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We cannot pretend to evoke the future without first delving into the roots of the subject tackled. The history of the school is long, very long even. I leave it to the specialists to say if there were civilizations without a school and how developments took place over the centuries, even millennia. This would be far-reaching, out of all proportion to the forward-looking elements that we have in view in this text. We will therefore stick to a recent past, subsequent to the Enlightenment and more particularly relating to these last decades.
In just over two centuries, in developed countries, school has become a public good, an institution, protected, built around values (in France, secular school, free and compulsory), carrying a certain idea of democracy (we speak, in France, of "republican school") and responsible for transmitting it to young people (for example in terms of "education for citizenship"). The transmission of values, humanist in particular, is one of the important missions of the school, or at least was recently, even if, as we will see, current developments cruelly raise this question.
If the school did not exist and that one envisaged to create it, nobody can imagine that the choice would stop on the model in place today. According to the expression used by sociologists, it is trapped in the "school form" inspired by religious institutions, certainly somewhat different according to times, countries and cultures. It has been frozen since the 19th century. The school is exercised in a unit of place, the class. It combines a group of pupils, a program and the action of a teacher who must teach this program to these pupils (we even say “his” pupils). The variations that can be noted, here or there, are always on the fringes and preserve, until now and except in exceptional cases, these three pillars. Antoine Prost (1997) points out: "we do not see a new type of school being announced with precision: that of the XIXth century is dead, but that of the XXIth century is still looking for itself".
So where is the school at the start of the 21st century? Can we discern the changes for which it must prepare? Under the pressure of what forces? From what perspective? To fix ideas, what are the main hypotheses of evolution in a future that is both near and a little distant, 2030?
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