New government: who is Pap Ndiaye, the Minister of National Education breaking with the line of Jean-Michel Blanquer?

“Mr. Pap Ndiaye is appointed Minister of National Education and Youth.” This is the big surprise of the government of Elisabeth Borne, unveiled, Friday, May 20, by Alexis Kohler, the secretary general of the Elysée, on the steps of the presidential palace.

Born to a Senegalese father and a French mother, Pap Ndiaye was until then at the head of the Palais de la Porte Dorée, which houses the National Museum of the History of Immigration, in Paris. A position he had held since the spring of 2021, after being appointed by Emmanuel Macron. Professor at Sciences Po Paris, this 56-year-old researcher is an academic respected by his peers and is considered a “shoe size” in France and abroad on minority issues.

For his first speech as minister, the newcomer defined himself as “a pure product of republican meritocracy of which the school is the pillar (…), perhaps a symbol, that of meritocracy, but perhaps also that of diversity”. He then claimed “apprehend this task with humility, with modesty, but also with all the energy and all the intelligent goodwill that is [sienne]“. The consolidation of fundamental knowledge, equal opportunities, the necessary adaptation of schools to upheavals in economies and societies are all “challenges” which he intends to raise.

In a portrait dedicated to him The world in 2021, the daily says that the Head of State had chosen him for “appease the spirits”in the face of the identity tensions feared by the government in the country, in particular after the death of George Floyd in the United States, in May 2020. Pap Ndiaye saw his appointment as a symbol for young people “non-whites”even if this appointment was “first due to his long academic career (…). I assume myself as is with my skin color”he added to AFP.

Pap Ndiaye, who does not hesitate to talk about “structural racism in France, whereby institutions such as the police can engage in racist practices”, not’has not at all the same vision as its predecessor of the rue de Grenelle. Jean-Michel Blanquer had indeed devoted part of his five years spent at the ministry to fighting “woke ideology”. “On everything related to minorities, he embodies orientations which are certainly not those that Jean-Michel Blanquer has implemented”confirms the sociologist Michel Wieviorka, still in The world. “If he has the means to have the politics he can embody, as an intellectual personality, I think we will go in a new direction”, he abounds.

On “Islamo-leftism” in the university environment, denounced by Jean-Michel Blanquer or even by the former Minister of Higher Education, Frédérique Vidal, Pap Ndiaye had struck on France Inter : This term does not designate any reality at the university. What strikes me above all is the degree of ignorance of the political world of the research that is carried out at the university in the social sciences and the humanities.

As of Friday, the arrival at the National Education of the brother of the Prix Goncourt 2019, Marie Ndiaye, who had signed in 2012 a platform calling for a vote for François Hollande, did not fail to make the political class react.

On the far right, this appointment is castigated. This is particularly the case of the spokesperson for the National Rally, Julien Odoul, who denounces on Twitter “an immigrationist activist to re-educate our children to ‘living together’ with migrants and deconstruct the History of France. This appointment goes beyond the bounds of provocation.”

On the side of La France insoumise (LFI), we welcome this appointment, even if we see it as a political maneuver. “I am amazed by this news. For me, Pap Ndiaye was not at all in it. What is certain is that it was necessary to ‘unblock’ National Education”, reacted to AFP, the deputy LFI Alexis Corbière. But “this media stunt, the only one from this dull government, will not defuse the deep anger in the National Education“, says the parliamentarian.

For Snes-FSU, the main secondary school teachers’ union, “the appointment of Pap Ndiaye is a break with Jean-Michel Blanquer in more ways than one”. But “National Education is not governed solely by symbols”he warned in a press release. “The emergencies are real, rapid responses are expected, particularly in terms of wages.” For the new Minister of National Education, the task promises to be immense.

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New government: who is Pap Ndiaye, the Minister of National Education breaking with the line of Jean-Michel Blanquer?

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