After two months of vacation, schoolchildren (6.5 million), college students (3.4 million) and high school students (2.2 million) will find friends, discover their teachers and know their schedule.

“On the eve of the start of the school year, the President – @EmmanuelMacron – wanted to send a message to the students who are victims of harassment: you are not alone”, tweeted the Head of State on behalf of the Elysée. Wednesday evening.

Unlike the two previous back-to-school periods, teachers and students will not wear masks, due to the lull on the Covid-19 front. Two years ago, middle and high school students had to put it on. Last year, this was the case for all students from CP.

The protocol applicable to this return to school will be at the “base” level, the lowest of the new health framework. It provides, in addition to the absence of a mask, that the students are welcomed face-to-face, without restriction for physical activities and without limitation of mixing between them.

The start of the school year took place last year under the seal of the health crisis. This year, it is under that of the teacher recruitment crisis that it will take place. A phenomenon which is not new but which has worsened further this year, with more than 4,000 unfilled positions in the country’s competitions, out of 27,300 open positions in the public and private sectors (and 850,000 teachers in total).

The Minister of Education Pap Ndiaye has been repeating it for several days: even if the conditions “are not optimal”, the start of the school year will be “comparable to that of last year”, “with a teacher in front of each class”.

To overcome this shortage, the National Education has recruited contract teachers – 3,000 according to Pap Ndiaye – trained in a few days before finding themselves facing a class.

– “Explosive return” –

In order to reassure, again, the Minister of Education, who is making his first comeback to this position, repeated that “more than 80% of contract workers have already taught”.

However, he anticipated the possible tensions to come, explaining on Tuesday on RTL that this “does not exclude during the year, difficulties in certain disciplines”.

Concerns are strong on the side of parents of students as well as unions, who denounce “a tinkering” in the face of the recruitment of contract workers during the summer.

“The promise of a teacher to each student seems more like a political slogan than reality,” said Sophie Vénétitay, general secretary of Snes-FSU, the first secondary union, this week. This union started the keyword

“We will have adults in front of the classes, not teachers”, declares the Snuipp-FSU, the first primary union, which already fears that the lack of replacements will be felt from the first sick or maternity leaves.

Parents of students also fear “an explosive return to school”, told AFP Nageate Belahcen, co-president of the FCPE, the first federation of parents of students. “Absent teachers who are not replaced, contract workers who are not sufficiently trained or maths in high school…Families are anxious”, she says. Maths is reintroduced this year (but as an option) in the common core in high school from the First, after having been removed by the reform of the baccalaureate of Jean-Michel Blanquer, predecessor of Pap Ndiaye.

To restore the attractiveness of the teaching profession, the government has laid down some milestones on the remuneration side. Pap Ndiaye promised that “no teacher would start their career at less than 2,000 euros net per month from the start of the 2023 school year”. This will be “a starting salary, excluding bonuses”. And “significant” increases will take place, he added, without giving a timetable.