While she caused an outcry on Friday by explaining that she had chosen to educate her children in a private establishment due to the difficulties of replacing teachers in the public sector, the new Minister of National Education, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, said “regret[r]” having been able to “hurt certain public education teachers” by its justification, Saturday January 13.

“I had no intention of doing so,” said the new minister in a statement sent to Agence France-Presse, where she explained that she had simply responded “directly”, “with sincerity and transparency”, to a question asked by journalists. “I know what I owe to public schools and their teachers. I will always be at their side, as I will be alongside the entire educational community,” argues Ms. Oudéa-Castéra, adding: “The French expect us to be lucid about the difficulties. And they expect us to take action to deal with them. »

“Last school year, 15 million hours were not replaced. This is a loss of opportunity for our youth and their education,” underlines the woman who was appointed Thursday at the head of this large ministry of education, youth, sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. “We have made a fight out of this problem, by already going from 5 to 15% of replaced absences, by changing the organization of training so that it is no longer done on time in front of students,” she continues. .

“There is still a lot to do,” recognizes Amélie Oudéa-Castéra. And I committed as soon as I took office to take up this fight, by continuing the reforms initiated aimed at the upgrading of careers. » She concludes her letter by saying that she will “meet in the next few days all the stakeholders in national education, to build together”.

The government is “rolling up its sleeves”

Since Friday, the new government has been trying to evict the controversy surrounding the schooling of the minister’s children at the Stanislas private middle and high school, a Catholic, elitist and conservative institution in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, by highlighting its action to resolve the problem of unreplaced teacher absences.

Questioned on the subject on the sidelines of a trip to Dijon, the Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, estimated on Saturday that “the minister spoke transparently about the choices she made in her family and about her life”. “As for the question of unreplaced absences, there too I find that there is a lot of hypocrisy among certain commentators or among certain politicians,” he said, judging that “it is enough to exchange with French people, with parents of students, to understand that this question is an important issue.

“Does that mean it’s the fault of our teachers, our teaching teams, our teachers? Obviously not,” continued Mr. Attal, assuring that the government “rolls up its sleeves on this subject,” which he says “took on head on” when he was at the head of the ministry. education over the past five months.

According to him, the “primary reason for unreplaced absences is first and foremost the organization of the national education system”, on which the government has initiated reforms, he added, citing the pact teacher put in place at the start of the 2023 school year and teacher training outside school hours.

Promised by Emmanuel Macron during his campaign for his re-election in 2022, the teaching pact provides for salary increases conditional on new missions such as replacements, internships during vacations and academic support. Then Minister of National Education, Mr. Attal said at the end of September that one in four teachers had signed the pact.

“Default choice”

On Saturday morning, the new government spokesperson, Prisca Thevenot, also brushed aside the lawsuit filed against the new Minister of Education. “There would be controversy if a responsible member of the government made an observation without proposing solutions,” she said on France 2, referring to the increase in replaced absences.

Another member of the government, Aurore Bergé, minister responsible for equality between men and women, defended her colleague on Friday evening. “What she experienced as a mother – and it is first and foremost an intimate subject, of family life, of personal life – many parents have experienced it,” she said on France 5 .

“The problem today is that you have far too many parents who make a default choice to send their children to private school because they consider that they do not find, within public school, sufficient evidence to justify their staying there,” she said, before adding: “Our challenge is to ensure that all parents consider that they no longer have to do choice by default. »