“The exclusion of high school girls from scientific careers takes the situation of women back to a period before their economic emancipation”

Lhe new baccalaureate was launched three years ago. Supposed to diversify the profiles of students to facilitate their entry into higher education and the world of work, the new high school produces results whose consistency questions questions: the number of baccalaureate graduates prepared for science studies has been reduced by half, this is which we see when we compare the annual data from the evaluation, foresight and performance department of the Ministry of Education. Worse, that of scientific baccalaureate holders has decreased by 60% while professionals in industry, consulting, digital, engineering and high technology are demanding more people qualified in science and are worried about the too low presence of women.

Also read the article: Article reserved for our subscribers “The progressive destruction of mathematics teaching in high schools began in 1993”

69% of boys study maths in final year and only 45% of girls, leading to gender inequalities in scientific careers not seen in the last fifty years. Instead of increasing the number of young people trained in science, the 2019 high school reform brings them back to those of the 1980s, undermining France’s scientific sovereignty.

Faced with these findings, the alert has been given for two years by public statistical services, relayed by everyone, to the point of becoming a presidential campaign subject. However, the ministry’s late reaction remains unrelated to the importance of the issues for the country. Imposed from the start of the 2023 school year for first grade students not choosing the math specialty, the addition of an hour and a half of mathematics cannot have an impact on the scientific public to which it is not aimed. Indeed, high school mathematics is an essential foundation for any pursuit of studies in technology and science, including economic and social. This measure will therefore neither increase the number of students with scientific training nor restore the previous quasi-balance of gender. We are therefore in an impe whose consequences are lasting and dramatic.

New constraints

Sustainable, because they impact future primary school teachers: tomorrow, these aspiring school teachers will have much less training in mathematics. This change in profiles portends increased difficulties in teaching mathematics and science at school that only intensive continuing training could reduce in the long term. While international studies show the steady decline in the level of students in mathematics for decades, the prospects for improvement are receding.

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