Jean-Michel Blanquer regretted the symbolism of his departure on vacation in Ibiza on the eve of the start of the school year, without however formulating a mea culpa, Tuesday January 18. “It turns out that the place I chose, I probably should have chosen another”, said the Minister of Education in the National Assembly, during questions to the government.
Mediapart revealed on Monday evening that the minister was on the Spanish island when he announced a change in the health protocol at school. The disorganization created in the establishments, with students having to multiply the tests and directors overwhelmed by administrative tasks, then the reduction of this protocol on several occasions, had led to a feeling of fed up among the staff of the education – all in the midst of a rise in SARS-CoV-2 contamination linked to the Omicron variant. A major strike followed on January 13.
“Let’s not get lost in the accessory”
“Did I have the right to take a few days off after this year? questioned the Minister of Education in front of the deputies. Are there any meetings or items I had to do in this period that I didn’t do because [de ces vacances à Ibiza] ? Would the decisions have been different if I had been somewhere else? » And to answer: ” No, of course. »
“For two years, with the majority, with my teams, with all the teachers in France, we have held the open school policy, that is what is essential and we do not get lost in the accessory”, supported Mr. Blanquer. “For two years, I have been working seven days a week for the school management of the health crisis. Thanks to the work of everyone, especially the teachers, France has been the country of open schools. I took five days off. In connection every day with my ministry at the service of the school », then repeated the Minister in a post on Twitter – he was to make new statements on Tuesday evening during the TF1 television news.
For the teachers’ unions, these holidays are “a terrible symbol”. “It further widens the gap that already existed between the minister and his staff”, reacted to Agence France-Presse (AFP) Guislaine David, general secretary of SNUipp-FSU, the first primary school union. The revelations of Mediapart appeared before a new day of mobilization and strike in schools, Thursday, at the call of several unions, to ask “strong answers” facing “chaos” generated by the Covid-19 crisis.
Faced with these reactions, the government spokesman, Gabriel Attal, contented himself with assuring that the minister was “at his task”. “There is a rule that is fixed for the government when it comes to holidays: you have to be contactable at all times, at your task. I have no reason to think that was not the case with Mr. Blanquer”, he pointed out.