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    The StratEDgy blog is intended to be a thoughtful hub for discussion about strategy and competition in higher education.


A Promising Idea?

Will this new school lead to better outcomes?

September 30, 2013

Given higher education’s current emphasis on outcomes and other performance measures of graduates, some numbers recently caught my eye:


1 New School:

  • $90 million invested by founder Xavier Niel
  • 60,000 applicants
  • 4,000 applicants made the first cut
  • 4 weeks worth of in-person exercises to be admitted
  • 800 students will be admitted
  • 18-30 years old: the only criteria for applying
  • $0 cost to attend
  • “42” – the school’s name


These statistics belong to a new school in France, called “42.”  This NPR article points out that the focus is on “not looking for how much students know, but how they think.”

The school was founded to solve two specific problems in France – a high youth unemployment rate and a shortage of IT specialists.  The untraditional approach includes 100% learning peer-to-peer and project-based learning.

As the curriculum takes 3-5 years to complete, it will be awhile before the outcomes of this experiment are available. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see whether the students value their experience, if any admitted students choose or are forced to drop-out, and ultimately how the market values their skills.

A promising idea?


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