“It’s going to be hot,” whispered an LREM deputy, before the discussions began. No outbursts of voice finally, but frank political opposition. For long hours, the special committee responsible for examining the bill “consolidating respect for the principles of the Republic” in the National Assembly debated the freedom of education. A very old debate, revived by the examination of article 21 of this sensitive text. This provides for restricting “family education” (approximately 50,000 children) by moving from a simple declaration system to a more restrictive authorization system. In the sights of the executive, the school “separatism” of radical Islamists and other sectarian excesses.
Even if the government had revised and relaxed its copy (which originally provided for an outright ban) even before its presentation to the Council of Ministers, this point remains one of the most debated of the bill. Subject to 250 amendments, including around 40 deletions (all rejected). And a factor of divisions among the Marchers, as on the side of the Republicans, while the PCF shows unreserved support for the measure.
“The Nazi regime abolished family education”
This Friday, January 22, the most virulent charge came from the deputy of Marne Charles de Courson, from the Libertés et Territoires group. Claiming that only “seven” European countries had implemented such a measure, he blurted out: “And do you know the German case? It was the Nazi regime, in 1938, which suppressed family education […]. So, above all, do not bring up the German case ”. An exit accompanied by the promise to go “to the Constitutional Council”.
“We must be subtle in our references to foreign countries”, retorts Jean-Michel Blanquer, calling for “to get out of the caricature”. “Freedom of education is not anything and everything,” insists the Minister of National Education.
To mitigate criticism, the majority ended up erasing the ban on family education requested because of “political, philosophical or religious convictions”. This formulation, which would have contravened the European Convention on Human Rights, is replaced by “the best interests of the child”. Discussions must continue behind the scenes between now and the arrival of the text in the hemicycle where, predicted a deputy LR, the exchanges “will be less padlocked”.