How Parcoursup launched college alternative in 5 years

On September 16, the fifth Parcoursup campaign will end. Since its inception in 2018, the platform has established itself in the school and university landscape, but it still draws criticism. For candidates and their parents, it remains as difficult as it is for high school teachers to find only one of two students with the same academic profile in the desired training.

Former higher education minister Frédérique Vidal held firm for five years, defending the reform tooth and nail. In the spring of 2018, his firm developed this platform, where nearly 640,000 high school students and 200,000 redirect students posted their applications in less than six months.

During the presidential election campaign in the spring of 2022, Parcoursup was held up as a scarecrow by all the left-wing candidates who demanded his elimination. No one has said what to replace it with.

Also read: The article is reserved for our subscribers According to a report from our public services team, Parcoursup “changed everything without fixing anything.”

The tone is changing for this second term of Emmanuel Macron in the government ranks. “Parcoursup will stay, but Parcoursup can be improved”, Now the new Minister of Education is shouting. Pap Ndiaye promises improvements in 2023, “especially in matters of transparency and governance”. The commitment is the same for her higher education colleague Sylvie Retailleau. Will it be one of those five-year cycles? It can open multiple folders on the desktop.

An unnamed option

The creation of Parcoursup is part of it “a certain political sequence”, recalls Leïla Frouillou, a lecturer at the University of Paris-Nanter and an expert on segregation at the university. In 2017, the previous platform, Admission post bac (APB) was richer than ever with 110 licenses. “in tension” – twice as many as in 2016 – had to draw lots to decide between more than 35,000 candidates. “This glut provided the political opportunity to move to a platform that aggregates choice across school records.”the researcher notes.

Quietly, Parcoursup established an option at the entrance of the university, without the minister Frédérique Vidal ever having held this position. In his eyes, it is only about promoting the success of students who have chosen their path from high school. Will the numbers prove him right? According to the record of the statistical service of the Ministry of Higher Education, published in November 2021, in the 2020 session, success in the first year of the license was higher than in previous years: in 2019, 53.5% of bachelors entered the second year. At the beginning of the 2020 academic year, that is, 8 points more than the 2018 undergraduates. The results are partial “health crisis context” and to the greatest favor of the judges, whose tendency is still being confirmed.

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