A more tolerant secularism: this is what high school students in France are asking for, according to an Ifop study that we unveil exclusively.
As the political sphere is torn apart by an alleged Islamo-leftism rooted in the university, and that Parliament has just adopted the Separatism law at first reading, this survey reveals a gap between the conception of teenagers and that of their elders on the subject the place of religion in the school sphere.
This study, which surveyed 1,006 young people using the quota method (sex, age, type of education, sector and level, sector, academy, religious affiliation), was commissioned by the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Licra) and the universalist review the Right to Live (DDV).
What are the main lessons?
First, high school students are mostly in favor of wearing conspicuous religious symbols in schools, especially for parents of students accompanying school trips (57% against 25% of the entire French population), in high schools themselves (52% against 25%), colleges (50% against 25%), or for public service employees (50% against 25%).
In another register, they are 49% to estimate that the newspapers were right to publish the cartoons of Muhammad - against 59% of all French people.
But they are 61% to declare that Samuel Paty, professor of history assassinated by a terrorist in October 2020, "was right" to show these cartoons in progress, 17% of them believing that he was "wrong" .
Another indicator: 52% of high school students are "not in favor" of the right to blasphemy.
A figure in agreement with the rest of the French (50%).
Finally, 37% of those polled believe that "secular" laws, such as those of 2004 prohibiting the wearing of religious symbols at school, or of 2010, against the full veil in public spaces, are "discriminatory" to the regard for Muslims.
"An inclusive vision"
How to interpret these results?
“Overall, it emerges that young people attending high school have an inclusive vision of secularism.
For her, there is no anticlerical dimension aiming to send religion back to the private sector.
Rather, it is a concept which should put religions on an equal footing, ie an Anglo-Saxon vision, ”analyzes François Kraus, director of the political-current affairs department at Ifop.
Thus, separating the religious sphere from the public sphere is "not anchored" among high school students, where their elders tend to want to make the religious invisible outside the home or the temple.
Secularism at school: National Education examines the issue of teacher training
For Bernard Ravet, former college principal in Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône) and education expert for Licra, these results are “dramatic”.
The author of “Principal of a college or imam of the Republic?
”, Published in 2017 by Kéro editions, sees it as a“ failure ”in terms of transmitting the“ values of the Republic ”.
He insists: “This is not a school program story.
But are teachers trained, or even convinced, of the value of providing these values?
"He asks, also calling for" the training of parents "in matters of secularism.
"In real life, secularism, nobody talks about it in high school"
Among those concerned, what do we say?
Marwan, 16, high school student in Marseille, does not really know what to answer when you talk to him about secularism.
“Honestly, it's more of a news channel topic.
In real life, nobody talks about it in high school.
I go to the mosque as soon as possible, but I don't see the connection with the school, ”he explains.
Contacted, several teachers sigh at the idea of evoking secularism.
"This is not a priority: in high school, secularism is framed by the law, which we respect at all levels", sweeps a teacher in the priority education zone, who had marched, with her students, some of whom are veiled, in tribute to Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.
Teenagers have "an unbridled passion for equality"
Similar bell sound with Catherine Robert, professor of philosophy in Aubervilliers (Seine-Saint-Denis).
For her, secularism as it is practiced at school is "not questioned by the pupils".
"In 20 years of Seine-Saint-Denis, I have never known the desire to systematically question the content of the courses, or secularism as such," she says.
Also indicating that apart from "semolina cakes offered by some students for Ramadan, religion is invisible", in his high school priority area.
Morning essentials newsletter
A tour of the news to start the day
Subscribe to the newsletterAll newsletters
In this case, how to decipher some of the results of the investigation, in particular those in favor of the wearing of religious symbols in high schools or the contestation of the right to blasphemy? “They are teenagers! she replies. They have an unbridled passion for equality. Ask them if the ban on the veil is discrimination, they answer yes without hesitation, because, somewhere, a freedom is being taken away. They find it unfair, it does not go any further. Not to mention that they are allergic to the obligation. "