Faut-il sauver les grandes écoles ?
De la culture de la sélection à la culture de l'innovation
Should the "Grandes écoles" be saved ?
From a selective to an innovative culture
As veritable selection machines, the "Grandes Ecoles" constitute effective recruitment agents for the CAC 40, and yet do not drive the innovation economy which they could and should do, given their privileged links with private sector companies. Their apparent good health is deceptive and the degree to which they are socially exclusive is no longer acceptable.
They are a long way from rivalling the major scientific and technological universities abroad - who themselves are home to the knowledge economy and spearheads of economic growth in their respective countries. The engineering schools in France are far too small, far too closed in on themselves and far too French.
France is already very late to reform even though the way forward is clear: the schools should be merged together in units corresponding to international sizes; links with the universities should be intensified; social and cultural diversity should be increased; vigorous internationalisation policies should be developed. All that is needed is the political courage to implement the above. And this is a matter of urgency.
Pierre Veltz is former Director of the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées. He is President of ParisTech, which brings together 10 of the most prestigious engineering schools in France. He lectures at the École des Ponts and at Sciences Po in Paris.