Paris has a school without teachers, syllabi and fees Xavier Niel, a French telecom billionaire is the man behind this school. He learned to code at the age of 16 from Sinclair ZX81 and later on started to work for Minitel phone connected monitors.
He started this school known as Ecolè 42 three years back in North Paris. Neil invested $100 millions from his own capital. He believed that education system was an utter chaos and it needed implementation. It is the only based merit coding school with no teachers, syllabi, fees, no entrance exam in the entire world. Anyone between the age of 18 to 30 can apply for his school.
Students here are made to study in team groups and are supposed to learn ‘C’ code untill the end of the month. They work on the same projects and mark each other’s work. The idea behind studying is a group is peer to peer interaction and self motivation. This also helps them to find solutions themselves and not to take hold of the supervisor always bringing about more creative and ingenious ideas and hence become passive recipients of knowledge.
Later students are told to build games like Tetris and Sudoku and then accomplish with their potential and pace. Students working here are also provided with accommodation in Niel that has 900 buildings. It’s open 24 hours.
It did so well that Niel launched its another branch ‘42’ in Fermont, California in the Autumn of 2016 near the headquarters of Facebook and Google. It plans to educate 10,000 students with coding in Silicon valley, California. The name ‘42’ is taken from the answer to the meaning of life from the science fictional series The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Galaxy. It’s not prior to degrees and admissions are done only on merit. “ Every year there are 80,000 applicants who are made to play an online game. Only 25,000 finishes it till the end” Niel explains.
The rush hour is 2 or 3 AM. They have to work 15 hours daily comprising to 450 hours per month. It may seem like a blind leading in a blind but it’s not so. The students work in peer group but then the projects are also checked by Niel. It is more difficult to secure a place in ‘42’ than in Harvard University with a gruelling one month process called ‘La Piscine’ which means The Swimming Pool. The applicants are provided with a relentless parade of nearly impossible puzzles and conundrums and only 1,000 applicants make it to the end. Recent graduates from this school are working in companies like IBM, Amazon, Tesla and many are even starting their own firms.