Thursday, March 29, 2012

Polytechnique et Pantouflage

Henceforth, graduates of the Ecole Polytechnique who take jobs in the private sector ("pantouflage," in the picturesque slang expression) must reimburse the state for their education to the tune of €45 000 . Not quite Harvard or MIT tuition but getting up there. And the principle is now established at the very pinnacle of the republican educational system. Sciences Po has been charging tuition to some students for a while, but it's a semi-private institution. X, by contrast, has always been about state service, but in recent years 75% of its graduates have been going into the private sector.


Anonymous said...

It's astounding: they're PAID a nice* salary to attend, supposedly because they'll dedicate 10 years of their life to the State which paid them to train.. then default on their commitment... and until now faced on consequences? And 75% of them chose to default?
There's something rotten in an elite that would make such choices. Perhaps ethics is just another class to them.
Reading the article, it feels like these 75% were taking advantage, and perhaps taking slots from equally deserving student with more integrity.
(* in French terms)

Alex Price said...

I love the pejorative implication of pantouflage and pantouflard: going into government service is honorable, going into le privé is hopping on the gravy train, the easy way out. Would that that attitude were more widespread in this country. Still, if 75% of the graduates have in fact been taking that option, perhaps it’s not as common in France anymore either.

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure that, around 1980, Politechnique people had to reimburse their "pantoufle", even if their private sector employer helped with the payments. When was this stopped, and why?


FrédéricLN said...

@ Melanie : indeed, I don't see what's new there. I read a paper and it seems that the State was ineffective in getting some "pantoufles" reimbursed. There's perhaps more than that on the table, but it is unclear.

Anonymous said...

It used to be reimbursed and then the State stopped enforcing its own policy. Hence 75% graduates who get an education at the state's expense AND a stipend the bail out. It's not that the choice of private v. public is bad, it's that they no longer pay back what they owe! (think West Point Cadets joining a corporation instead of the Army; you can bet the DoD would make sure they pay for their tuition-free education and for their stipends!)
So, in my opinion, Mélanie above has the right questions.

Anonymous said...

*theN bail out, typo

Anonymous said...

Just a precision, the reason so many are going in the private sector is that the State is offering less and less jobs directly to Polytechnique graduates. Almost all of public jobs offered are taken (except military ones...). You can question the system but don't blame the graduates.