Hervé Joly :The French system of higher education - an historical approach

On The June 8, 2020

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Video-conference seminar

The French higher education system is original in that it is not, as in most other countries, built around the hegemony of the university model, to which even specific establishments, such as engineering schools or business schools, rallied.

Until recent times, universities in France, except for the faculties of medicine and law, have had no other function than the academic reproduction of knowledge, and the “grandes écoles" more selective, had professional recruitment as core purpose. It is only recently that the “grandes écoles” approached the university model, by obtaining the right to deliver a doctorate, and recruiting permanent teachers doing research, etc. A detour through history, notably through a survey of the students of the École Polytechnique at the beginning of the 20th century, helps us to understand how this dual system was created.