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Old 26.01.2013, 16:46
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Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

The EPFL and ETHZ are restricting access to students coming from french schools. In 2014 a 16 / 20 mark in the bac will be required, which less than 7% achieve.

This represents a de facto exclusion - with a swiss maturité, there is no access limitation.

So if you are sending your kids to a french school...

Les écoles polytechniques envisagent de durcir leurs conditions d’accès. Si les bacheliers français devaient décrocher une mention bien (14/20) pour se présenter à l’EPFL, «nous travaillons sur un projet pour relever ce seuil à 16/20 (mention très bien) en 2014. Plusieurs commissions doivent encore avaliser cette décision», explique Jérôme Grosse. Pour justifier ce durcissement, le directeur de la communication à l’EPFL invoque la forte augmentation des étudiants en provenance de l’Hexagone ces dernières années. «Nous sommes passés de 15% d’élèves français en 2007/2008 à 25% en 2011/2012 dans l’ensemble des cycles bachelor et master. Il nous faut garder un équilibre dans nos effectifs et nous ne voulons attirer que les meilleurs éléments», explique le responsable.

«Si nous voulons avoir des étudiants français du même niveau que nos étudiants suisses, il faut choisir ceux qui ont entre 15 et 16 sur 20, et non 14, précise-t-il. Le bac est devenu la norme en France; nous sommes forcés de faire une sélection, puisqu’il n’y a pas d’examens d’entrée à l’EPFL.»

Du côté des écoles qui forment les bacheliers, c’est la déception. «16/20, c’est élitiste», remarque Emmanuel Coigny, principal de la section francophone au Collège du Léman à Versoix (GE). «Moins de 7% des étudiants y arrivent. Or plusieurs de nos élèves rêvent de poursuivre leurs études à l’EPFL. Ils sont inquiets, reconnaît le responsable. Les grandes écoles anglo-saxonnes valorisent, elles, de plus en plus les compétences sociales et relationnelles des élèves.»


http://m.letemps.ch/Page/Uuid/8c2c44...liers_français
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Old 26.01.2013, 18:40
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

I don't blame them. It really is/was an excellent deal, with fees of an absurdly low 800CHF per term. They could have raised the fees to make the hurdle financial instead of academic. No US/UK university of their quality is offering a deal remotely close to that. In France there are minimal fees, but the candidates have to spend two years of intense cramming (prepa) before entry into the elite universities ("grandes écoles"). And that's with a decent bac before entering the crammer. As far as I kow, the only equivalent deals left are the big Scandanavian universities, which do not have the status of ETHZ or EPFL. I'd be interested to know how it is in Germany.

Last edited by FrankZappa; 26.01.2013 at 18:41. Reason: Clarity improved
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Old 26.01.2013, 19:20
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

It seems a bit unfair if access restrictions are limited to French students. What happens with German students for example?
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Old 26.01.2013, 19:27
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

Ass they are French speaking schools, I imagine not so many German students apply. If you read the article it says that recently the number of French students reached 25%. Many of those are students who attend private schools in Geneva or nearby just to enter the Swiss system - as Frank explains because they don't have to do the 2 years of prepa (ratory schools before getting into one of the elite French unis) and because it is much cheaper. Those elite French 'Unis' and Business schools are very difficult to get in and cost an absolute fortune to attend. One of our daughters attended one of the Business Schools on her Erasmus year, and hated it... very competitive and cut throat (the French parents paid for her year, in exchange for their child to spend a year at a UK Uni!).

From Wiki: do read the whole article if interested ...

The grandes écoles (literally in French "higher schools") of France are higher education establishments outside the main framework of the French university system. The grandes écoles select students for admission based chiefly on national ranking in competitive written and oral exams. In contrast, French public universities have a legal obligation to accept all candidates of the region who hold a baccalauréat. Usually candidates for the national exams have completed two years of dedicated preparatory classes, although this is not always the case. The grandes écoles do not have large student bodies (5,000 at the largest establishment; most have a few hundred students each year). They have traditionally produced many if not most of France's high-ranking civil servants, politicians and executives, as well as many scientists, writers and philosophers.[citation needed] Some grandes écoles concentrate on a single subject area, such as engineering, sciences or business.
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Old 26.01.2013, 20:11
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

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The EPFL and ETHZ are restricting access to students coming from french schools.
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As they are French speaking schools, I imagine not so many German students apply.
I am not an expert, but isn't ETHZ at least somewhat German-speaking? Being that it is in Zürich? So I can see the argument for French to EPFL but not so much ETHZ if there are no similar restrictions there for German students. Or am I missing something?
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Old 26.01.2013, 20:19
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

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It seems a bit unfair if access restrictions are limited to French students. What happens with German students for example?
It does seem a bit unfair if a mathematically similar threshold is not established for students coming from Germany. However, I am a foreign student at ETHZ and even I have to acknowledge that the current situation that we pay so little tuition fees seems pretty unsustainable.

I am not very sure of the exact requirements, but I have the impression that it is not very difficult to start your Bachelors at ETH if you have a German Abitur. I would understand if they wanted to raise the bar so that only very good students were admitted. Even the policy of granting automatic admission to anyone holding a Swiss Matura is problematic, as the drop-out rate after the first year is very high (about 50%). That's a lot of wasted resources there.

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I am not an expert, but isn't ETHZ at least somewhat German-speaking? Being that it is in Zürich? So I can see the argument for French to EPFL but not so much ETHZ if there are no similar restrictions there for German students. Or am I missing something?
Most lectures at the Bachelors level at ETHZ are in German (at least the first two years), so at that level most students are German-speaking Swiss and Germans.
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Old 26.01.2013, 21:57
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

Most people seem to be missing the point here. Everyone gets a Bac in France these days, whereas there are still quotas in Switzerland. If a normal/good student gets into EFPL he'd get preferential treatment over Swiss students.

Last edited by simon_ch; 27.01.2013 at 12:09. Reason: spheling
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Old 27.01.2013, 00:34
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

Yes, but also because the Swiss system tends to penalize who doesn't pick up a non-academic career (as no capacities and no teachers for those, and the scrooge village's haeuptling prefers to do his studies at Fontainebleau, meanwhile the simple people should stay with handicraft stuff, please. Cheaper for the system, and in case of doubt Switzerland can still rely on immigrants, at minor costs. How convenient).
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Old 27.01.2013, 12:09
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

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Yes, but also because the Swiss system tends to penalize who doesn't pick up a non-academic career (as no capacities and no teachers for those, and the scrooge village's haeuptling prefers to do his studies at Fontainebleau, meanwhile the simple people should stay with handicraft stuff, please. Cheaper for the system, and in case of doubt Switzerland can still rely on immigrants, at minor costs. How convenient).
I think we've explained this a dozen times so no need to repeat it here: wrong.
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Old 27.01.2013, 12:21
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

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Yes, but also because the Swiss system tends to penalize who doesn't pick up a non-academic career (as no capacities and no teachers for those, and the scrooge village's haeuptling prefers to do his studies at Fontainebleau, meanwhile the simple people should stay with handicraft stuff, please. Cheaper for the system, and in case of doubt Switzerland can still rely on immigrants, at minor costs. How convenient).
Agree with Simon, wrong. However, it is true that CH give much better opportunities, value and respect to vocational apprenticeships - and that is a positive imho. The situation in France and the UK, where the great majority are expected to go on with formal education to 18 and for many, end up with qualifications not worth the paper it's written on, is not healthy.
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Old 27.01.2013, 13:52
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

Unfortunately, not wrong at all.

Again, I'm not against quality apprenticeships and all that stuff, but I'm against it if that means that many students (or potential students) in their academic career are hindered - and normally that's what happens at least in some fields. Lack of good teachers give the rest,

and the fact that you have some high-flyer unis on the top does not fill the gap between.

Many Ticinese families send their children to do te bac/maturità in Italy, not because it's easier, but because it's better.

In many fields Swiss German students are behind, too. Not because they would be stupid, but because for the system foreigners can be cheaper. Great.


And I don't care about other countries where investment in education is even lower than in Switzerland. The glass is half empty.
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Old 27.01.2013, 15:16
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

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Unfortunately, not wrong at all.

Again, I'm not against quality apprenticeships and all that stuff, but I'm against it if that means that many students (or potential students) in their academic career are hindered - and normally that's what happens at least in some fields. Lack of good teachers give the rest,

and the fact that you have some high-flyer unis on the top does not fill the gap between.

Many Ticinese families send their children to do te bac/maturità in Italy, not because it's easier, but because it's better.

In many fields Swiss German students are behind, too. Not because they would be stupid, but because for the system foreigners can be cheaper. Great.


And I don't care about other countries where investment in education is even lower than in Switzerland. The glass is half empty.
The following document shows that the percentage of people having a tertiary degree (college education) is significantly higher in Switzerland than in countries like Germany or Austria or Italy. For people between 25 to 34 it is actually more or less equal to the US:

[EDIT: please see below for the link]

The following document compares the number of students that finish college education in the OECD. Interestingly the percentage of men doing a tertiary degree seems to be higher in Switzerland than in Canada.

[EDIT: please see below for the link]

EDIT:
The links do not seem to work. The documents can be found here. The first one is A2 the second A3.
http://www.oecd.org/education/presch...indicators.htm

Last edited by Laertes; 27.01.2013 at 15:27.
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Old 28.01.2013, 23:24
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

Thanks for sharing the link.

The key of lecture of the thing is imho in its very first utterance:
"Across OECD countries, governments are having to work with shrinking public budgets while designing policies to make education more effective and responsive to growing demand".

So once standards are lowered, the shrinked data could match with the Swiss'.


It might not be only a Swiss problem, but what certain schools sell under the category of a bac, tertiary A, B ...


But if one could furnish a better link than that one of difficult lecture to me, I would be happy

and from now on I claimed


that foreign academic stuff in Switzerland is not over-representated,

that Swiss work labor is so good that employers do not prefer foreigners over locals,

that Switzerland does not need foreign educated teachers, as Swiss schools prepare them so well for their students,

that Swiss students can easily access colleges,

that all Swiss high schools do fullfil all legal requirements (by offering e.g. CH's main languages),

that foreign degrees are not considered above Swiss standards,

and that Schneider-Ammann did not do part of his studies in France.
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Old 29.01.2013, 04:06
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

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They could have raised the fees to make the hurdle financial instead of academic.
God, NO! I strongly believe that the smartest kids should be allowed to the best universities, not the ones with the richest parents. The problem is not that the fees are too low, or that there are too many French students. The problem is the quality of those students and that Swiss universities offer a loophole for not so smart French kids with rich parents... and that is wrong.

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I'd be interested to know how it is in Germany.
Sure: Germany gives education away basically for free - this includes not only German students but all EU states: you are free to move to Germany and study there for the same fees as locals. Some oversea students need to pay more, especially at private universities - but overall is university dead cheap. Naturally, you'd get the same issue: Too many students for a limited amount of seats.

Simple solution: Numerus Clausus - aka NC: each year do only the best students of all applicants get the seat purely based on overall score of high school diplomas. So you better have a decent Abitur/Bac/Matura. Some courses, most notably medicine, psychology and some niche subjects can have VERY high NCs - especially at the best universities. The problem with that system is that not necessarily the kid with the best grades is the best village doctor in the end... so you need to keep a possibility for others to join as well, if they really want to. So kids can sign up for a waiting spot and they get a factor reduced from their grades for every semester you wait - so basically could you study whatever you want if you are only patient enough till you get a space. In medicine do many of the average students for example signe up and while waiting go to nursing school or paramedic training. I personally believe this experience makes them better doctors as they do not look down on a nurse ever in their life again...
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Old 29.01.2013, 10:12
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

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God, NO! I strongly believe that the smartest kids should be allowed to the best universities, not the ones with the richest parents. The problem is not that the fees are too low, or that there are too many French students. The problem is the quality of those students and that Swiss universities offer a loophole for not so smart French kids with rich parents... and that is wrong.
While I agree with the underlying principle, in reality here on the main continent it is probably not that bad. In Western countries, most rich people on average have a higher intelligence than the less rich. Therefore, there is a larger chance that also the smarter kids come from the rich parents. From that point of view it is not necessarily a bad thing to increase low fees to a more moderate level. Education also costs money, and I value the balance that the rich support the system a little bit more.

The bad starts when smart poor kids are denied the chance to study. Therefore, I support any system that allows smart poor kids to study, even when fees are high.


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Sure: Germany gives education away basically for free - this includes not only German students but all EU states: you are free to move to Germany and study there for the same fees as locals. Some oversea students need to pay more, especially at private universities - but overall is university dead cheap. Naturally, you'd get the same issue: Too many students for a limited amount of seats.

Simple solution: Numerus Clausus - aka NC: each year do only the best students of all applicants get the seat purely based on overall score of high school diplomas. So you better have a decent Abitur/Bac/Matura. Some courses, most notably medicine, psychology and some niche subjects can have VERY high NCs - especially at the best universities. The problem with that system is that not necessarily the kid with the best grades is the best village doctor in the end... so you need to keep a possibility for others to join as well, if they really want to. So kids can sign up for a waiting spot and they get a factor reduced from their grades for every semester you wait - so basically could you study whatever you want if you are only patient enough till you get a space. In medicine do many of the average students for example signe up and while waiting go to nursing school or paramedic training. I personally believe this experience makes them better doctors as they do not look down on a nurse ever in their life again...
+1000

Been there. I started helping nurses taking care of disabled people and old people and old disabled people. I only did this for 8h/day, 5d/wk, for a couple of months. I have the highest respect for anyone taking care of others, in whatever role, especially when doing that for the rest of your workable life.

Numerus clausus is a way to limit the number of students to a study. For medicine, it is not a good nor a bad filter. It is just necessary to apply this limit because there are limited funds and medicine is an expensive and long study. I am absolutely not sure whether there is one filter that can pick the "best" or "most suitable" students to become doctors. Not only do we have an enormous variety of specialisms (derm, neuro, surg, radiolog, etc), but also there is a huge variety of expectations from the patients that they treat.

No, in my view, there is a lack of higher educated people in Switzerland, probably because the people here do not want to pay for such a higher education. I also feel that Swiss people value the "lower education" jobs more than in other countries. Therefore, there is also a less perceived "need" to have more University-educated people. It always depends on your reference. Coming from Mali, one could say that Switzerland has the highest density of MDs relative to the population in the world. Some Swiss people complain that there are not enough MDs in Switzerland. Both are probably right.
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Old 29.01.2013, 14:56
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

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While I agree with the underlying principle, in reality here on the main continent it is probably not that bad. In Western countries, most rich people on average have a higher intelligence than the less rich. Therefore, there is a larger chance that also the smarter kids come from the rich parents.
...
Boy, finally I know why I often feel so stupid ...


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I think we've explained this a dozen times so no need to repeat it here ...
...
Go easy on folks like me, please. For a retarded like me it's difficult to follow those bright utterances from advanced persons like yours. After all, I've done my studies in Switzerland only, so please be patient and have a heart with the humble
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Old 29.01.2013, 15:18
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

In Western countries, most rich people on average have a higher intelligence than the less rich. Therefore, there is a larger chance that also the smarter kids come from the rich parents.

What an incredibly flippant statement! Yes, children of richer parents may well be much better educated, as in private schools, smaller classes, prep, etc, but that does not make them more intelligent, and certainly not more motivated, overall. Genetics do play a part too- but still, your statement is very offensive.

Last edited by Odile; 29.01.2013 at 16:38.
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Old 29.01.2013, 16:11
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

Actually this makes more sense:

In all countries, most rich people on average have a higher greed than the less rich. Therefore, there is a larger chance that also the spoiled brats come from the rich parents.
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Old 29.01.2013, 16:40
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

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I don't blame them. It really is/was an excellent deal, with fees of an absurdly low 800CHF per term. They could have raised the fees to make the hurdle financial instead of academic. No US/UK university of their quality is offering a deal remotely close to that. In France there are minimal fees, but the candidates have to spend two years of intense cramming (prepa) before entry into the elite universities ("grandes écoles"). And that's with a decent bac before entering the crammer. As far as I kow, the only equivalent deals left are the big Scandanavian universities, which do not have the status of ETHZ or EPFL. I'd be interested to know how it is in Germany.
The bit about UK universities is so true.

Tuition fees have recently DOUBLED- I would end up paying 20,000 per year for my forensic chemistry degree. So I left and came here with my bf.

We'll probably settle down in Switzerland, although he has his sights on America.
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Old 29.01.2013, 19:30
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Re: Swiss Universities restricting access to students from France

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God, NO! I strongly believe that the smartest kids should be allowed to the best universities, not the ones with the richest parents. The problem is not that the fees are too low, or that there are too many French students. The problem is the quality of those students and that Swiss universities offer a loophole for not so smart French kids with rich parents... and that is wrong.
In case it wasn't clear, I am not in favor of higher fees.

I do not get your analysis of the problem.
1) The existing standard of 14/20 in a scientific bac is not "not-so-smart". The new standard of 16/20 is extremely good.
2) Neither do I see the relevance of rich parents. My son is at University in Grenoble. The difference in costs between that & Lausanne is not so great for me (I am talking spoilt brats here, Grenoble COULD be cheaper, but it isn't).
3) Remember that half the Swiss pupils fail their first year exams at EPFL. This is scarcely better than the French University system (i.e. not "Grandes Ecoles", where the dropout rate is very low). A naive analysis of that statistic suggests that the French kids are not depriving many successful Swiss.

PS I have to share a related story. ZappaJr also thought of doing his 3rd year in Edinburgh. The fee structure then was: Scottish & European students: free; English students: £4,000/year .
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