Attacks on secularism are not all reported in colleges and high schools, according to a union
THE attacks on secularism would not all be counted. This is the observation made by the main union of heads of establishments (SNPDEN-Unsa) which published a survey on the subject on Tuesday. Believing that violations of this principle are far from being all reported, the union again asked the government for “clear instructions”.
“We launched an internal observatory with the idea of having a forum for reflection around the issues,” Didier Georges, principal and co-president of this observatory, explained to the press. For the first time, a survey was carried out from September 2022 to last January among 1,000 heads of college and high school establishments (out of a total of 8,000). Result: outfits with religious connotations, teaching challenges or difficulties on school trips are not systematically reported, according to this panel.
A “poorly adapted tool” for establishments
Some 42% of the staff questioned say they have noticed the presence of pupils with “so-called cultural clothing but which can be used in the context of a religious practice”, such as qamis (long clothing for men) or abayas (clothing traditional for women). “Among these staff, 43% did not report the facts to their hierarchy”, notes the SNPDEN-Unsa.
On the outfits, the union indicates that “72% of the general and technological high schools that responded are concerned”. “It’s huge”, judge Didier Georges. “We were surprised by the fact that so many heads of establishments do not report these facts”, explains Bruno Bobkiewicz, secretary general of SNPDEN-Unsa.
This is explained, according to him, by “a tool that is poorly adapted, the fact that the heads of establishments have sometimes solved the problem directly, that they are holding back because they do not want to be stigmatized, that they don’t want to be alone at the front”. “The idea of no waves also remains very present”, adds Didier Georges.
Between 300 and 700 attacks on secularism per month
To remedy this, the union demands “clear instructions with a circular concerning the status of these outfits”. “There is no need for a law, you just have to tell us if it is yes or if it is no (for these outfits), but that cannot be subject to the interpretation of the heads of establishments”, insists Bruno Bobkiewicz.
Since September, the Ministry of Education has identified between 300 and 700 cases per month attacks on secularism. In November, the ministry published a circular on this subject to better protect the educational community. But the Minister Pap Ndiaye repeatedly pointed out that it was not possible to “publish endless catalogs specifying dress lengths”.