EDUCATION In particular, the Minister wants to fight against gender stereotypes and self-censorship which prevent them from specializing in maths
Pap Ndiaye at the Elysée Palace, November 10, 2022. — Ludovic MARIN
- On the occasion of the mathematics conference, organized from Monday to Wednesday, the Minister of Education, Pap Ndiaye unveiled his strategy aimed at “reconciling all students” with math and “promoting equality between girls and boys” from primary to high school.
- The Minister will reintroduce compulsory mathematics education at the start of the 2023 school year for high school students in the general stream who have not taken the mathematics specialty. Some members of the educational community fear that many students will be satisfied with it and choose less the maths speciality. means.
“I can’t be satisfied with the fact that there are fewer female mathematicians than male mathematicians,” the Minister of Education, Pap Ndiaye, in an interview with Echospublished on Sunday. While he participates in the assizes of mathematics from Monday to March. on Wednesday, the minister unveiled its strategy aimed at “reconcile all students” with this discipline, which has a specific focus on girls.
Because according to a study by Depp published last June, at At the start of the 2021 school year, girls were 56% (compared to 75% of boys) at school. have chosen mathematics in special education; in 1st grade. And they were only 26% in terminale at the end of the year. keep this specialty (compared to 52% of boys), including 7% with optional education “expert mathematics” (21% for boys). This has an impact on their orientation in higher education. It should be noted that 19% of them chose to continue to study mathematics via the optional education “complementary mathematics”, but this does not open to students. same training as the specialty math.
In an attempt to encourage gender equality girls-boys, the minister has set himself objectives: fight early in kindergarten against gender stereotypes and promote female role models. In college, he will encourage the creation of a math club in Montreal. from the start of the 2023 academic year, to cultivate a taste for mathematics, and set up groups to reduced numbers in 6th grade mathematics. Initiatives that leave Sophie Vénétitay, Deputy Secretary General of the SNES-FSU puzzled: “If students enroll on a voluntary basis in a math club , there is no guarantee that a majority girls participate. Regarding small groups, will they be implemented in all colleges and will they work throughout the year of 6th grade?”, she asks.
< p>In high school, Pap Ndiaye wants to create at back to school 2023 a reconciliation module with mathematics in 2nd grade. But for Sophie Vénénétitay, there is no guarantee that it will allow girls who drop out of maths at the start of high school to hang on: “The 2nd grade maths program aims to ; prepare to the specialty scientific. As a result, in the second half, we already have lost half students. It is therefore necessary to review the program if we want more students, and especially girls, to feel more at home. comfortable with the discipline,” she said. Jérôme Fournier, National Secretary for Education, is also skeptical: “Will these modules be compulsory or optional? Will high schools have the human means to set them up?”, he asks.
The ambition to achieve gender parity in specialties
Concerning the 1st grades, the minister will reintroduce a compulsory mathematics education at school. the start of the 2023 school year for high school students in the general stream who have not taken the specialty mathematics. They will thus have an hour and a half more of lessons per week devoted to to this discipline. Even if all the unions wanted this return to maths for all, this measure could have perverse effects for girls, according to Sophie V&nétitay of boys continue to choose the specialty maths and that the girls opt for this 1h30 lesson.” A fear shared by Claire Piolti-Lamorthe, president of the Association of Mathematics Teachers (APMEP): “They will no doubt think that this teaching will be enough for them to pursue their studies. that require math, like economics or business school, when they don’t.” “We will have maths at home. two levels, one low, the other high,”sums up J&rôme Fournier.
The Minister’s ambition is however to achieve parity by 2027. girls-boys in the mathematics, physics-chemistry and expert mathematics specialities, and to strive for parity; for the other courses (engineering sciences and digital and computer sciences). So that this does not remain just a pious wish, he will set quantified objectives, but which will not be quotas. “We are going to mobilize very strongly the heads of establishments, the teachers and sensitize the families, to seek out one by one the girls who have an appetite for the subject.” , he declares to Les Echos. “In 2nde, students have 54 hours in the year to work on their orientation, but we lack the means to really support them. Yet it’s imperative if we want to avoid the phenomenon of self-censorship”,” explains Jérôme Fournier.
“A slogan is not enough not”
For Sophie Vénétitay, “a slogan is not enough. To really influence the career choices of girls, we must recruit more national education psychologists (or psy-EN), responsible for helping them to define their study project. Because today, they often practice in several establishments and have few slots available to receive students.”
Jérôme Fournier also believes that it’s imperative to work on the representations: “Apart from Marie Curie, no known scientist is mentioned. It is necessary to illustrate the courses more with the work of women scientists, to organize meetings with recognized professionals in their field”.