There is something similar – a high hierarchization of Salutatorian speech the list of universities. This is reflected in the universal and not always justified recognition of the prestige of some institutions in comparison to others. For example, the “classical” Sorbonne (Paris-5, Paris-4, Paris-1) is more prestigious than the experimental University of Vincennes, now Paris-8, founded in 1968. In turn, as an almost Parisian university, it is more prestigious than universities on the distant periphery of the city, although among the latter there are universities with a high reputation. Standing apart and measured in prestige are the Institutes of Higher Education, including the for-profit ones. There, entrance exams are held, the selection of applicants is highly selective, and from there, students have some additional opportunities for professional careers. In exceptional cases, as at the École Normale Supérieure, students have the status of civil servant trainees, receive a stipend and are almost guaranteed a job upon graduation.
Many French politicians graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure. It’s about like the Russian Civil Service Academy….
I think it’s even more prestigious because it’s very strictly regulated. You can only get into the Higher School of Administration after the Higher Normal School (one of the most prestigious intellectual institutions), or after a series of promotions in the civil service and inclusion in the higher administrative “A” echelon. An important feature of this institution is that it accumulated not only administrative, but also intellectual potential. Some of the “students” of the Higher Administrative School were graduates of the Higher Normal School, who studied together with future professors and famous intellectuals, mastered together with them the elite intellectual program and competed with them in their studies.
You can read about Germany that there, thanks to the availability of public education, there were practically no private universities 15 years ago. And now they are taking over more and more segments of the educational market. Is something similar happening in France?
Yes, of course. For example, the very same High Commercial Schools are fundamentally designed to generate income from students and on a model of self-sufficiency similar to that of the Russian State University – Higher School of Economics at the beginning of its existence. However, the situation of French for-profit schools has recently begun to resemble that of the SU-HSE. Prestigious universities, oriented to self-sufficiency, eventually consolidated their privileged position in the educational system at the expense of large state subsidies and decisive political and administrative support.
In France, as far as we know, most of the non-state universities receive state subsidies?
I will present a little bit more clearly the overall picture. In France there are in principle few universities, about 80: the status of the university is retained by state institutions “with a history” or assigned to their derivatives, which were created in the 60s and 80s during the university expansion. State education is unscramblewords predominant in France: In private universities, as in Russia, a little less than 15 percent of students study. There are non-state Catholic universities, of which there are fewer than 10. There are higher for-profit schools, originally private institutions with state recognition and accreditation along with accreditation by international business education associations. There are individual technical universities in the private sector, such as the School of Informatics. Of the hundreds of private universities, the French Ministry of Education subsidizes about 60 from the state budget.