These big prepas did not fill up. Victims of Parcoursup?

These big prepas did not fill up. Victims of Parcoursup?

Mourad Kchouk is "somewhat affected". The deputy headmaster of the Lycée Janson-de-Sailly, in charge of preparatory classes for the grandes écoles (CPGE), positively positively – "with 23,173 wishes expressed, Janson was this year the most requested institution in France" – he owes everything likewise recognize the "incomprehensible", the "weird", the "inexplicable".

While the normal phase of Parcoursup ended on September 5, two of its prepas, the hypokhâgne and the bio Sup – "yet the best in its category" – display abnormally high filling rates
low at the beginning of the year. To the point that "Le Figaro", not without humor, has included the school among the "good plans for back", these unhappy institutions that to fill their classes must recover the shipwrecked superior.

Janson, a victim of Parcoursup, is quite unexpected. The classy old lady of the 16th arrondissement, proud of her history, her excellence and her reputation, has never made the forcing to fulfill her prepas, preferring "quality to quantity", but she never known from classes to 33 students (for a capacity of 48) as this year among literary people.

Same punishment for Carnot, Paul-Valéry, Jules-Ferry, Victor-Duruy or Claude-Monet high schools, where several classes have vacancy rates between 15 and 30%. Statistics that are usually found in the popular suburban high schools with very local recruitment (Saint-Ouen, Nanterre, Mantes-la-Jolie …) or the "small" high schools of province. But never, ever great, in intramural Paris, or in Hoche and Marcelin-Berthelot, the two elite establishments of the Academies of Versailles and Creteil, struck also by the strange epidemic.

And these statistics are all the more surprising that last spring the government announced a sharp increase – + 11.7% – in the number of high school students applying for prep.

Paris does not seduce anymore

Opponents of Parcoursup are making their mark on these results. For Snes or SnesSup, the two majority unions among secondary and higher education teachers, they would demonstrate the harmfulness of the platform which, with its waiting lists "anxiogenic" and
"humiliating", would have managed the feat of discouraging very good elements. The selective principle contained in Parcoursup (all courses must now classify candidates according to their merit) would thus turn against the most selective institutions according to the metaphor of
the sprinkler watered.

A meticulous look, however, brings nuance to the line. Claire Guéville the national secretary of Snes in charge of high schools speaks of a "massive decline in enrollment" – "A fall as it endangers certain formations, especially in suburban institutions or small towns, which recruit students a little more fragile. "

But his colleague Thierry Ananou, head of the case in Paris is more measured:

"There have always been vacant places in these prepas said proximity If the 2018 vintage detonates, it is primarily because these vacancies are where they were not expected.

This drop in enrollment, in this case, seems to initially affect literary and commercial prepas – "a third of our classes are experiencing significant downsizing," said Alain Joyeux, the president of the Association of Teachers of HEC prepas (APHEC). And, especially, it is found in an accentuated way in Paris, more concentration of prepas in France. "The great high schools of the province – Fermat in Toulouse, Montaigne in Bordeaux or Le Parc in Lyon – filled up while several Parisian establishments of the same level meet difficulties," says Stéphane Coviaux, the president of the Association of Teachers of first and higher letters (APPLS).

The statistics of the rectorate of Paris, which "Obs" was able to consult exclusively, confirm this impression. In this new year 2018, there remain 185 places not allocated in commercial prep, 168 in prep literary and 239 in prep scientific in the capital, against respectively 88, 108 and 193 last year. An unexplained disappearance of 200 students in one year, all prepas confused.

In maths sup, these vacant places are found mostly in establishments with few sides. But in the economic and literary prepas, the phenomenon is much broader. Certainly the quarteron of (very) big prepas of the Latin Quarter does not know the crisis. But
high schools like Carnot in commercial prep or Paul-Valery in hypokhâgne are forced to retape on the internet to fill last minute classes quite deplorable.

The high schools have seen themselves too beautiful

How to explain this Parisian specificity? First there is a technical problem. For the sake of openness, high school students could apply this year to all the prepas of the same academy, the choice "hypokhâgne" or "maths sup in Paris" counting for only one wish out of the ten authorized by Parcoursup. This so-called "multiple wish" procedure has resulted in … artificially increasing demands in Paris without multiplying the number of candidates.

Prudence would have wanted the schools to adapt to this new situation. But Janson, followed by other prepas, has not changed his way of doing things, says his assistant headmaster Mourad Kchouk. Clearly, far from classifying all the files received, or even generating longer waiting lists, the school ranked only a small number of candidates – 700 for 1,500 wishes in letters for example – considering that It was useless to "raise false hopes" among the less brilliant high school students.

Until now this Malthusian policy was without consequences. But this year, the list proved to be too short and has been exhausted, with no possibility of recalling new candidates. "We realize that with multiple wishes, high school students have submitted to our prepas without really wanting it," admitted, disappointed, Mr. Kchouk.

"We considered ourselves rightly as a first choice, but, in the minds of high school students, as regrettable as it is, the old representations continue to prevail, and we are obliged to note that the high schools of the mountain Sainte-Geneviève still have an aura we do not have. "

Parcoursup's lesson is a little painful to accept. But the message has passed: Janson, next year, will have all the data in hand to lengthen his lists and not to find Grosjean as before in the middle of the summer.

The best high school students bad comrades

This technical lapping done, it is not said however that the problem is automatically solved. Many principals wonder if the very operation of Parcoursup is not at the origin of their misfortunes. Because the new platform has totally changed logic compared to APB, the system that pre-existed. "The students have taken over, they are the ones who have the last word," said Laurent Hugot, head of the Academic Service Information and Guidance (CSAIO), who advises the rector of Paris Gilles Pécout on these issues.

Instead of prioritizing their wishes in February and waiting for the algorithm to automatically assign them a place (the best files having the best chance of obtaining their first wish), they are now making massive demands (up to 28 with multiple wishes!), And opt for one of these courses based on the answers ("yes", "no" or "pending") that arrive between May 22nd and September 5th.

In the best of all worlds – and in the department's projections! – High school students should have decided quickly. And, as of July 14, students as heads of school could have gone on vacation with a light spirit, as was the case with APB. Alas, the scenario was different. End of July,
only 50% of prepas had their full complement. Many bachelors have indeed refused to answer with a definitive yes to the proposals made to them, hoping to get – with patience – an assignment in the preparation of their dream.

Others who found training outside Parcoursup did not opt ​​out, as provided by law. Finally, in Paris, where prepas are very numerous and sometimes of similar level, some graduates "had fun" to keep all their wishes to the end – even if they had already made their choice – to know how many formations they would manage to "pick up".

Conclusion: the waiting lists could not be reduced. And high school students, for lack of a positive response in mid-July, preferred to give up. Alain Joyeux, the boss of the APHEC, also history-geo teacher at the Joffre high school in Montpellier, regrets:

"I had six young dropouts who, given their rankings, had every chance of winning a place in our preparation with a little patience."

"For young people of popular category – those who have the most tendency to self-censor – and the provincials who hoped to join Paris, we can strongly assume that the wait was dissuasive," continues Stéphane
Coviaux, his colleague of the literary prepas.

"You do not decide to leave your family and find an apartment in the capital in the middle of August."

Unless the prepas no longer appeal

Finally, there is one last unexplored hypothesis: that of a decrease in the general attractiveness of the prepas classes, to be related to the arrival of the generation of millennials in the superior. For
Heads of schools and teachers of prepas, the question is taboo. But Laurent Hugot, the head of the Paris SAIO, sees it bluntly: "With APB, high school students had to prioritize their choices as early as February, which could lead him to make a choice of reason, under the influence of families.
There, they can arbitrate between several options, weigh them, have moods … "

"If the prepas offer only sweat, blood and tears, how do you expect them to be tempted to move towards sectors that put more emphasis on their fulfillment?"

Frédéric Mion: "Sciences-Po wants to break the monochrome of Paris"

It should be noted that the Multidisciplinary Graduate Studies Cycle, an alternative to the prep school created by the Paris Science and Letters University (PSL) to promote tenit, "innovation, reflexivity and creativity of students" has seen his candidatures explode (3,500 more candidates,
an increase of 73%) and almost completed its recruitment on July 21st. "A rather exceptional result," said his com service, "because at the same date many prepas were only 50% fulfilled" …

The crisis of prepas revealed by Parcoursup? It is a little too early to say. To prevent high school students from asking too many questions, unions and teacher associations in CPGE militate in any case for the procedure to be completed much earlier, from the end of July.

For schools, the tightening of the calendar is both a pedagogical challenge – "the return to prep, it gets ready", summarizes Alain Joyeux – and the promise of a summer 2019 less tumultuous. "Parcoursup has often been as stressful for the principals as for the bachelors", smiles Laurent Hugot:

"When you only have 70% or 80% of yes, shut down the last week of August, you have to admit that there is something to stress."

Finally, an earlier end of the main phase would make it possible to rescue unfortunate high school students and deal with vacancies before the start of the school year. Because, if the complementary phase officially runs until September 21, the situation in the prepas seems indeed frozen. At Paul-Valéry, only one high school student answered the call for applications published on the high school website. And in Janson, Mourad Kchouk did not take any late.

"We refuse to give in to the demagoguery The rectorate sends us files with averages of 10 in maths while we recruit at least 17. What is the meaning of taking these young people to put them on the ground and ruin them?"

The deputy headmaster concedes, however, that it will be necessary to "react" and move "marginally" the recruitment criteria.

"We need to diversify our approach, we have certainly refused files that could have returned without jeopardizing our project of excellence".

Parcoursup, year 1 of contrition?

Gurvan Le Guellec

Gurvan Le Guellec

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