The key to increasing citizen participation?

The high rate of absenteeism during the two rounds of the presidential election raises the question of changing the functioning of the institutions or even moving towards the Sixth Republic. This should lead to questions related to the functioning of the Republican school so that it effectively trains citizens to participate in the political life of the country.



Read more: Five Questions to Understand Youth’s Abstinence


Even before the recent presidential election, the “Committee for the Evaluation of Public Policy” has submitted an important factual report, registered in the presidency of the National Assembly on March 8 this year, in favor of “Citizenship Evaluation in Citizenship”. It was already a real cry of alarm.

General observation: “The dissatisfaction of the youth towards politics is significant. It affects political parties as well as institutions and leads to the relative importance of democracy. This leads to different habits: abstaining ten points more on average than the rest of the population. A non-stop vote.

The report indicates an ambition that is clearly present in secondary programs from 2013: “an ambition for citizenship that has developed considerably in its themes, such as its methods: two essential axes, including ethical and civic education (EMC) and media and information literacy (MIL); The development of democracy. ”But the report emphasizes that“ assessment is at the bottom of the text: avoiding debate education, variability in teaching is non-existent, school democracy is seldom effective. […]. Frustrated, college and high school students turned their backs on the authority of school democracy.

“Simultaneous” mode, “reciprocal” mode

According to the report, one of the two reasons for the disappointing results of “moral and civic education” is the “polarity of school democracy”. The work of Mrs. Geraldine Bozek (quoted by name) whose research focuses on citizenship education and its effects effectively highlights the fact that students retain the feeling of not being heard in the school environment because developing participating organizations have not changed the power relationship between adults over the years. And students.

In this case, it must be clearly understood that this situation is a legacy of a long and strange history that survives … throughout the first half of the 19th century.And Over the centuries, the two educational “modes” that then challenged school leadership (such as the “simultaneous mode” of the Christian school brothers and the “reciprocal mode” of the Society for Elementary Instruction of the Liberal political allegiance were clearly considered). That the method of organizing their schools should be equivalent to the kind of society they wanted and supported.



Read more: Learning differently: “Mutual class” experience


The Brothers’ “simultaneous mode” of Christian schools – where one master teaches the same knowledge to all students at the same time – is portrayed by the protagonist as a “mode” of organization and pedagogy in society, ultra-realists who seek to restore old rule by divine authority. An absolute monarchy. Their first quality is obviously loyalty. The others are regularity, humility, modesty. It’s about discipline, disciplining yourself. Magisterial authority is at the heart of this ambition and this system.

Working in small groups was already at the center of conventional mutual education in the 19th century.
PC Klaestrup (1820-1882) / Wikimedia

The “mutual mode” of the Society for Elementary Instruction is perceived by the heroes as an educational expression of liberalism and constitutional monarchy. There, the classes bring together students of different ages and levels, and the most advanced students help the teacher, play the role of tutor, and pass on their knowledge to small groups of their comrades. In early 1816, Bulletin of the Society for Elementary Education It says:

“Look elsewhere for a more credible picture of a constitutional monarchy; The rules, like the law, extend to everything there, dominate everything and protect the student against the monitor and against the master if necessary. The teacher represents the king. He has general monitors (students) who rule under him like his ministers; These are in turn assisted by specialized trainers. Students have the rights of the masses as well as the nation in the shadow of this true government institution.

The name “Mutual Mode” is taken from the place given by “Monitors”, the students lead the other students’ instructions. “Merit” is rewarded by access to various monitor locations; Which also opens up the possibility of some children participating in the jury. In fact, when serious misconduct occurs, the master sets up a jury (consisting of the most prominent students among the instructors) to be responsible for the investigation and sentencing.

This is also something that cannot be acknowledged by the super-monarchs, by the proponents of absolute monarchy by divine authority. Lamenais Rebel: “It distorts the notion of power by handing over command to childhood. […] Accustoming children to orders, putting magisterial authority in their hands, is not this the opposite view of old education, isn’t it transforming every school into a republic? A

School civic experience

The paradox is that the Republican school will obviously work with the power of teachers in the “absolute monarchy” of the Brothers of Christian schools (or near the favorite “enlightened dictatorship” to the influential currents of enlightened philosophy). Liberalism of the “constitutional monarchy” and the Society for Elementary Instruction.

Yet it is significant that the question resurfaced in the “new education” movement. For example, when at the beginning of XXAnd One of the most outstanding pioneers of the century (such as Adolf Ferrier) has tried to highlight a “conscious and thoughtful” concept of a new teaching, highlighting some of the thirty features that have so far been “poorly defined and incompletely defined”. The system of school republics “and the emergence of” constitutional monarchy “in point 22” in the absence of a unified democratic system “.

Beatrice Anser, Ovid DeCroly, Pierre Bouvet, Eduard Clapared, Paul Gehib and Adolf Ferrier during the International League for New Education conference.
Ensojer English Wikipedia Photographer Unknown, via Wikimedia

The famous Langevin-Wallon Plan of 1947, which outlines a global reform of education at the time of its release, begins the chapter devoted to this question with a very characteristic quote from Paul Langevin:

“Schools teach children about social life and especially democratic life. Thus emerges the idea of ​​a school group with a democratic structure where children participate as future citizens and where basic civic qualities can be developed, not through lessons and speeches, but through life and experience: responsibility, accepted discipline, sacrifice for the common good, integrated Activities and where different experiences of “self-government” in school life will be used “.

And while the text of the Langevin-Wallon Plan explains that moral and civic education must be accompanied by practice in the school environment, the school offers students a “society designed to measure” where they can feel respect, responsibility or a sense of belonging to others. Taste of initiative. “In a democratic system of governance, every citizen is faced with a dual responsibility in professional life: the responsibility of the leader, the responsibility of the executive. So school activities need to be organized in such a way that everyone has alternative responsibilities for instruction and performance. A

Well, it must be said, seventy-five years later, these issues are on the agenda (more than ever?). Do we have to end V’s organization?And The essence of the republic is basically more bona fide than the republic, and for that there must be an ad hoc body of republic schools where everyone is effectively trained to be “co-sovereign”?

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