It is interesting to explore certain aspects of contemporary education in terms of the clinic and critique of patriarchy.
A starting point could be the new Education Act in Bulgaria which introduces the concept of the child as a subject with rights and inclusive education. There is some discontent among teachers from it because it is viewed as a destitution of the established order for everyone.
Thus, it is still happening sometimes that the education functions according to the old principle of learning while teachers struggle to take into account the exception.
This transition allows us to raise the following point: what is this that regulates the relations between the subjects in the modern school?
Let’s use the Freudian myth of the father as a compass.
The discontent about the new Act is towards two new signifiers – inclusion and personality development support which are related to the creation of a school environment where each student could participate in his/hers/its own particular way. This point contradicts the old Act which attempted to create homogenisation, harmony and standardisation and was meant to be applied for all without any exception. The new Act allows each exception and attempts to regulate it which increases the variety of situations, context, demands, practices and conditions for inclusion. It transforms the educational framework making it more flexible and loose.
Is the old law dead, has it been killed by those who promote inclusion, does it kill the authority of the teacher and decline his/her/its power?
Sanction is also a new signifier in the Act but it is perceived as a replacement of the old disciplinary measures and some teachers continue using words like penalty. No matter the change of signifier from penalty to sanction, it keeps the imaginary omnipresence of the old law reviving the hope that the old regulations could be restored.
Let us explore these questions in practice.
A group of sixteen-year-old boys have been reported throwing balls of paper at the passersby from their classroom. Their teacher decides to punish them because “they are unbearable” and she cannot stand them anymore. Students deny all charges.
This impasse reveals how the different subjects in the school are confronted with the real – nothing is clear, everyone is anxious and threatened either by penalties or by complaints.
Everyone has been invited, one by one, to a confidential conversation with the school psychologist without any administrative consequences. These meetings were not part of the administrative procedure but an attempt to open the dimension of the dialogue, to provide opportunity for each one to speak, to be heard and to subjectivise his/her own experience.
Everyone has accepted this invitation and a certain relief could be noted. The tone of the teacher has become calmer with more specific accusations and fewer emotionally charged words. According to the student A. there was nothing wrong with throwing balls at the passersby but the students had the bad luck hitting a prominent person. E. said he had participated in this situation but insisted he was together with the others. For L. it had been interesting to watch but he would be more mindful in the future. S. felt offended, had only watched and done nothing.
After these meetings it became possible for the school management to make some decisions which were acceptable for all participants.
Can we regard these conversations on a one to one basis as some sort of père-version? Can we call this a version of the father “to read the singular solutions of each subject” within the limit that the frame of the symbolic implies?
These reflections lead us to discuss if we can speak about a change in the discourse, a certain tendency that the school of today and tomorrow sometimes tends to rely on a père-version/a version of the father that takes into account the real of the jouissance and the singular desire of the subject in order to use it as a “lung” that allows him/her/it to breathe.
 Pre-school and School Education Act, here.
 Carbonell N., Solutions With the Father or Outside the Father, PIPOL 11 Blog.
 Laurent É., The Irreductible Place of the Father, PIPOL 11 Blog.
Picture : © Ateliers d’art de la Baraque