France - The new Economic and Social Sciences (SES) syllabus has to be revised

version en anglais de la pétition de l'APSES

Since 2017, the French Ministry of Education has undertaken a wide high school education reform (15 to 18 year-old pupils). The economic and social sciences is one of the ten subjects that pupils may choose. As such, its syllabus is currently being revised. A first draft has recently been published by the ministry. After a thorough analysis, the APSES (The French economic and social sciences teachers’ association) has decided to pass round the following petition, in order to have these drafts thoroughly rewritten. 6000 citizens (and among them many economics, sociology, political science, anthropology… scholars) have
already signed it.

Petition :  The new Economic and Social Sciences (SES) syllabus has to be revised.

The new Economic and Social Sciences (SES) syllabus has been published. This project, which concerns the “Seconde” (10th grade) and “Première” (11th grade) in French high school, is a threat to the identity of this subject.

Structured around a strict disciplinary separation, it disconnects economics and other social sciences, and thus forbids a fruitful pluridisciplinary approach on subjects like Market or Money.

Not problematized enough, it tends to provide only fixed answers, denying the reality of scientific and democratic debates, preventing from grasping the major issues that affect our contemporary societies, and from giving meaning to students’ learning. With these projects, within two years, students would have heard very little about inequalities, purchasing power, hierarchies between social groups or unemployment.

Non-pluralistic, it requires to teach economic and social issues through one and the same perspective. The marginalization of the macroeconomic approach in favour of a predominant microeconomic one leads to a clear imbalance in the understanding of social issues, by leaving the question of monetary or fiscal policies aside, for example.

Excessively complex and technical, students would be denied good learning conditions and good evaluation practices. The whole project could impair the students’ critical mind, their thinking skills and their abilities to argue. 

If left like that, this syllabus’ project could result in a deterioration in the intellectual and civic education of the students. It is not acceptable, it needs to be widely revised.

Here is the link to sign the petition :