EFrench Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer claimed that the protective measures for the schools after the Christmas holidays were “close to reality”. But now it has emerged that the delayed information on infection protection for headmasters, teachers and parents probably had another reason. The minister was on holiday on the party island of Ibiza and from there he gave the interview to the daily newspaper Le Parisien, in which he informed the teachers about the new rules the evening before school started (and behind a payment barrier).
The newspaper probably took part in the hide-and-seek game against their knowledge. She provided a photo of the minister in a suit and tie in his Paris office for the interview. The left-leaning Internet editorial team Mediapart revealed the Ibiza affair of the presidential couple’s former favorite on Monday evening. Since then there has been an uproar in the teachers’ rooms. According to union information, 75 percent of teachers went on strike last week because of the chaotic pandemic management.
New work stoppages and protests
At the height of the omicron wave, testing stations are overwhelmed by testing all student contact cases three times as requested. The government felt compelled to relax the rules. But the anger is also directed against the fact that the Minister of Education had ironed out all demands for greater testing capacities in schools, FFP2 masks for teachers and CO2 measuring devices for classrooms.
After the strike, Prime Minister Jean Castex had to call an emergency meeting with union and parent representatives, at which he made promises to them. But the Ibiza affair has reignited displeasure. Work stoppages and protests are expected to resume on Thursday. The anger in the centrally organized school system about the minister is great. The fact that the employer basks in the sun while school principals await instructions does not soothe tempers. The students suffered the most, many of whom became infected in the first week.
“The bling bling style returns”
Exact figures are kept under wraps by the Education Ministry, or at least not published, as data specialist Guillaume Rozier complained. Rozier invented the “Covid Tracker” and brought the Ministry of Health to great transparency in data transfer. Only the number of classes closed due to an accumulation of cases is known: 14,380. 25,500 employees in the school system are on sick leave due to a Covid 19 infection. Blanquer dismissed the first strike with the argument: “You don’t strike against a virus.”
“With his feet in the water and a cocktail in his hand, his rules must have seemed very clear to him,” said Manon Aubry (La France Insoumise), leader of the Left Party in the EU Parliament. The campaign spokesman for left-wing presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Alexis Corbière, said Tuesday: “Jean-Michel Blanquer should do the students a service and resign.” The contempt for teachers has reached an unbearable level.
“While everyone is cautious, bling bling style is making a comeback,” said Socialist Party (PS) leader Olivier Faure. “Bling Bling” describes the excesses of the Sarkozy era, when the president was associated with the saying that if you don’t own a Rolex by the age of 50, you have botched your life and celebrated your election victory on a millionaire’s yacht in the Mediterranean. “The problem is not Ibiza. The problem is amateurism,” said Green presidential candidate Yannick Jadot on Tuesday.
Government spokesman Gabriel Attal tried to defend Blanquer on Tuesday. “What matters most is that the ministers do their jobs,” said Attal. “The minister is very committed. This is a polemic of the presidential election campaign,” said Equal Rights Minister Elisabeth Moreno.