Since its launch in 2018, Parcoursup has sparked its share of debates in France, every spring, at a time when high school students are being forced to choose their post-graduate orientation. In the midst of the legislative campaign, the left is even going so far as to demand its abolition. How do other European countries organize to lead their high school students? Response in Germany and Italy.
In Germany, a choice from primary school
To enter a university in Germany, you must have an access diploma, that isAbitur, the equivalent of a French high school diploma. However, there is no post-graduate platform similar to Parcoursup. Some very popular courses such as medicine, pharmacy, psychology or law are subject to the numerus clausus. The selection is then based on the results obtained in high school.
If the choice at post-baccalaureate level is clearly small, it is because in Germany the choice is made long before the university, at the end of primary school. Unlike France, which offers a single university, children between the ages of 10 and 11 are directed to different types of facilities. With a path that is always considered the path of perfection: grammar school, or general high school, which corresponds to our combined high schools and universities. About half of young people are preparingAbiturwhich provides access to universities, or a bachelor’s degree which provides access to the equivalent of our IUTs.
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For others, they exist Real schoolwhich end around the 16th or 17th year of life, resp Hauptschulen / Werkschulen which lasts five years, up to 15-16 years, with a much easier level of theoretical education. Thus, the grammar school prepares for university, while other young people are oriented towards short courses and, above all, apprenticeships.
In Germany, apprenticeships are often seen as a security, a guarantee of employment and also a way forward: half of German executives come from apprenticeships, compared to a third of university executives. There is a form of apprenticeship promotion in the country, although as in France, university entry is always associated with the concept of prestige. Finally, note: there are no Grandes Ecoles in Germany.
In Italy, the rate of false choice
After five years of high school, the 540,000 high school graduates, the Italian high school graduates, will be able to choose peacefully as soon as they have a card in their pocket: they are guaranteed a place. at one of the 80 universities in the country.
On the other hand, as in Germany, there are exceptions and numerus clausus in certain sectors, such as medicine, architecture or engineering. Students must pass an entrance exam. There may also be skills tests for more professional training, such as the IUT or Beaux-Arts equivalent. In recent years, reforms have also added mandatory upgrades before admission to some university courses.
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The success rate of Italian high school graduates last year reached record levels: 99.8% passed the famous high school diploma exam, which excels the Italian high school graduates. However, the statistics are misleading: the level of Italian study is among the lowest in Europe, well below average. Less than one in three young people between the ages of 25 and 34 has a career with a degree. Many simply do not reach university: 2 million of them are currently “out of the system”, without training or employment.
The transition from high school to university has been discussed in the country for years. The Ministry of Education has decided to invest in the guidance of secondary school students through a European recovery plan paid to Italy. An amount of EUR 250 million will be donated to support one million students. Two and a half billion are set on the table against early school leaving, especially in the southern Boot regions.
According to this plan, the country would also move towards an Italian-style Parcoursup system: the Ministry of Education announced the creation of a single orientation platform for all Italian pupils by the end of the year.