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France profonde

France's two-tier university system contributes to the country's stagnation. The graduates of the grandes écoles are at last starting to tackle this

By Tim King   July 2006

Early summer in France sees anxious sixth formers and their more anxious parents wondering about the future as they wait for the results of this year’s baccalauréat. But here, unlike in Britain with its A-levels, the waiting is not accompanied by agonised family discussions about which university. Come September, nine out of ten French baccalaureates will simply shuffle along to the university nearest home. In France there is no selection for a place at university any more than there is at school: anyone with the bac can have a stab at any subject—in theory, a beautiful and generous public service…

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