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École 42 may be the answer

Wednesday, 11 October, 2017

At 8:42 every morning, students at École 42 on the Boulevard Bessières in Paris get their digital projects. They have 48 hours to complete them, so they are always under pressure, as in real life. École 42, takes its name from the “answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything” in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. The answer, by the way, is 42.

The school is the creation of Xavier Niel, a French billionaire who has so far spent about €48 million on the Paris campus and an additional $46 million on a twin school in Fremont, in San Francisco’s Bay Area. Niel made his fortune with Free, the second-largest internet service provider in France, and in 2013 he declared that the country’s education system was not working so he set out to fix the software engineering, coding and programming part of it.

Incidentally, no degrees or special skills are required to apply to attend École 42, and those who are accepted attend for free for three to five years. According to Niel, around 80 percent of students get jobs before they finish the course and 100 percent are employed by the end. Clearly, if it’s broke, Xavier Niel is the man to fix it.

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