Emmanuel Macron begins his reform of secondary vocational schools

Posted on September 13, 2022 at 9:54 amUpdated September 13, 2022 at 2:35 p.m

During the presidential campaign, he promised to make it a “big project”. The head of state begins his reform of the secondary vocational school, this Tuesday, in Sables d’Olonne.

With the Minister of National Education Papa Ndiaye and Minister’s Envoy Carole Grandjean, Emmanuel Macron will go to the Lycée Eric Tabarly from noon. The “role model” institution, which trains students with the status of a school for the nautical sector, apprentices and adults in permanent education, welcomes rector Katia Béguin. “Business [y] they are very involved in the framework of training actions”, we met at the Elysée Hall on the eve of the arrival of Emmanuel Macron. And “high school teachers are going to colleges so that the nautical sector is better known”.

Discover the professions that are hiring

These meetings with students where trades are revealed illustrate the first axis of the reform. The executive power thus intends to have “motivated students” in secondary vocational schools, instead of the orientation that is “still too burdened” today, it is claimed in the company of the head of state.

At a time when companies are suffering from labor shortages, the idea is to introduce students to the professions they are hiring for. This could lead to an “additional mission” for vocational teachers, who would be paid more for it, under the future teachers’ pact.

Student motivation also goes hand in hand with “well-adapted pedagogy” including “more French and math lessons” and “fewer students facing the teacher,” says the Elysée. However, how not to jeopardize the existing teaching if the duration of the internship is increased by 50 percent at the beginning of the 2023 school year, the professors of secondary vocational schools ask.

More time at work

“For us, this is not true, and for fifteen years the number of hours has only decreased”, points out Xavier Mauléon, representative of the Tabarly high school of the Snetaa-FO trade union, the first trade union for vocational education.

The union’s fear is that general learning will bear the brunt of increased time at the company. “More practice for students does not mean less general education, they are students who need it, so it is not an idea to cut them short”, we hammered in the Elysée, referring to the “freedom” of local teams to organize themselves – autonomy is the watchword of the reform.

“Perhaps not all students will go to practice at the same time,” suggests the boss’s entourage, referring to “seasonal courses that [peuvent] lead to an internship at that time of the year”.

“The concern is very high,” says Antoine Noël, Sgen-CFDT’s academic representative at the institution. From the outside, it could be said that it will be good for the students. But how will it be implemented? If we solve this issue locally, it will be a rat race and the law of the fittest, and young people will pay the price. Projects are unclear and we have no help to understand. The trade unionist is also sorry that the CFDT is not a stakeholder in the inter-union. “It is a big difficulty [de ne pas y être], slips. Our alliance is trying to figure out how it will happen, talking about it is good, but in the end the Government will do what it wants.

The heads of institutions gathered within SNPDEN also say that they are “not completely convinced”. “There is a real desire to improve the image of the professional path, and we can only share that goal, points out Bruno Bobkiewicz, its general secretary, but there is no answer, we need real consultation and not only within the CNR.

In order to “improve” the secondary vocational school, students will be paid for this practice. During the presidential campaign, the amount of compensation paid by the state was set at 200 euros per month until the age of 18 and 500 euros thereafter, up to the age of 25. This would make it possible to align what trainees see from vocational training and the youth employment contract that allows young people under 25 to receive training for a fee.

Insert “successful”

The second axis of the reform relates to professional integration. “The professional path is designed to find a job after these degrees, explains Elysée. Especially since there are many professions in which companies are looking for employees. During a round table with business leaders on Tuesday afternoon, Emmanuel Macron is due to discuss the work done within the Nautical Trades and Qualifications Campus to “identify all trades in the sector”.

“We are asked to approach the company as if this is not already the case,” laments Yannick Biliec, who is in charge of secondary vocational schools at CGT. Improving integration starts with improving technical platforms.” He mentions secondary schools where plumbing professions are trained where students “still work on fuel and gas cells, and the challenge is to support them in new technologies such as heat pumps”.

As for the students who decide to continue their studies, they must be “successful”, Elizejska insists, while of the 64 percent of vocational school graduates who apply for the BTS, only 35 percent get them.

In order to “facilitate better learning”, the entourage of the head of state continues to call for “local consultations with all actors of the territory”, “within each institution”. Institutions could offer a three-year CAP with a first year of refresher courses or additional training at a local initiative (FCIL) after the professional baccalaureate, as offered by Lycée Tabarly, combining small groups of students and internships in a company. Students will have “more academic baggage” and will be “better armed”, the Elysée assures us.

“Turkeys with stuffing”

All the difficulties for Emmanuel Macron will be to comply with the “new method” he has called for under the National Re-establishment Council by leaving the hands to local actors, even as concerns grow about the future of secondary schools. The future of secondary schools is “at risk”, unions are concerned. “There is no threat” to the vocational schools, replies the Elysée.

At Eric Tabarly’s high school, according to Xavier Mauléon, the teachers are “angered” by the flow of the day. “Our word is very tentative and limited, he regrets. Emmanuel Macron is coming to the secondary vocational school, but the topic of the round table will refer to the campus of trades and apprenticeships. There is a lot of disorder and concern among teachers, we have the impression that we are a bit of a farce.” On Tuesday morning, ten of the forty teachers of Tabarly High School “walked out” to express their dissatisfaction.

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