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Bernard Beignier at the head of the Paris rectorate after experimenting with “schools of the future” in Marseille

2024-04-03 18:30:15
Bernard Beignier, former rector of the Aix-Marseille academy, in Marseille, April 8, 2022. He was appointed rector of Paris, April 3, 2024. VALLAURI NICOLAS / PHOTOPQR/LA PROVENCE/MAXPPP

It took two months to end the vacancy. Bernard Beignier, until then rector of Aix-Marseille, was appointed rector of the Paris academy and chancellor of universities by the council of ministers, Wednesday April 3. He also became rector of the Ile-de-France academic region. His predecessor, Christophe Kerrero, resigned on February 2 amid disagreements with Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, then minister of national education. A rare occurrence in the usually cozy environment of rectorates.

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Every week since then, the small world of education has scrutinized the minutes of the council of ministers to find out the name of the new rector. This latency period fueled rumors of disagreements within the government in order to find the best profile. “Why did it take so long?” What consideration for academy staff? »asks Nicolas Bray, principal and head of the Paris section of SNPDEN-UNSA.

With Bernard Beignier, the executive chooses a profile “completely classic”, in the opinion of a former senior education official. Doctor of law and dean of the law faculty of Toulouse-Capitole University from 2003 to 2012, Bernard Beignier, 66 years old, has solid experience: he has been rector for twelve years, first in Amiens, between 2012 and 2014 , then in Aix-Marseille, from 2014.

“Rather appreciated” in Marseille

If the letter he sent in January 2020 to remind principals of the risks of sanction incurred by teachers who refused to participate in the new baccalaureate exams had sparked a controversy that remains in the memories, Bernard Beignier was “rather appreciated” in Marseille, according to a local unionist.

Some observers see in this appointment the influence of Emmanuel Macron. Did Bernard Beignier not set up in Marseille the “schools of the future” experiment desired by the Head of State, who made it a model to be generalized during the 2022 presidential election?

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The new rector of Paris will have a lot to do in a very political academy. The significant demographic decline that the capital is experiencing has all the makings of an explosive issue. Parisian public schools have seen a drop of almost a quarter in their CP numbers in eight years and class closures continue. This reduction in the number of students also undermines the balance between public and private education. Researcher Julien Grenet repeats it insistently: if nothing is done, there will be more middle school students in the private sector than in the public sector within ten years.

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