The Grandes Ecoles against meritocracy?

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If you were born between 1971 and 1995, your chances of attending a top school are…
> 9 times higher if you belong to the nobility
> 25 times higher if you are parisian
> 83 times higher if your father himself went to a great school
> 365 times higher if your father went to the same high school
For the generation born between 1966 and 1990, the chances of attending the same high school as their father are…
> 70 times higher for Science-Po
> 100 times higher for business schools
> 130 times higher for technical schools
> 270 times higher for ENA and ENS
Compared to the average, admission to the Grandes Ecoles of children of graduates of the Grandes Ecoles…
> 154 times bigger for the generation 1891-1915
> 81 times bigger for the generation 1916-1940
> 72 times bigger for the generation 1941-1965
> 75 times bigger for the 1966-1990 generation

Do the Grandes Ecoles perpetuate inequalities? Yes, confirms with supporting figures the economist Stéphane Benveniste in his thesis “Les Grandes Écoles in the XXe century. The field of the French elites: social reproduction, dynasties, networks”, defended in December 2021 and awarded the prize for the thesis in economics 2022. Far from it, the French have, at Sciences-Po, an Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) or even the National School of Administration (ENA). Thus, a Parisian is 25 times more likely to gain entry to the Grandes Ecoles, compared to 9.3 to 12.6 times more for cohorts (the term denotes an age group according to the year of birth) born before 1965. nobility, even two centuries after the Revolution, keep weighing: a little bit of blue blood gives you 9 times more chance of being absorbed into exceptional formations. However, the influence of the aristocracy is declining – at the beginning of the XXe century, it could provide 15 times more opportunities to join the elite, especially in political science and high administration schools. The most important factor remains social reproduction: Depending on the age group, a father who has gone to high school gives his child 72 to 154 times more chances to do the same. This genealogy bonus can give 450 times more chances in case the descendant goes to the same school as his father. By logical training, these forms of school dynasties do not only relate to direct ascendants: a grandchild or great-grandchild is therefore 30 to 54 times more likely to attend a large school if one of his ancestors also did. The theorems developed by Pierre Bourdieu in the state nobility (1989) don’t seem to have aged a bit: “As such, we must try to grasp the field of the grandes écoles, whose functioning as a structure contributes to the reproduction of the structure of the social space and the structure of the power field. † Enter into the great schools those who through their privileged education have received the codes, which they in turn will pass on to their descendants.

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