Elite Paris lycee embraces affirmative action

16th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 15, 2006 (AFP) - One of the most prestigious French secondary schools — the Henry IV lycée in the Latin Quarter of Paris — is to open a class for under-privileged students to prepare them for entry into the elite universities or grandes écoles, school authorities said Monday.

PARIS, May 15, 2006 (AFP) - One of the most prestigious French secondary schools — the Henry IV lycée in the Latin Quarter of Paris — is to open a class for under-privileged students to prepare them for entry into the elite universities or grandes écoles, school authorities said Monday.

"We shall choose them from among young people who have all the talents necessary to succeed but who for socio-cultural reasons could never imagine getting into a grande école" said principal Patrice Corre.

Some 30 students will be picked on recommendation from their lycées after taking the school-leaving examination or baccalauréat.

They will follow a year of intensive studies to bring them to the level where they can begin the two-year course — known as prépa— which prepares for the competitive exams into the grandes ecoles.

Emphasis will be placed on acquiring the "general culture" which is hard to obtain in poor and immigrant families, school authorities said. Alongside their academic work, students will be taken to concerts, exhibitions and museums.

A disproportionate number of French political and business leaders pass through the highly competitive grandes écoles which include more than 100 establishments such as the historic Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole Normale Supérieure.

Two years ago the Politics Studies Institute in Paris — better known as Sciences-Po — became the first grande école to launch an affirmative action programme, taking in promising students from deprived suburban areas who were exempt from the competitive exam.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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