Successor of the University Council founded in 1808, the Higher Council of Public Instruction created by the Falloux Law (1850) comprised representatives of the “social forces”, like the clergy and the magistracy. This characteristic was kept and even extended in 1873. In 1880, on the contrary, Jules Ferry established the Higher Council with members from the public education system, almost exclusively. The Conservatives opposed the thesis put forward by the Republicans that there could not be an independent representation of society apart from the national representation, in the form of the Parliament. The Republican argument can be interpreted as a mark of the liberal Jacobinism that constitutes the “French political model”, according to Pierre Rosanvallon. Notwithstanding, 15 years later, the Minister of Public Instruction, Émile Combes, proposed to backtrack on the predominantly university-based composition of the Higher Council, a source of narrow-mindedness, in his eyes. But his project was met with virulent opposition. The reform of 1933 was prudently limited to introducing representatives of parents and of heads of state-run secondary schools.
- Higher Council of Public Instruction
- educative reforms