Research work led within the framework of an extra curricular project
Klara Kovesi, associate professor in the Human and Social Sciences Department at ENSTA Bretagne, initiated this extra-curricula project. As part of the FAP team (Formation et Apprentissage Professionnels or Professional Apprenticeship and Training) and within the framework of the European project A-STEP 2030, she studies careers in engineering and its teaching.
"We received this proposal to work on the attraction of French engineering schools through our ENSTA Bretagne BEST association. Personally, I had already asked myself this question and wanted to explore. So I quickly expressed my interest in this subject." Explained Romain who is in his 2nd year of engineer training.
In France, engineering school places are very sought after by students and have an excellent reputation. However, the same cannot be said for every European country.
"To understand the reasons for this attraction, we began by checking what research had already been carried out on this subject. As there was very little, we carried out interviews of 18 students from 3 French engineering schools: ENSTA Bretagne, ENSTA Paris and INP Grenoble. All 3 are part of the BEST Network which made contact easier" said Maryse.
The students interviewed had different profiles: co-operative students, students who had prepared for the competitive entrance examinations, students selected for their academic record, international students etc.
Work presented during an international congress
When reading these interviews, certain things in common became apparent : first and foremost, prestige was directly associated with French engineering, and also the good employment record or network after finishing school. Several also stated the close guidance of the training framework: the best students in science are naturally guided towards engineering schools.
On 17 September in Budapest, Romain and Maryse presented the work that they led together with Klara Kovesi, to an assembly of 400 people, followed by a day of discussions with researchers on their poster.
"This is a unique experience. We are rather nervous about presenting our work in English in front of so many people, but we are proud to be able to discuss it with researchers who have come from all over Europe".
For Maryse and Romain, this research has been a true discovery of the world of research, and an opening which has enabled them to imagine the possible continuation of their studies in the form of a thesis.
* BEST (Board of European Students of Technology) is a European association in 33 European countries.It proposes a number of meetings (seminars, competitions etc) the principle being multiculturalism. It aims to make engineering students internationally aware.