Will Nicole Belloubet inevitably have to side with Gabriel Attal?

Will Nicole Belloubet inevitably have to side with Gabriel Attal

Ex-socialist, Nicole Belloubet appears ideologically far from the political line defended by Gabriel Attal concerning National Education. Highly awaited by the unions, will it have sufficient room for maneuver?

Newly appointed Minister of National Education, Nicole Belloubet assured that she would continue “the implementation” of the measures recently announced by Prime Minister Gabriel Attal. During her handover speech, she also indicated that she was open to “listening” and “dialogue” concerning the implementation of the “Shock of Knowledge”, dear to the tenant of Matignon.

Marked ideological differences

On the surface, the former rector of the Academy of Toulouse therefore seems to align herself behind the policy advocated by the majority. In fact, the former Minister of Justice during Emmanuel Macron’s first five-year term long defended positions that were at least far removed from the philosophy advocated by Gabriel Attal. For the moment, it is difficult to imagine a perfect symbiosis between the two parties. First justice of the peace, the level classes recently announced by Gabriel Attal. In the field, this novelty is not unanimous. So, Nicole Belloubet has already tried to put out a possible fire by announcing “the very rapid establishment of a dialogue with the representatives” of the educational community. Without talking about substance, it at least opened the door to consensus.

However, nothing will be simple for the former member of the Constitutional Council. Coming from the left, she did not hesitate, only a few years ago, to joke about “the jokes about the restoration of authority or the wearing of the blouse”. “Get out of the rigid framework of lectures, give young people time and autonomy, allow for their right to make mistakes in the learning process” in a text published in 2016. An outing, not very in line with the project educational desired by Gabriel Attal, and in particular the experimentation of wearing a uniform which could become the norm from 2026.

“We are asking Ghandi to advocate violence”

So who will really decide? Will she have to adapt according to the wishes of her Prime Minister? One thing is certain, his appointment is causing the unions to cringe. “Nicole Belloubet has personal, ideological and educational positions, which are exactly the opposite of the clash of knowledge that she must defend. We are asking Ghandi to advocate violence” says Jean-Rémi Girard, president of the Union national high schools and colleges at France Info. During her speech, the new tenant of rue de Grenelle did not fail to cite Jaurès or Condorcet. While promising teachers to “protect them from any departure from the secular and republican contract”. Precisely, the question of secularism will be a fundamental issue and one of its main missions.

A balance to find on its positioning

Beyond the hot points that await the new Minister of National Education such as the wearing of uniforms, the recruitment of teachers, raising the overall level of French students or even school bullying, this is her guideline and her positioning that questions. “In view of what she has been able to carry throughout her career in the interest of public and secular schools, she will have to either find the balance between Macron’s conservative school project and the very different one that she has worn in the past” indicates Elisabeth Allain-Moreno, general secretary of SE-UNSA in the columns of Marianne.

This is why, in a context of a high-pressure return to school, the teaching unions are waiting for Nicole Belloubet around the corner. “Education is part of the reserved domain of the president” argued Emmanuel Macron in August 2023. Enough to question, a little more, the real room for maneuver the new Minister of National Education will have.