By one figure, Emmanuel Macron swept away the issue. “During my first five-year term, (…) we managed to respond to the problem of long absences of teachers,” welcomed the President of the Republic during his press conference on Tuesday January 16. “We have had fantastic results,” he insisted, based on a rate of “95%” of long absences replaced in secondary education. The “feeling on the ground” according to which the Republican promise “of a teacher in front of each student” is not kept results, according to the Head of State, from “short-term absences”, very few replaced . “We are in the process of tackling [these absences],” concluded Emmanuel Macron, in reference to the “teacher pact” that he wanted to create in September 2023 to encourage volunteer teachers to accept overtime to ensure, in particular, short replacements.

These statements offended the teaching unions and many parents of students. “It’s a total distortion of assessment compared to what we are experiencing on the ground, where the situation is still just as catastrophic, particularly regarding long-term replacements! », protests Grégoire Ensel, president of the FCPE. “We have the same feedback as usual, it’s no better than previous years,” says Laurent Zameczkowski, spokesperson for the PEEP parents’ federation.

The subject gained sensitivity when the new Minister of National Education pointed out, on Friday January 12, a “lot of hours not seriously replaced” in the public to justify her choice to send her children to private school fifteen years ago. years. The accusation, in the case of Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, was unfounded. But, beyond her personal situation, the declaration outraged by establishing the idea that the first head of the public education service bypassed the public school – which welcomes 80% of the students – to avoid for her children a problem that the ministry has the responsibility to resolve.

As such, the presentation made by the Head of State of this subject at the heart of the concerns of parents is not politically insignificant. For absences of less than fifteen days, those known as short-term absences, the rule established by national education is that the rectorates do not assign replacements and that their coverage relies on the middle and high school teams, responsible for compensating in internal. National education, on the other hand, is required to appoint replacements for absences of more than fifteen days, for which each failure renders the State – and therefore the government – ​​responsible.