France's elite schools: bastions of privilege?
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We visit the grandes écoles, France’s prestigious higher education institutions which train the country’s elite, running as a parallel system to French universities. The government wants to see more grant-aided students in these schools – asking for targets of 30 per cent of each school’s student body, in an attempt to diversify what critics say is a closed circle.
The schools say they agree but some of them argue that any affirmative-action-style quota would inevitably lead to a drop in standards. Although the schools’ position won some support, the overwhelming response was critical. The government says it is not suggesting obligatory quotas – so why is there an argument? And since everybody agrees that there is a problem, where is the solution?