The departmental delegates of National Education are present in the class councils, their role being to express themselves on the life of the school. They are volunteers and fewer and fewer.
45% of schools in Lot-et-Garonne do not have departmental delegates for National Education, DDEN.
The DDENs are grouped together in a federation. On the latter’s proposal, they are appointed by the departmental director of National Education (academy inspector) and are assigned one or more schools, nursery and/or elementary.
“We come from different backgrounds, even if many of us are retired teachers. We defend public and secular education. We bring a perspective other than that of the teaching body, the parents of students and the municipality, on the establishment. This with a view to the well-being of the child”, explains Christiane Lafaye, president of the Departmental Union of National Education Delegates. “We visit the schools, look at the facilities, the security. We can insist with the town hall if work is to be carried out, support projects. Of course, we are not essential, but it is an additional opinion in the organization of the school, except for what is educational. The sector inspectors recognize our usefulness and appreciate our presence during class councils. If necessary, we act as mediators between the three parties, teachers, parents, town hall. We defend the well-being of the child inside the school but also in general.For example, for several years, we have been saying and repeating that the four-day week is not a good thing for the child. Chronobiological studies have shown that the child was more comfortable working five mornings a week, with Wednesday mornings or Saturdays. In defending this position, we come up against parents and some teachers who prefer the sema ine to four days, but we insist!”
Another subject that is close to the heart of the DDEN is the sanitary facilities. “Too many children do not go to the toilet all day because they do not feel well there. We regularly ask for the separation of the toilets, higher walls even for the little ones who can sometimes be bothered by proximity. We insist that there be trash cans in the girls’ toilets in elementary schools. In CM2, young girls can already be menstruating. And that these toilets are no longer mixed, which still exists.”
The current DDEN are the “descendants” of the cantonal delegates resulting from the Goblet law of October 30, 1886. Their presence within the school is old. “To show their independence vis-à-vis the administration which appoints them, they organized themselves and created in 1906, during the congress of the Ligue de l’enseignement, the National Union of Cantonal Delegates. 20 years later, in 1936, under the patronage of Édouard Herriot, Minister, a National Federation of Cantonal Delegates was founded”, recalls Christiane Lafaye.
“In 2012, we were 250 in Lot-et-Garonne. In this month of September 2022, we are only 67. We are absent from 45% of schools. We are looking for volunteers!”