Shocking photos of deteriorating schools have their support

Teachers from these schools organized an “urban art” exhibition with a very particular style.

Shocking photos of deteriorating schools have their support

Teachers from these schools organized an “urban art” exhibition with a very particular style.

For several months, the Ministry of National Education has been at the heart of the news. The scandals which followed one after the other regarding Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra during her rapid transition to the head of the ministry in January 2024 highlighted the problems in the education sector. The teaching staff have recalled in recent months, particularly with strike episodes, the most important points to rectify. Among them is the attractiveness of the profession with the difficulty of recruiting new teachers and the salaries being too low. A problem which has created over time that of too many classes. Teachers are also asking for more financial resources for the proper functioning of educational establishments, in particular for the maintenance of the latter...

In order to alert people to sometimes extreme situations in degraded educational establishments, teachers from different levels in the department of Seine-Saint-Denis, in Ile-de-France, decided to organize an exhibition with a very specific theme. On Wednesday March 6, these teachers set up their unusual photo exhibition in front of the regional council premises in Saint-Ouen. The photos exhibited for this “urban art” event represent the signs of dilapidation of the establishments where they teach. A project born from the list of grievances filled out by teachers of the department, at the initiative of the inter-union (CGT Éduc'action, CNT Éducation, FSU and Sud Éducation).

Printed in large format, the photos on display reveal ceilings pitted with mold that threaten to fall, significant water leaks in classrooms and even cracks in the walls. The images are deliberately shocking, in order to encourage local authorities and the State to act. If the photos are already very striking, the testimonies of the teachers collected by Télérama are just as much. Teachers talk about their daily lives in this “museum of the horrors of the National Education buildings of Seine-Saint-Denis”. A mathematics teacher at the Colonel-Fabien college in Montreuil confides to Télérama: "There are puddles of water in the classrooms as soon as it rains, and brown water constantly flows from the tap. We are told that it is linked to the state of the pipes, but that our students can drink it…”.

Another teacher, a librarian, says: "Last year, we had an allophone child in a wheelchair, whom the agents had to carry up the stairs. And then we were told about inclusive school..." She also explains that the Students with sprains or broken legs are forced to stay in the CDI on the ground floor or are simply encouraged to return home because they are unable to go to class.

Other teachers reveal to Télérama that material damage is not the only problem they have to face. The dilapidation of establishments is sometimes accompanied by the presence of pests. A history-geography teacher in Aulnay-sous-Bois says: “Between the spring and summer of 2023, beetles began to fall by the dozen in the students’ hair.” A senior education advisor at the Simone-Veil college in the same town declares: “The lodge and the school life room, where the education assistants meet, are even infested with rats!”

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