The French Minister of Education, Xavier Darcos, announced in July an additional 13,500 job cuts in 2009. These cuts come on top of 11,200 jobs already cut in the 2008 school year.
In a news release, UNSA-Education denounced the “unprecedented mass layoffs,” which it said “will be to the detriment of the quality of the public service and the educational programming and will put at risk the proper administration of the school system, not only for staff but for students and parents as well.” The job cuts are “totally unacceptable,” according to SNES-FSU. In a public statement, the union recalled that President Nicolas Sarkozy and his education minister had made many announcements about enhancing the value of the teaching profession, yet no discussions have taken place so far. Even worse, the minister’s promises haven’t been kept for 2007 and they are far from being kept for 2008. The union called on all education workers to refuse overtime hours. The SNUipp-FSU predicted that the cuts would damage the entire education system, from early childhood to university, and especially but the capacity of the public service to fight inequality and to reduce school failure. “The consequences will be devastating for children coming from the poorest families.” All of the education unions, along with students and parents, are planning to take action in defence of public education and to participate in massive demonstrations at school opening.
This article was published in Worlds of Education, Issue 27, September 2008.