Consanguineous, disconnected from the population, inegalitarian: the National School of Administration (ENA), a matrix of French elites that has given birth to many presidents and great bosses, will be closed by Emmanuel Macron as a guarantee of equal opportunities, such as as claimed by the "yellow vests".
"I think (…) must remove the ENA," said the French president, who is himself a former student, during a press conference Thursday at the Elysee.
"(No) not to give the pleasure of suppressing" this great school, but "to build something that works better," he added.
The ENA, often called Harvard French, has trained four of the last six heads of state (Emmanuel Macron, Francois Hollande, Jacques Chirac and Valéry Giscard d'Estaing) but also many ministers and leaders of large groups French.
True institution, however, it promotes the inter-sequent of a ruling class disconnected from the people, ensure its detractors, including many "yellow vests" who for more than five months, take to the streets to demand more social justice and tax.
According to a Harris Interactive-Epoka poll for LCI, 63% of French people support the creation of a new school of public services, more open to the current society.
"In the context of yellow vests, the ENA has become the symbol of the all-powerful oligarchy," said Luc Rouban, research director at the CNRS and Sciences Po. "But it's a bad trial," says the political scientist to AFP. "In fact, there is no enarchy because there are fewer and fewer enarchs in the government and the senior civil service."
On the other hand, a real trial can be made to this school on the fact that it "did not know how to answer to its original mission which was to diversify the elites of the high administration", recognizes Mr. Rouban.
The school was created in 1945 by General de Gaulle to precisely democratize the recruitment of senior officials, with the establishment of a single access contest.
– "A closed caste" –
The goal was to put an end to "a system of cooptation", recalls its director, Patrick Gérard. And with success, according to him: the current promotion "does not count any child of enarque, minister or parliamentarian" and a quarter of scholarship holders of education, he says in a tribune published by the newspaper Le Figaro .
"I grew up in the suburbs of Paris, I worked in rural France, I was unemployed, construction worker …", explains to AFP Alexandre Canesson, a student of ENA who comes from finish a work placement.
Anxious to open, the school moved to Strasbourg, to counter criticism of a Parisian ethnocentrism, and established a parallel competition open to young officials.
However, the student contest remains the main gateway. However, to succeed, "it is necessary to pass" by prestigious channels where the children of "the upper middle class have more opportunities," said Mr. Rouban. "There is no social mixing," he says.
"It is regrettable that only 19% of current students have a working parent, shopkeeper, employee, farmer, artisan or unemployed" and "it is still better to do," concedes Patrick Gerard.
Enarques form "a caste closed on itself, often guilty of arrogance, accuses Arthur Dehaene-Queffélec, also a former ENA." It is true that these evils are found in other sectors. This poses an even greater problem for civil servants who make decisions for the entire nation. This gives them a duty of understanding and empathy, "writes the economics professor in the daily Les Echos.
However, the French are very ungrateful in their criticism, said Jocelyn Caron, a former Quebecer of the ENA.
"The reality is that all countries have their elite sector and that money often plays a big role in their access," he says, recalling the ultra-dominance of the Oxford duo in the United Kingdom. -Cambridge or the United States of Ivy League (the eight most prestigious American universities, including Harvard) where studies cost about 40,000 euros per year.
Schooling at ENA is free and students are paid 1,682.28 euros per month.
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