Inclusive school not for all: the ‘slippage’ of Pap Ndiaye

On November 8, 2022, the Minister of National Education declared before the Senate that “all children cannot be in an ordinary environment”. Remarks which, echoing those of Eric Zemmour, make the associations in the field of disability react.

During the presidential campaign, the “confidences” by Eric Zemmour on “the obsession with the inclusive school” had caused a scandal (article in link below). He said he preferred ” welcome “ children with disabilities in “Specialized establishments, except for people with slight disabilities of course”, rather than in the regular classroom. With a few exceptions, everyone fell on him. On November 8, 2022, when he was heard by the Senate commission, Pap Ndiaye, Minister of National Education, made remarks that echoed. If the media impact was not as virulent, it set fire to the powder within certain associations in the field of disability.

Minister’s remarks

Pap Ndiaye said: “Inclusive schooling is an extremely positive approach of which we must be proud (…) but, at the same time, we must also recognize that not all children can be in an ordinary environment”. He then mentions “the existence of the medical-educational” who, from his point of view, “must not be questioned” with the “staples between EMI and ordinary environment, reminding “the range of provisions so that children with specific needs can be accommodated outside the ordinary environment”. He refers to a situation “general embolism” which requires discussing with his colleagues Braun (Minister of Health) and Darrieussecq (Minister of Disabled Persons), as well as the MDPH (Departmental houses for people with disabilities) which, according to him, are “in tune with this observation and the need to reflect on this question in a somewhat structural way” not to “not just adding jobsAESH (accompanying students with disabilities) which, in any case, are not enough”.


The reactions were not long in coming, denouncing this questioning “in principle”, mainly on social networks, with more or less weighting. Daniel Langloys, president of Autisme France, tweets: “But what a shame. Should the children be sorted? Because the school refuses to be inclusive? Disgusting. “. For Cécile Morin, who campaigns against validism within the CLHEE (Collective struggle and handicaps for equality and emancipation), the Minister “reactivates the old prejudice of the social hierarchy of disabilities” with some “disabilities ‘acceptable’ giving children the right to go to school when others would not have it”. Marie Rabatel, president of the Association francophone des femmes autistes, writes: “There are no maladjusted children, there are only maladjusted societies with maladjusted schools with difference!” “. As for the CAA collective, which is involved with people with communication disorders, it says its “anger at such talk”which he considers ” outlaw “, promising not to “stay inactive”.

“My place is in class”

A collective of associations* involved in the education of students with disabilities, the very one who launched the campaign “My place is in class”, was the first to draw in a press release, judging the remarks of the “shocking” minister. “If everyone agrees that, in the current state, schools are still too often unable to educate all young people, there can be no question of sticking to this simple observation and blame it on the very specific needs that some students would have, he specifies. He encourages the Minister to “addressing the causes of the delay that our country has in terms of accessibility to our school”.

the CNCPH denounces a skid

The CNCPH (National Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities) in turn wants “to put an end to the slippages on the education of disabled children in the school of the Republic”, promising to “to react each time a public person challenges this right”. All recall the international conventions and the recent recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which underlines the commitments made and not implemented to respect the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the regulations in force.

During his hearing, Pap Ndiaye mentioned the“act II of the inclusive school”, announced at the Interministerial Disability Committee on October 6, 2022. For the CNCPH, it does not “could be summed up as a separation between the children who could be admitted to school… and the others! “. The Board therefore asks the Minister to “return on his remarks and explain the meaning he wishes to give to his action”. In a system that is far from perfect and can also affect some children – at the time, against all expectations, many parents of disabled children went in the direction of Eric Zemmour testifying that ordinary school could be a suffering-, it is nevertheless important that the societal project sets a non-negotiable course. According to the CNCPH, this “Ambition requires in-depth transformations of the education system, an evolution of professional practices, a strengthening of cooperation with the medico-social sector and liberal professionals…”.

The Senate concerned about the cost of inclusive school

It should be noted that, for its part, the Senate, on the sidelines of the examination of the 2023 budget, says “worried about the cost of inclusive schooling”. A report on school education (page 58) written by Gérard Longuet, points to the exponential growth in the number of students with disabilities attending school over the past ten years, with budgets up by more than 300% -nearly four billion euros today- mainly dedicated to the remuneration of their accompanying persons (AESH). If he insists that the presence of students with disabilities in class “must be guaranteed”, he “wonders” on the “continuous reinforcement of human resources” who “calls into question long-term financial sustainability”. This situation “needs to review the prescription model” MDPH since the National Education employer has no visibility on the workforce which is determined by the notifications issued. “While compensating for social and family inequalities is in itself a laudable objective, it is not certain that the prescription of an adult dedicated to the students most in social difficulty is a lasting solution”, concludes the report. The latter suggests consolidating a national frame of reference concerning human aid prescriptions.

* ANPEA, APF France handicap, Gapas, FCPE, General Federation of PEPs, FISAF, FNASEPH, PEEP Federation, Trisomie 21 France, UNANIMES, with the support of the Isaac Francophone association

“All reproduction and representation rights reserved.© This article was written by Emmanuelle Dal’Secco, journalist”

Inclusive school not for all: the ‘slippage’ of Pap Ndiaye