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A winning program for equal opportunities in education

Launched in 2006 at École Polytechnique, the program for equal opportunities in access to education known as Une Grande École, Pourquoi Pas Moi ? (Why Shouldn’t I Go to a Grande École?) published its performance results in its evaluation report of early July 2019.

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Launched in 2006 at École Polytechnique, Une Grande École, Pourquoi Pas Moi ? is intended for promising high school students who are unlikely to pursue higher education due to their family situation. The program gives these students the necessary tools to find their direction and follow their studies as far as possible, and it has been an outright triumph! Since its creation, 346 young people have already benefited from the program, including 105 currently enrolled at university, but the results obtained from former participants from 2006 to 2015 show the true success of this scheme.

While 60% of the aforementioned group are still students, the 40% in employment have been able to rely, in the vast majority (94%) of cases, on a degree of at least five years in length. These former participants’ degrees are mainly in science and engineering or health, and they are employed predominantly (84%) in highly skilled managerial and professional positions (64%) or in mid-level professions (20%).

Combating self-discrimination and choosing your own direction

The impact of the program is also reflected in the choice of career direction. 90% of former participants chose their career according to their ambitions, 67% out of a taste for intellectually stimulating training, and 59% made their choice out of the desire to find their dream job. A similar trend can also be confirmed among current student year groups, who also prioritize passion (92%), ambition (90%), dream job (79%) and intellectual stimulation (67%) when making their choice of higher education. This marks a considerable difference for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, as according to the French National School System Evaluation Council (Conseil national d’évaluation du système scolaire), only 38% of this group choose their career direction according to their taste for the job.

Benefits of the program

Participants have stressed the importance of the program in discovering new professions (87%), improving their understanding of higher education (90%) and developing a wide range of life skills. They have also emphasized its value in terms of considering others’ opinions (73%), being comfortable speaking in public (89%), developing debating skills (83%), expressing ideas within a group (70%) and gaining perspective for decision-making (60%).