Prime Minister and Najat Vallaud-Belkacem visiting a school
15 January 2015

Taking action in schools to uphold the values of the Republic

The school system is the ultimate home of secularism, citizenship and community life.
Content published under the Government Valls II from 2014 26th August to 2016 11th February
The school system is on the front line of the response to attacks, to provide students with an explanation to the inexplicable and to manage their emotions and reactions. As of 7 January, the Minister of Education issued a circular to the entire educational community asking that a moment of silence be observed, as well as a letter requesting that forums for exchanges and dialogue be created.

Strong action will be put in place to ensure that schools uphold their values, following up on the measures to place the Republic’s schools on a new footing since 2012:
  • continuing training for teachers will be reinforced;
  • an ambitious plan will be implemented to develop the teaching of secularism in schools. With regard to the secular teaching of religious beliefs and secularism, a booklet is currently being prepared for school supervisors and directors;
  • the new programmes in preparation provide for new moral and civic education as of the beginning of the 2015 school year, from primary school to the end of secondary school. "It will include a cross-cutting programme of media education, issues linked to the fight against racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination, notions of rights and obligations, and the principle of secularism";
  • measures to combat racism and anti-Semitism will be stepped up;
  • a booklet on the prevention of radicalisation, a kind of sectarian aberration, will shortly be distributed to education personnel;
  • particular attention will be paid to teaching in prison environments and in closed educational centres, which represent key issues for national education and the Republic. This joint mission, conferred to judicial and national education services, is part of a move towards continuing education, the continuation or resumption of a training course or the preparation of a diploma;
As a reminder, the Charter for Secularism in Schools has been displayed in all educational institutions since the start of the 2013 school year. It explains the meaning of this fundamental principle and serves as a medium to promote and discuss secularism. This action on the values of the Republic, and secularism in particular, will also take place within school democracy bodies (school councils, boards of directors of institutions, etc.).

Parents must also play a greater part in this dialogue, as they "are stakeholders in co-education". The deployment of resources to help families is vital, whether in terms of their connection to schools ("parents’ schoolbag") or proficiency in French for recently arrived immigrant parents. 

Schools are and will be firm in order to create an educational dialogue and convey values: a number of incidents occurred during the moment of silence and in the days that followed. None of these should be treated lightly. "We cannot let this slide. During the moment of silence itself, some one hundred incidents were reported. In the following days, another one hundred events and incidents have been reported. The police, gendarme and justice departments have been notified of around forty of these, as some constitute justifications of terrorism."

"The entire educational community is taking action to ensure that we do not respond with words alone, but with firm action", the Minister stated before the National Assembly on 14 January.

Tribute to the victims of the attacks

Speech by M. Manuel Valls, Prime Minister, in the National Assembly.... [Read more]
13 January 2015