Gabriel Attal's lightning-fast transition to national education, a long-term service

The new prime minister is no stranger to records. After becoming the youngest minister of the Ve Republic: Gabriel Attal, who turns 35, became the youngest prime minister in Republican history on Tuesday January 9th – ahead of Laurent Fabius, who was appointed in 1984 at the age of 37. The new host of Matignon leaves the national education system after just five months at the helm of the state’s largest ministry, making him one of the shortest-lived tenants of Rue de Grenelle in the Ve. A short passage that only reinforces the belief in educational circles: the time of school, the time of slow and permanent change, is decidedly very difficult to reconcile with the time of political careers.

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Gabriel Attal was appointed national education officer in July 2023 after an important year in the budget ministry and seemed to have no difficulty taking his place in the chair of his predecessor, the intellectual Pap Ndiaye, who came in after a year with a balance sheet. Most observers of Macronia are more mixed Opinion. THE “young Gabriel”as former Prime Minister Jean Castex called it, multiplies media interventions and makes rapid announcements, not without exhausting the educational staff and their representatives.

At the end of August, he made a change to the much-maligned timetable for the new high school diploma and postponed the most important subject exams from March to June, as the majority of unions had long demanded. The ban on abayas and qamis in school also solves a problem over which school principals have been putting pressure on the ministry for months. The issue is at the center of media attention at the beginning of the school year, the unions grumble and push into the background unfilled positions and unreplaced teachers, which are still numerous despite the promises of the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron.

Failures

As pleasant as Pap Ndiaye behaved discreetly in front of the cameras, the Minister of Education was able to spark counterattacks and avoid numerous controversies: in the face of the outcry caused by a threatening letter from the Versailles Rectorate to the family of a molested young man who then ended his life, he defended himself the victims, the rectorate castigates, promising sanctions. He highlights the issue of harassment from the beginning of the school year, participates in the development of an interministerial plan and announces the generalization “Empathy course” Schools decide whether students complete self-assessment questionnaires.

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