In a column published online the day before by Le Monde, the promotion Germaine Tillon (2021-2022) of the former National School of Administration (ENA) strongly protested against its “training conditions”.
Created in 1945 by General de Gaulle, the ENA, sacrificed on the altar of the yellow vests crisis as part of a vast reform of the senior civil service wanted by Emmanuel Macron, gave way on January 1 to the National Institute of Public Service (INSP).
But the creation of this institute, lamented the promotion Germaine Tillon, baptized with the name of this great figure of the Resistance, has “so far resulted in a chaotic course” marked by “brutal changes in the content of the teachings” and “permanent improvisation”.
According to the strikers, 85% of the students of the promotion did not go to class on Thursday.
The management of the INSP, they however indicated, “expressed its wish to begin negotiations”, an outstretched hand accepted by the students who intend “to give a chance to the discussions now under way”.
A new general assembly of their promotion was to meet Thursday evening, outside the walls of the ENA, to decide on “follow-up to be given to the movement on the basis of the progress of the negotiations”, they specified.
In their forum in Le Monde, the students warn: “Today it is the very attractiveness of the public service that is in danger”.
– Movement of mood –
Their anger follows in the wake of that of the diplomats who stopped work on June 2 to also protest against a series of reforms affecting the Quai d’Orsay, a first there too for decades.
“The extinction of the prefectural corps and the diplomatic corps” and “the abolition of our school” were “orchestrated without sufficient visibility” and “deeply destabilized the officials concerned”, lamented the promotion Germaine Tillon in her tribune at Le Monde.
Such a movement of mood in the hushed and polished universe of the ENA, where the sacrosanct duty of reserve of civil servants is usually cultivated, has been unprecedented since November 1991. At the time, the students of the ENA had occupied the Parisian premises of the school to protest against its move to Strasbourg, decided by Prime Minister Edith Cresson.
Today’s students, if they share “the desire to improve the training of civil servants” in the “service of public action closer to citizens”, deplore that “the dysfunctions within the new INSP jeopardize these goals”.
They are particularly concerned about the legal insecurity that weighs on their exit tests, pointing to “the uncertainty and opacity generated” by these tests which “are still not defined within thirty days of their expiry”.
– “Big listening work” –
Without calling into question “the end of direct access” of enarques fresh out of the great bodies of the State, they also regret that “certain positions offered at the end of the INSP do not correspond to senior management functions of State”.
Asked by AFP, the Ministry of Transformation and Public Service who met them on Tuesday observed that “like any reform, this reform raises questions” but speaks of a “big listening job”.
Assuring to be in “a posture of dialogue”, the ministry however intends to recall “the meaning of the reform” of the senior civil service, namely “more operationality” and “more proximity” with the field.
As for the management of the INSP, questioned by AFP, it did not wish to speak.
At the beginning of February, a few weeks after taking office, the first director of the INSP, Maryvonne Le Brignonen had nevertheless expressed the wish that, just like the reform of the withholding tax at source that she had led successfully at Bercy, that of the ENA “is going so well that in a few years, no one talks about it anymore”. This bet has not yet been won.