French teachers spend, on average, more time in front of their students than their European counterparts for lower salaries. Their classes are more crowded in primary education and more of them feel socially undervalued.

A severe observation made by Gérard Longuet, senator Les Républicains de la Meuse, in a report on the 2022 budget for national education. The Senate, mostly on the right, has also rejected the finance bill presented by the government on November 23. On education, the first state budget, with 56.5 billion euros, Mr. Longuet criticizes the chronic lack of attractiveness of the teaching profession, which has dropped significantly compared to the rest of the European Union ( EU) – but also in relation to private sector employees.

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The text, which notes an increase in the national education budget of 2.6% in the 2022 finance bill, nevertheless welcomes the progress of the Grenelle education forum, which has made it possible, over two years, to improve the remuneration of the youngest teachers. But the observations, already established by other bodies, including the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), remain: at the end of their career, the salary of college teachers in France is 10,000 euros less than the European Union average. In elementary school, the drop in wages is particularly striking – especially compared to Germany, an economically comparable country, where the gross salary at the start of a career exceeds 65,000 euros, compared to 31,000 euros in France.

Decrease in purchasing power

The increase in French wages, which start low and increase in the middle and end of their career, is “Very disincentive for new entrants”, can we read in the Senate report. Not to mention that the purchasing power of teachers has deteriorated sharply in twenty years, since it has decreased from 15% to 25% between 2000 and 2019 in constant euros – the decrease varying according to the levels and the body to which they are attached. teachers. This fall is stabilizing thanks to the wage rebalancing measures adopted in recent years, however specifies the Senate. But she “Will weigh heavily on teachers’ salaries for a long time.”

To compare working conditions, the Senate also looked at other criteria measured in particular by the OECD, including the number of hours spent in front of students. “Teachers in France spend more time teaching than their colleagues in European countries on average, and in Germany in particular”, concludes the report, which gives the figure of 900 “statutory” hours in front of pupils per year for a primary school teacher, while a German counterpart only does 691.

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