Private Muslim Schools Plow Their Way In France
Muslim private education is attracting more and more parents who seek to provide their children with an education of excellence and preservation of identity that the public school can not always guarantee, according to Ibrahim Z, host of the website Religious “Domes and Minarets”, approached by Anadolu.
This young Internet user who publishes news about mosques in France now plans to promote private Muslim education on his website.
“Although private education is predominantly dominated by Catholics (8500 schools) and Jews (300 schools), schools linked to the Muslim community (less than a hundred) are becoming more and more important in recent years “, he said.
According to the figures of the guide Fabert (a company that publishes the directory of private schools), about 12500 private schools are counted in France, a little more than 12% of the French students.
“The first Muslim settlement was founded in 2001, under the name of La Plume in Grenoble. As for the only high school under contract with the State, it opened its doors in 2003 with 15 students, in Lille. Today, it ranks among the best high schools in France with more than 800 students, “he informs.
The department of Seine Saint-Denis in the Ile de France concentrates the most Muslim sSeine-Saint-Denistablishments followed by the North (9) and the Rhone (6).
To become a school under contract with the State, the facilitator explains, the school must be able to finance itself for five years with its own resources before being able to claim state aid.
“Being in a contract then makes it possible to obtain the salary of the teachers, which considerably alleviates the financial expenses,” informs the animator of the site.
“Since the 2004 law the demand is exploding,” confirms Ibrahim Z.
“There is a desire to preserve the Muslim identity of the child that many consider as threatened in public secular school since this famous law,” he said.
” But not only. Parents also want to provide an education of excellence to their children that public school can not guarantee, especially in difficult zones ZEP (Priority Education Zones) where the rate of failure is high, “he says.
But opening a Muslim school is not as simple as it looks.
“Funding is the most difficult,” says Anadolu Murat Ercan, chairman of the school group, Yunus Emre, in Strasbourg, in eastern France.
“Education is a very expensive activity and the administrative system is very difficult to implement,” says Ercan, 48, who runs a high school and a college.
The school group was created in 2015, at the grassroots level, to prepare pupils for the faculty of Islamic theology who intended to train imams. Due to administrative problems, the project was suspended. However, the group was able to carry out a project of college and lycée.
So when the first class of second (first year of high school) was opened, the strong demand surprised the leaders. Immediately, it was decided to open a 6th-year class (1st year of college) and to ensure continuity each year with the following classes.
“Out of 100 applications per class, we only manage to accept a quarter of students,” says the president.
For the second year, a total of 72 pupils were able to attend the course in the sixth, second and first classes.
At the beginning of the school year, in September 2017, the school group will host 110 students with all the classes of secondary school (General and Technological, Scientific, Economy and Social and Sciences and Technologies of Management and Social) and two classes of college.
“The group does not intend to stop there,” continues the president, who hopes to “be able to contract with the state, open the kindergarten and primary classes and resume the faculty project,” he said.”And why not a BTS (Higher Technician’s Certificate),” he hopes.
Schools that arouse controversy
Muslim schools have aroused hostile reactions from supporters of strict secularism.
In September 2016, Education Minister Najat Vallaud Belkacem had to take a stand on schools that do not have a contract with the State. The daily “Libération” wrote at the time that the minister was referring to the fears fueled by the right in the face of the development of Muslim settlements.
“Salafist schools under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood”, pointed Annie Genevard, deputy of the Doubs and delegate to education within the Republicans (LR).
However, the Minister had made public a report in which it was noted that “during unannounced inspections carried out in 20 structures (of all confessions) reported, the inspectors found no evidence of willingness Teaching values contrary to those of the Republic or promoting a radicalized view of religion “.