Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Parking Lots for Youths

White people go to school
Where they teach you how to be thick

An’ everybody’s doing
Just what they’re told to
An’ nobody wants
To go to jail!

All the power’s in the hands
Of people rich enough to buy it
While we walk the street
Too chicken to even try it
--The Clash

More views on the reasons for the recent French student rioting:
Indeed, the French are reaping the harvest of their own stupid policies during the past decades. The same applies to today’s student dissatisfaction. In France a university degree does not guarantee success in life. More important than universities are the so-called grandes écoles, such as the ENA, the École nationale d’administration. The ruling élite (to which Prime Minister Villepin and President Chirac belong but not, significantly, their rival, the “pro-Anglo-Saxon” Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy) consists of so-called énarques or ENA alumni. The state run grandes écoles can only be entered after taking two years of “classes préparatoires” (or prépas). It is very difficult, and costs a fortune, to get admitted to the prépas, with the result that university is only a second choice for many students.

For the French state, too, universities are merely second choice. While it subsidizes the prépas with 13,760 euros per head per year, universities get only 6,700 euros per head per year. Universities are typically overcrowded institutions, housed in old, delapidated buildings. In general students are not even free to choose their university, but have to go to the one nearest to where they live. Almost half of the students fail to pass the first two of the six years, and leave the institution after two years without a degree, entering the job market without qualifications. Mia Doornaert, a Belgian journalist who has lived in France for many years, describes French universities as “parking lots” for youths, where they can be stored for two years, allowing the government to pretend that unemployment figures are actually lower than they really are.

This idea of the political elites being fostered in only one school is pretty disturbing *cough* *Yale* *cough cough*. I'm beginning to see why Sarkozy is such a breath of fresh air.....

...On a related note, I have never seen such a craphole of a university like the University of Paris. I don't think I can convey through words alone how craptacular this place actually is. I don't think a visual of myself with a mouth wide open and a finger pointing towards my toncils will help either.

...Total aside: BC recently passed the "Six dollar" rule, where employers can employ young workers at six dollars for the first 500 "training hours" that they work while rapidly expanding college and university entry spaces....Hmmmm

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