Top French university scraps entrance exam to widen intake

Paris (AFP) –


Top French university Sciences Po is to scrap its famous entrance exam in a bid to attract students from lower income backgrounds, it said Tuesday.

From September 2021, applicants will instead sit a distance interview, after an initial selection based on their schoolwork, exam results and motivation.

Foreign students and students from priority education areas -- who make up just over half of applicants -- are already exempt from the exam.

The Paris Institute of Political Studies, or 'Sciences Po', is an elite university which counts French President Emmanuel Macron and women's rights icon Simone Veil among its alumni.

"We want to create a clearer, fairer and more efficient system to ensure we attract a more diverse range of profiles," the school's director Frederic Mion told AFP.

Prestigious institutions such as Britain's Oxford and Cambridge have pumped up efforts to recruit students from more diverse social and ethnic backgrounds in recent years amid accusations of elitism.