The mission of the Senate calls for the return of civic training

A few months after the Court’s very critical report on the EMC, a Senate fact-finding mission led by Stéphane Piednoir (LR) and Henri Cabanel (RDSE) also called for a change in the EMC framework. Too much discussion, too little knowledge, the EMC suspects it has something to do with young people’s dissatisfaction with politics. Remedies are written in the sergeant’s major. The EMC must pass on knowledge, especially about the institutions, but avoid criticizing elected officials and preparing young people for their participation in official ceremonies.

Redefining EMC

“We need to reorient the EMC to what was at the beginning, to the functioning of institutions with more valuable documents for those who practice democracy on a daily basis.” The formula of Stéphane Piednoir, chairman of the Senate Information Mission “How to revive civic culture”, summarizes part of the report on national education, which also contains election recommendations.

Observing young people’s non-participation in the elections, senators quickly concluded that “it is difficult to find a message that we all share” (S Piednoir). Their report contains a dozen recommendations concerning national education and in particular the EMC.

Focus on the knowledge of institutions

The mission calls for “redefining the content of moral and civic education (EMC) around clear priorities.” He requests a rewrite of Article L312-15 of the School Code. It is true that MEPs have not hesitated to add EMC over time. According to the article, “moral and civic education aims in particular to lead students to become responsible and free citizens, to develop critical meaning and to adopt reflective behavior, including when using the Internet and online communication services with the public. teaching includes education at the values ​​of the republic at all levels of school attendance, knowledge and respect for the rights of the child enshrined in law or international obligations, and an understanding of specific situations that undermine him. learn about the role of non-governmental organizations working in the field of child protection … Moral and civic education includes primary and secondary schools also education aimed at recognizing and respecting the problems of people with disabilities in an inclusive society … Moral and civic education also raises awareness among university and secondary school students in community life and civic service provided for in Title I bis of Book I of the National Service Code … the use of interactive tools in the use of online public communication services … Within moral education and civic, secondary and secondary school, students are encouraged to participate in a civic project within the association of general interest. Moral and civic education also raises pupils’ awareness of respect for pets in primary, secondary and secondary schools. Pets are shown to be sensitive and help prevent any animal cruelty. “

For senators, the EMC must first and foremost inform the institutions of the republic and their functioning. The mission believes that “recovery” is necessary. We need to “redefine the legislative basis of the EMC on the basis of clear priorities: to strengthen knowledge of democratic institutions as well as the principles of the republic, and to provide our young fellow citizens with the tools to understand the main issues (international, social and environmental). contemporary world; ensuring the stability of this legal basis over time “.

Change the pedagogy

But it is also necessary to change the pedagogy for the Mission. First, leave the cycles for the annual programs and “create clear and objective teaching tools”. For S Piednoir, “textbooks must do questioning conscience to provide tools that are not systematically pessimistic and systematic to criticize the system.” Senators are against knowledge and debate. “You have to have knowledge first … You have to reorient the EMC to what was in the beginning, to the functioning of the institutions.” They do not perceive that debate presupposes knowledge and is a way to acquire it.

This does not prevent them from thinking that they are better transmitters than teachers. They also want to “generalize meetings between students and elected representatives.” Another way to revive civic culture is to involve students in memorial celebrations, for example by placing them outside public holidays.

As for the modernization of the electoral process, they recommend dematerializing the sending of election propaganda, posting it on social networks and experimenting with electronic voting.

Towards a return to civic education

This report is published shortly after the publication of the Court’s report, which also pointed to students’ poor knowledge of the institutions. The Court called for a review of the programs and a strengthening of the evaluation, as recommended by the Senate report.

But this return to the past of civic education has been going on for a long time. In 2015, the EMC reform called for a change in pedagogy by writing cycles and promoting new pedagogies. Depending on the age of the students, we went through simple debates, they argued until contradictory. Five other techniques were introduced: philosophical discussion, clarification of values, moral dilemmas, clear messages and student councils.

E Macron’s first five-year tenure resulted in the rewriting of EMC programs in 2018. “We have moved from moral and civic culture to civic culture, period,” says Kéren Desmery, author of a thesis on EMC. The programs are reworked into a rigid and patriotic dimension: we are talking about the flag, the anthem and, above all, respect as respect.

In January 2022, S Ayada, still chair of the High Council of Programs, said before the Senate: “I am convinced that it is urgent to return to classical civic education, where we do not fight against all the ills of society. It is clear that the offensive continues to erase all EMC developments and return to civic education from the past. This Senate report is another small step on this path.

Francois Jarraud

Court of Auditors report

Kéren Desmery: a difficult EMC course

S Ayada

The return of civics

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