In France, where universities are derided as “unemployment factories,” Xavier Niel has started a computer academy, reports the New York Times. Would-be programmers, who pay no tuition and will earn no degree, have to be smart. They don’t have to be high school graduates.
The school breaks with the often-rigid methods and philosophy of the government-run education system wherever it can, and Mr. Niel believes it will produce graduates who are more innovative, more employable, more diverse and more useful to the stagnant French economy as a result.
. . . Despite a national jobless rate of nearly 11 percent, as many as 60,000 computer coding jobs are thought to be vacant in France, the government says, for lack of qualified candidates.
A telecom billionaire, Niel completed high school but not college, reports the Times.
Via Edububble, who also links to another Times‘ story on Europe’s overeducated, underemployed young people. Youth unemployment rates for those 24 and younger are 56 percent in Spain, 57 percent in Greece, 40 percent in Italy, 37 percent in Portugal and 28 percent in Ireland, reports the Times. The story starts in Madrid.
Alba Méndez, a 24-year-old with a master’s degree in sociology, sprang out of bed nervously one recent morning, carefully put on makeup and styled her hair. Her thin hands trembled as she clutched her résumé on her way out of the tiny room where a friend allows her to stay rent free.
She had an interview that day for a job at a supermarket.
Méndez has worked without pay for a sandwich chain and a luxury hotel. Unpaid internships are common.
“To gain experience, she was making plans to form a cooperative to study social issues like gender equality and sell reports to public institutions,” reports the Times. (Good luck with that.)
In the supermarket interview, she learned most other applicants also had high-level university degrees. Méndez was offered a temporary job stocking grocery shelves and running a cash register. The monthly salary of €800 (about $1,080) is just enough to avoid moving back home with her parents.
“Be careful what you wish for,” advises Edububble. “Sure it would be nice if education cost less and there was little or no student debt, but then there would be even more smarty pants with nothing to do.”