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In our October 2017 edition, we covered the launch of the new Plan Etudiants, which will affect the way in which French students can access higher education in France. This initiative has sparked several protests among students all around the country: Paris, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes, Nancy and especially Montpellier, where violence reached high peaks. Protesters believe that the new system of admission “Parcoursup” is elitist and discriminatory, as it will disadvantage students from poorer backgrounds. The previous system was not so different, though. In fact, before the introduction of Parcoursup, the admission of students to over-subscribed courses was managed by another system called APB (Admission Post Bac), which “decided” if students could be admitted or not on a purely lottery-like basis.
Despite the widespread protests, the government had proceeded with its plan and, on 15 January, the new platform Parcoursup was officially launched. During the following two months students have had the possibility to express their wishes on the platform (maximum 10).
On 22 May the first admission results were published: students were informed if they were admitted to one or more universities, if they were not admitted to any university or if they were put on a waiting list (in which case they have to wait for a place to get free). Students have time until 21 September to make a choice.
For transparency reasons, the Ministry of Education has made public the algorithm used by Parcoursup; the algorithms used by the individual universities, on the other hand, have not (secret des délibérations). It is not yet clear how universities will continue to justify this decision after the 25 May, date in which the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) entered into force, making it binding for all organisations manipulating personal data to make the use of those data transparent and explicit.
Pictures: thelocal.fr and parcoursup.fr