What is your finding in the report you are submitting to the Prime Minister this Wednesday afternoon?
We first recalled the reality of the teaching of regional languages. Whether we are in a teaching carried out by private associations under contract or in public schools, we are not in the same situation in terms of hourly volumes. In Corsica, 80% immersive is practiced in kindergarten. In the Basque Country, there are 20 public schools and they immersive like Diwan. After a presentation of these realities, we made an interpretation of the situation from a legal point of view. How to make the link between decision of the Constitutional Council and practices in the field?
We must secure and calm the spirits
Is legal consolidation therefore necessary?
The proposal by Paul Molac to include immersive in the Education Code was not submitted upstream to the Constitutional Council and this is the weakness of the proposal. It would have been necessary to legally define what was meant by immersion. And we realize, through our mission, that it is extremely complex as the realities differ from one region to another. Our recommendation is rather to recall what must not be immersive. We must secure and calm the spirits. The government in place and, in general, the executives who follow one another, is not in a logic of closing these schools.
What solutions do you recommend?
We would like the associations, in consultation with National Education, to review their contract by specifying that the teaching of regional languages in immersion can only be done on an optional basis. It is not imposed on the students, it is a choice of the families. And it is a voluntary step. And remember that the final goal is mastery of both languages. It will not pose any problem for the actors because it is their daily concern, but it was never clearly stated.
In the report, do you also mention a bill?
This amendment to associations would be recorded in a circular by the Minister, which would enrich that of April 12, 2007, which concerns regional languages. It would recognize that the language of communication in establishments, in times other than lessons, is used for educational reasons. And this, on an optional basis. It is a way of reinforcing the immersion, by specifying what it is not. We should not forbid ourselves a bill, which would repeat what has been stipulated in the amendments and in the circular. We are not ruling out the revision of the Constitution, but it would be foolish to think that it could be carried out in the next ten months. And then, it is not intended to promote a form of pedagogy called immersion. To those who say that article 2 must be reviewed: why not, but that requires a debate with the population. Our recommendation is rather to go with article 75-1, adopted in 2008, which recognizes that regional languages are part of France’s heritage.
How did you proceed to carry out your parliamentary mission?
We worked in pairs with Christophe Euzet, who is also in the presidential majority. A professor of constitutional law and I, professor of bilingual schools in the public, two profiles that complemented each other perfectly. We received our parliamentary mission effectively on June 8. We had five intense weeks to audition (mainly by videoconference) the world of regional language teaching, in the private as in the public. About sixty people in total, including ten lawyers, but also parliamentarians, the Minister of National Education or the President of the National Assembly. We mainly focused on the French reality, and the regional languages of the Basque, Catalan, Corsican and Alsatian countries, Breton too of course.
The Prime Minister has pledged to bring together the stakeholders concerned before the start of the school year
What timetable can be envisaged from now on?
Our goal is to provide security from the start of the school year. The Prime Minister has pledged to bring together the players concerned before the start of the school year, probably at the end of August. What place should regional languages be given? This will be a topic for the presidential election, which will require a global debate. Has the time come, like for our neighboring countries (Italy, Spain, Switzerland or Belgium), to have an official language and co-official languages? Of the 12 million students attending school in France, 15,000 practice immersive education. And yet, it is a real subject.
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