The Pros & Cons of the French Elitist Grandes Ecoles

Math Online Tom Circle

The French Grandes Écoles System is characterized by one unique Ultra-Selective Exams – “Concours” (pronounced as Kongu) or 科举 (pronounced in Chinese dialect Fujian as “Kogu”) a la the 1,300- year Chinese Imperial Exams dated since 600AD till 1905. Napoléon Bonaparte had great admiration of the Chinese mandarin meritocractic selection system, he was influenced by the Jesuit priests who were mostly working in China coastal province Fujian, decided to implement “Concours” for his newly established military engineering college ”École Polytechnique” (aka ‘X’).

Like any system, there are always two sides : the pros & the cons. Kogu served China well for 1300 years, producing top mandarins who ruled China with the most intelligent scholars through layers of selective exams from county (乡试选拔”秀才”) to province (省试选拔 “举人”) to the capital (京都 殿试选拔 “进士” – 前三名状元 /榜眼 / 探花). The Cons came from its Implementation “devils” – too focus on one…

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