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From the 2023 college yr, arithmetic can be a obligatory topic within the first yr

As expected, this reversal does not solve the fundamental problems of a discipline whose level is mediocre from the school.

On the one hand Hugo Duminil-Copin, French mathematician specializing in probabilities, Field Medal 2022; secondly, the international Timss evaluation (1), in which CM1 students in Europe are in last place in mathematics and science and fourth place is penultimate. A great symptomatic gap in the position of mathematics in France. If France continues to produce brilliant researchers, the average level in the discipline is more than mediocre.

On Sunday, Education Minister Pap Ndiaye announced that mathematics will be compulsory in the first grade starting in the 2023 school year. In March, amid the excitement of teachers, researchers and big bosses, candidate Macron promised the return of math to the common core in the event of re-election. Set up hastily and as an option this year – only 10% of high school students follow it – it will therefore become mandatory in September 2023. What will fundamentally change the situation?

These lessons are aimed at students who did not choose mathematics as a subject in their first year and who do not have a priori strong appetite for science subjects. “Explains Pierre Mathiot, co-pilot of the monitoring committee for the baccalaureate reform. He mentions ” math for everyone ” or “ Citizens » to understand a standard deviation or a growth curve. ” It will be necessary to think the program over well “, he adds. This will be developed before the summer. It must appeal to non-mathematicians and manage to link mathematics to other disciplines such as biology or economics. Huge challenge.

Challenge of the scientific path

To prepare students for these classes, Pap Ndiaye announced at the end of the second the creation of a “reconciliation module with discipline. “By adding 1h30 to the timetable of non-math students, we risk reinforcing the sense of punishment as opposed to reconciliation! » believes Mélanie Guénais of the Mathematical Society of France (SMF).“Will there be enough teachers at a time when it is difficult to recruit them? asks Sophie Vénétitay in Snes.And what can students do with the achievements of this training in higher education? » Same question on the website of the Mathematics Teachers Association (Apmep).“A lesson of 1h30 risks not being evaluated”, believes Claire Piolti-Lamorthe, its president.

SEE ALSO – “We need mathematics in all areas,” says Sophie de Tarlé

This new teaching clearly does not add value to higher education. It also comes at a time in school when the disenchantment between students and math has already taken place. Evaluations show that things are played out from elementary school, where the majority of teachers have no science education. In this area, the Ministry of Education is committed to continuing its plan to train school teachers in mathematics. In college, he promises for the start of the 2023 school year: “a consolidation module» for the 6th gradee in trouble and aadvanced modulefor top performers.

Because the challenge for the future of the country is to ensure that more students get involved in the academic path. The 2019 Blanquer Reform established high-level mathematical and physical disciplines targeting profiles for higher scientific study. In 2022, mathematics remained the most chosen major at Terminale by 37% of high school students. A proportion that drops to 26% in young girls. Another challenge for the department dedicated to “Promotion of equality between girls and boys »from elementary school to high school.

(1) Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, 2020

SEE ALSO – Pap Ndiaye for a “working group» on the question of school uniforms

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