A free, teacher-less university in France is schooling thousands of future-proof programmers

Jenny Anderson, Quartz, Sept 08, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

You might think there's a lot I like about this tuition-free school, where the curriculum consists of nothing more than projects given go students (at 8L:42 a.m.; they get 48 hours to complete them). The students manage everything else, up to and including the design of the elevator ("hip-hop blaring from the speakers and blue and green lights piercing the darkness") to grading to the food truck out back. It does work (100% of the students get jobs) but it's easy to be successful when you're very selective (1,000 of 64K applicants) and when the students have independent income ("three years is a long time to forego a salary, even if students get internships along the way"). I also don't agree that "the ultimate gauge of success, of course, is jobs." The ultimate gauge is more like satisfaction in life. This article doesn't report on that. Still, "for thousands of young people who have limited options, School 42 offers a wealth of opportunity: an education, a community, and real-life skills that are in high demand among employers." That's not nothing.

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