wearing of conspicuous signs by students, against only 27% of those over 50.

A liberal conception of secularism

This confirms a generational divide with regard to religious expression. In January, Ifop had questioned high school students on the subject and it appeared that one in two young people said they were in favor. “Wearing conspicuous religious symbols” by students, a proportion twice that of the adult population. François Kraus, director of the “politics / news” pole of Ifop then underlined “A form of ‘Americanization’ of mentalities”. Young people put more emphasis on “The right to be different and respect for minorities”, he explained.

When asked about secularism, the teaching world shows itself on the whole more attached to a liberal conception than the general population. For 37% of professors, this republican principle constitutes above all a legal framework intended to “To ensure the freedom of individual conscience”. They are only 16% to assign it the mission of reducing the influence of religions in society. The difference is significant with the general opinion for which these proposals collect respectively 23% (- 14 points) and 26% (+ 10 points).

Compulsory training for all teachers

“Unlike all French people, few teachers see secularism a form of ‘cultural struggle'”, analyzes the Ifop. The publication of this study will feed the reflection of the government which is preparing to launch a vast program of mobilization of teachers (and civil servants in general) on secularism and the values ​​of the Republic. The separatism bill, which should be definitively adopted on July 22, establishes the principle of compulsory training for all officers.

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Jean-Michel Blanquer announced in June the deployment of a thousand trainers at the start of the school year and plans to make it an evaluation subject for the recruitment of educational staff. So many avenues that should be presented during the first interministerial secular committee scheduled for Monday July 12 but postponed to the 15th due to the health emergency.

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