In France they do things differently and a good example is Ecole 42, a privately run school set up by Xavier Niel, one of the country’s early internet pioneers.
The French startup site Bonjour La French Tech describes Ecole 42s gruelling recruitment process where “out of 70 thousand original applicants, less than 1000 are chosen after a four-hour online test and month long trial period consisting of more than 100 work hours per week.”
It may be the 100 work hours per week is a typo, or something was lost in translation, but Ecole 42s process marks a very different philosophy towards technology training to that in the Anglo countries where the opportunities in teenage years are more accessible.
With the push to get coding courses into primary schools gathering speed, it’s interesting to see how an initiative like Ecole 42 will evolve. It’s hard though to think having a tiny technological elite would be helpful to a country’s industry or startup community.
However it maybe that elite turn out to be critical in developing a wider French ecosystem over the long term.
Certainly Niel’s efforts should be applauded, hopefully though those opportunities can be spread across the wider community..