Applying the Capability Approach to the French Education System: An Assessment of the "Pourquoi pas moi ?"
This paper attempts to re-examine the notion of equality, going beyond the classic opposition in France between affirmative action and meritocratic equality. Hence, we propose shifting the French debate about equality of opportunities in education to the question of how to raise equality of capability. In this paper we propose an assessment based on the capability approach of a mentoring programme called 'Une grande école: pourquoi pas moi?' ('A top-level university: why not me?' (PQPM) launched in 2002 by a top French business school. The assessment of PQPM is based on the pairing of longitudinal data available for 324 PQPM students with national data. Results show that the 'adaptive preferences' of the PQPM students change through a process of empowerment. Students adopt new 'elitist' curricula but feel free to follow alternative paths.
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