Destinations Magazine

Education and the French Mindset: Bangalore-sur-Seine?

By Stizzard
Education and the French mindset: Bangalore-sur-Seine? Is 42 the answer to France’s prayers?

WHEN French entrepreneurs decided in March to launch a swanky new school for software developers, they thought they were on to something. But even they were startled by its popularity. For 1,000 student places starting this autumn on a three-year course, they have fully 50,000 applications.France has a skills mismatch. Joblessness has reached 10.6%, a 14-year high. For the under-25s, it is 26%. Yet, according to a poll by the French Association of Software Publishers and Internet Solutions, 72% of software firms are having trouble recruiting—and 91% of those are seeking software engineers and developers.Such frustrations spurred Xavier Niel, the billionaire founder of Iliad, a broadband firm, and his business pals to set up the new school—which is wilfully disruptive of France’s highly centralised, state-dominated education system. It is privately financed—Mr Niel is investing €70m ($ 92m)—but will be free for students. It will lead to no state-recognised diploma and applicants need no formal qualifications, although the admissions literature warns would-be students that they “will have to work hard”.The…

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