One of the most controversial measures of the Blanquer reform in 2019 was the disappearance of mathematics from compulsory subjects in first and final classes of the general stream.
The Ministry of National Education announced on Sunday the return of mathematics education “obligatoryat the start of the 2023 school year for all high school students in the general stream from the first class, settling one of the most controversial measures of the Blanquer reform.
Educational community, researchers, big bosses and politicians were concerned about the decline in the scientific pool as well as the strengthening of social and gender inequalities caused, since the reform implemented in 2019, by the disappearance of mathematics in the common core of subjects compulsory courses taught in first and final classes of the general stream.
An hour and a half of mathematics will be made compulsory for all first general students who have not chosen the mathematics specialty, said the Ministry of National Education in a press release. During the 2022 presidential campaign, the candidate Macron had promised the return of maths in the common core in the event of re-election, before recording this reintroduction from the start of the 2022 school year but only as an option.
Promotion of mathematics
The announcement, which occurred a dozen weeks before the start of the school year, had been criticized for its haste and a small number of pupils had finally chosen this option during the 2022-23 school year. This measure is part of a strategy led by the Minister of National Education Pap Ndiaye aiming to make 2023 “the promotion year of mathematics“with the key to two objectives”reconcile all students» with this discipline and «promote equality between girls and boys“.
This strategy declines a battery of measures including the establishment of groups with reduced numbers in mathematics in 6th grade or objectives such as that of parity between girls and boys by 2027 in the mathematics, physics-chemistry or mathematics specialties. reputedly the most selective experts.
Although France is renowned for its tradition of excellence in mathematical research with 13 winners of the Fields Medal often presented as the equivalent of the “Nobel for math», French pupils face increasing difficulties in learning the discipline. Thus a quarter of the students do not have the expected level in mathematics at the end of the third class, recalls the ministry in its press release.
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