Special Report:
Should the most venerable schools in France known as the "Grandes Ecoles" be saved ? This is the title of Pierre Veltz’s recent book and the topic of the latest well attended CSO breakfast seminar series.

A short time ago, they were considered amongst the world’s top schools, today the "grandes écoles" are much less robust. Marie-Annick Mazoyer reports on the panel debate kicked off by the author, the key comments by the discussants and the lively discussion that followed.

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Tackling one of French society’s most vexing issues, Pierre Veltz, previous director of the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, launched an initiative to federate the “grandes ecoles”. He offers an insider’s view in his new book: “Faut-il sauver les Grandes Ecoles : De la culture de la sélection à la culture de l’innovation” (Sciences Po Presses 2007).

Past and current proposed higher education reforms in France are legion. Public opinion often decries the elitism of the “Grandes Ecoles”. Veltz’s concerns in this topical book also relate to the lack of high quality research as well as a sufficient “microenvironment” for innovation, in what are considered to be the best schools in France.

CSO Breakfast, October 10, 2007