It is not only owed to the Ecole Normale Superieure where the 11 Fields medalists were educated, but the prominent “Math Culture” in French society.
This is similar to the International Math Olympiad (IMO) “craze” in China since 1980s till today, where the parents send their primary school kids to drill in IMO boot- camps, because that is a “direct-entry” gateway to enter top university, bypassing the highly competitive “Gao-kao” 高考 (High-school College Entrance Exams for 500,000 places among 7 million students each year).
Quora: read how this middle-age (48) French recounts his “French Math” education since 6 to 15 years old:
The curriculum was designed in the late 60s in part by a group of real mathematicians, the Bourbaki. It was very abstract. I learned about basic set theory when I was 6. I did learn about the basic operators but not before I was able to perform…
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