“Don’t close small preparatory schools”: Students and teachers take to the streets in Paris to save their lessons

Parisian preparatory teachers and their students took action again on Wednesday, December 13, a week after their first meeting. Under light rain, more than 400 people met symbolically at the Place de la Sorbonne before marching to the Ministry of Education. With signs in hand, these advocates for excellent education have one goal: to push back the government on the closure of several preparatory classes for the Grandes Écoles (CPGE) in Paris. This rectorate project was announced at the end of November and will lead to the closure of at least three preparatory classes in the capital.

Starting from the school where Justine and Clotilde studied in Hypokhâgne, at Lamartine High School (9th district). A class called “orphan“, because there is no khâgne in the same institution, but who”worth defending», Support two students. “I am 21 years old, I am in the orientation phase and this preparation gave me a chance. Lamartine accepts candidates from all walks of life, from people like me who come from far away but are determined to work hard. this is precious» develops Clotilde.

I live in 93, this property is close to my train line and that made me choose it

Lisa, Hypokhâgne student at Chaptal High School

Two more institutions were officially affected by this decision: the first-year ECG preparatory class (economic and business general department) at the Decour Lyceum (9th arrondissement of Paris) and the khâgne class at the Chaptal Lyceum (8th). Although the Rectorate does not specify this, the closure may also apply to the scientific preparatory class at the Carnot High School (17th) and Claude-Bernard (16th). Many organizations were represented among the crowd of demonstrators this Wednesday.

In a rather benign atmosphere – between two covers “New York is with you» Adapted from Telephone to “One day I’ll go to prep school with you“said Lisa, a hypokhâgne student at Chaptal High School, where the Khâgne class may also close next September.”The chance of continuing in the second year is much less“.“We were promised training in two years, but this would significantly reduce our likelihood of continuing the preparation. I’ll have to re-register with Parcoursup and that’s pretty unfair“, he adds.

The Hypokhâgne classroom at Larmatine High School could close as early as September 2024.Jeanne Paturaud

His statement, like that of many others, contradicts, above all, the main argument put forward by the rectorate: These training courses lack social diversity. “A Thought”interesting but doesn’t justify everything» Depending on the student. “Of course these training courses welcome many young people from higher socio-professional categories, but we Henri-IV Or Fenelon . I live in 93, this property is close to my train line and that made me choose it“, he narrates.

Excellence and intimacy training

scandalized», Claire Delnatte moves calmly among students and fellow teachers. As a teacher in the ECG preparation department at the Jacques Decour High School, he is keen to defend the CPGE model, known as “”.proximity“, “remains highly effective, educational and accessible“, he believes. “Approximately 45 percent of my students have scholarships. “Our preparation allows them to pursue an excellent education and access a business school or reorientation, but with a very solid background.”, the teacher continues. He hopes that this mobilization can push back the Ministry of National Education on this issue. Because if the rectorate’s decision is official, it can only come into force with the approval of the minister.

Hundreds of students marched through the streets of the 5th arrondissement towards Rue de Grenelle.Jeanne Paturaud

Demonstrators are also discussing the issue “completely disconnected» another official reason: small number of classes. “There are 49 of us in my class, so over the maximum number of 48. This is ridiculous.», says Mathis, shrugging his shoulders. He, who is also enrolled in the first year of literature preparation at Chaptal High School, hopes to send a message of wisdom to those who accuse preparatory schools of elitism: “This is the closure of places where we reduce education to a broad selection and therefore lack of diversity.“.

Among all the advocates, there are also teachers who are not directly involved in their classrooms. “We haven’t received anything yet but we could be next», smile sadly David Michel and Damien Riou are pre-science teachers at Buffon High School (district 15). “The threat to preparatory schools that do not have classes with at least 48 students is a very worrying signal.», They explain.

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