We will discuss the education under the early Third Republic, and we cannot move away from the context. In 1881 and 1882, when the Ferry's Law was promulgated, the Republic was not comfortably established in France. Monarchists and Bonarpatists were very much present in the country and the restoration was still possible. Socialists and anarchists are present and the episode of La Commune was only ten years old. These laws were a means for forging the minds and precisely to forge the citizen's mind. The Franco-Prussian war was over ten years ago, and France lost a part of its territory, which were the departments of Alsace and Lorraine. On the other hand, France built its colonial empire in Africa and in Asia. Its industry and trade broke. This economic situation was reached during the second industrial Revolution with the development of electric energy and the rising of car industry. This period was called the Belle époque.
[...] In this sense the laymans education was a new opium for the masses. By learning in republican France, children became French citizens. This system leaned on the meritocracy . Its goals were the education of the new political and economic elite for a more stable republic. The schools of the republic would change the system. The laborer's son or the farmer's son would be taught to become an engineer or a senior civil servant. To put this meritocracy in place, the system of competitive examination was used. [...]
[...] The Republic had installed a system of examination for the recruitment of teachers. The man or the woman became representative or state officer in the classroom. It was new teachers, a new category of people in society. For the government, lay teachers were a man, and later a woman, with a mission to uplift people as well as bring about a political and social consolidation. They were trained in a special school, the écoles normales, and were confirmed by a state certification. [...]
[...] In place of religious opium for the masses we find republican opium for the masses. The second law also proclaimed compulsory school for children of six to thirteen years of age. All villages, towns or cities should open a school and all children should attend. Parents used to keep children at home to work and to earn money. And before the law, many students never attended school at all while those on the rolls often came sporadically. Consequent to the law the school took children off work. [...]
[...] The lay education continued to be built on principles as of before. Indeed, the principle of respecting the priest touched l'instituteur, the teacher too. This idea was not new opium for the masses. The new system used old logic. Children respected their teacher in the classroom like the priest in the church. Indeed, the functioning of the system and the administration resembled the clergy. The minister was like the pope, the academic inspector like the bishop and the teacher like the priest. [...]
[...] So the lay education was a new opium for the masses. But maybe this opium was not so exalted as religion. Indeed the new system was not completely new and it used an old technique. In campaigns, l'instituteur or the teacher, is a notable person and sometimes he is in the municipal council. He is in the group of people possessing knowledge. In exalting the teacher the system was identical to the previous one. Like the priest, he is a reference for the population. [...]
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