Le New York Times s'interroge sur la place à part qu'occupent les "grandes écoles" en France. Faut-il revoir l'ensemble du système ?

"From food to fashion to architecture to transportation, the French take a justified pride in their country’s reputation for innovation. Whether it is the fleet of sleek high-speed trains crossing the countryside, the Airbus assembly plant at Toulouse, the latest collection of prêt-à-porter or the pioneering use of smart cards in French pay phones, the French often say that while their way of doing things may appear different, perhaps even a bit avant-garde, the rest of the world will eventually catch up. But when the discussion turns to France’s antiquated and underfinanced system of higher education, Gallic pride gives way to defensiveness, and even a certain embarrassment."

"Born out of the French Enlightenment, the grandes écoles have long been the cradle of the governing class. “Normaliens” (graduates from École Normal Supérieure), “Gadzarts” (from École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers), “X-iens” (from École Polytechnique), and “Enarques” (from École National d’Administration) occupy a place in French national life similar to Oxbridge graduates in England or the Ivy League in the United States. Internationally, however, these institutions have far less clout than their Anglo-American counterparts.

Language is one factor. According to the most recent figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, France trails only the United States and Britain as a destination for overseas students, attracting 7.3 percent of the market, roughly the same as Germany. Yet nearly two-thirds of foreign students in France come from just five countries: Algeria, Cameroon, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia."

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Source : The New York Times, 11/10/10