desire for bilingualism but lack of German teachers
“There is a chronic recruitment difficulty” in bilingualism, recognizes the rector of the Strasbourg academy Olivier Faron, the competitions attracting fewer candidates than positions offered, and teaching in Germany offering higher salaries.
Echoing the words of the Minister of Education Pap Ndiaye, he nevertheless assures that “all bilingual classes like the others will have a teacher” at the start of the school year.
“Bilingualism is a high priority for our academy, both for historical, geopolitical and economic reasons”, insists the rector.
These classes are not international sections, but are part of the preservation of regional languages in the same way as Corsican, Breton or Basque. “German and Alsatian are two sides of the same coin,” says Claude Froehlicher, president of Eltern Alsace, an association of parents of pupils in bilingual classes.
Conversely, Valérie Poyet, departmental secretary for the Haut-Rhin of the SNUipp-FSU, the first union in primary education, protests against this “bilingualism in a foreign language”, which should be transformed into an introduction to the German language for all. students.
“At some point, you have to be realistic: it doesn’t work,” she said, blaming “absolutely catastrophic working and recruitment conditions for German language teachers”. And contract workers having to plug the holes: according to the FSU, in the Haut-Rhin, half of 1st degree contract workers are in bilingual education.
During the National Education “job dating” organized in June and castigated by the unions, the Strasbourg academy concentrated its efforts on finding bilingual teachers to form a pool of replacements. “He has aroused vocations”, welcomes Olivier Faron, who evokes 19 candidates selected for the primary.
“We sell dreams from the moment we put untrained people in front of a class”, annoys Didier Charrié, departmental co-secretary for Bas-Rhin of the SE-Unsa teachers’ union, criticizing “a political will to make bilingualism at all costs” and a system that “is becoming elitist”.
At the start of the 2021 school year, in the first degree, public and private, 18.2% of schoolchildren in the Strasbourg academy were in bilingual education, i.e. 31,540 pupils, compared to 19,811 ten years earlier. An agreement signed in 2015 sets a target for 2030 of 50% of kindergarten enrollment in French-German classes.
In 2021 and 2022, no school opened a bilingual stream. For 2023, the rector has promised “four new public immersive classes”.
Social networks and job dating
“It’s easy to say that we can’t find the teachers in German, we don’t really look for them”, criticizes the president of Eltern Alsace.
To make up for this lack, the association is carrying out the “RecrutoRRs” project, which benefits from European funding until July 2023. in German”, then the rectorate or another principal completes the selection, explains Janine Peters, in charge of the project.
Thus, out of 125 applications submitted to National Education in two years, 33 people were recruited.
This was the case of Nicolas Jaeglé, 22, who found himself on January 8 to teach German at three different levels.
Not finding work after his years of German license and public administration, this dialect speaker said to himself that “it could be a job for a while”. “And now I no longer want to leave,” he rejoices before returning to two bilingual classes in the Haut-Rhin during maternity leave.
He nevertheless regrets “the rather reduced remuneration” for contract workers, at 1700 euros gross.
Trying to attract candidates, the European Community of Alsace (CEA), which ardently defends bilingualism in Alsace, and the Grand Est Region add an annual bonus of 1500 euros gross for bilingual teachers.
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