It appeared to be the launch of a new computer programming school, based in Paris, codenamed "42" in reference to Douglas Adams books. The cursus is quite revolutonary in regards of the traditional French education system:
- the admission requires no prior background, only to pass the selection tests (and age limit from 18 to 30).
- the selection tests are in two phases: first tests are online. It will preselect 4000 candidates. The second tests need the people to come and be involved in actual intensive programming tasks (15 hrs / day) during one month in a dedicated room called "the pool". Out of this will 1000 student be selected.
- once admitted in the school, no tuition fee will be required nor any future contribution as a professional.
- the school will not deliver any diploma. Mr Niel argues that companies are hiring on skill and experience basis rather than on diploma (note: french HR are badly addicted to Diplomas)
Mr Niel blasted the traditionnal education systems saying it produces "standard engineers" that are not innovative and that existing private schools are too expensive and prevent real talents to emerge by selecting student over money. It also reject traditionnal education in favor of a 2.0 education, peer to peer and project centered education that are in line with today's connected society
The goal of this school is to train 1000 "genius" every year. The proclamed purpose is to help IT companies to find suitable people for innovation, helping in this way the country competitivness.
Mr Niel will be funding the school on its own money during 10 years by putting 50 M euros on the table. Hehopes that other IT companies will take over as he is conviced that "only private initiative" can bring this kind of renewal.
The school is due to open next fall and be equipped with brand new 27 inches iMacs.