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Secularism in France, teachers’ self-censorship on the rise according to an Ifop study

To avoid possible incidents in the classroom, 49% of teachers say they have already self-censored in their teaching around religious issues, a figure that has been rising since 2018 according to an Ifop survey for the Jean-Jaurès Foundation and Charlie Hebdo, published Wednesday January 6.

This investigation, which comes nearly three months after the assassination of Professor Samuel Paty, relates to ” challenges to secularism and religious claims experienced by teachers on school grounds », First part of a series of three on this theme. It was carried out online from December 10 to 17, 2020 with a sample of 801 first and second degree teachers in mainland France.

Thus, nearly half of the secondary teachers questioned (49%) affirm to have already self-censored in their teaching of religious questions in order not to cause possible incidents in their class, an increase of 13 points since 2018.

Regarding incidents related to the challenge to the principle of secularism, 40% of teachers say they have experienced incidents on issues relating to school catering, an increase of 5 points since 2018.

Most disputes in physical education and sports

Almost half (49%) of protests, or the fact that some students try to evade activities or lessons, occur during physical education and sports classes, a figure up 14 points compared to 2018 They also increase during lessons dealing with secularism (+12 points), during moral and civic education (+10 points) or even science lessons (+6 points).

On the other hand, they are down during artistic education lessons (-5 points compared to 2018) or even during technological lessons or professional workshops (-5 points).

Three quarters of professors support Samuel Paty’s decision

Asked about Samuel Paty’s decision to teach a course on freedom of expression based on press cartoons, three-quarters of the professors (75%) say they support him, 9% think he was wrong and 16 % prefer not to comment.

The Ministry of National Education indicated in early December that it had identified nearly 800 incidents (17% for apologizing for terrorism) during the tribute paid to Samuel Paty in schools.

In total, 44 definitive exclusions were pronounced by the establishments and 286 reports were made to the police-gendarmerie services and 136 to the public prosecutors.


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