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The most difficult school in France is the Teachers College

  In France, there is such a school. Even Macron, who was born in a famous French high school and later became the president, did not get admitted that year, and he failed the list twice. This school is a normal school – the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris.
  Macron once recalled his school days: ” The door of the Paris Normal University has been closed to me, so I turned to the University of Paris X to study, and finally came to the Sciences Po by accident.” The school in the district of Ulm Road, which emphasizes both liberal arts and sciences, is now among the most prestigious educational institutions in Europe. It selects talents through the most competitive examinations in the country. It only admits more than 200 freshmen every year, and the total number of students on campus is less than 2,000. Therefore, it is regarded as the most “small” famous university in the world.
  In China, when you hear the name of “Normal College”, you will feel that there is a high probability that it is a secondary college. But in France, such schools are also called “grand schools”, which can be regarded as the absolute top of the French higher education system. “Normal students” is a title that will make the listeners awe.
  It is not so easy to get admitted to a French normal school. The entry requirements for a general comprehensive research university require students to go through three years of high school study and pass the senior high school graduation examination. A group of students with the best academic performance often need to take two years of preparatory courses on the basis of three years of high school study in order to obtain the qualifications for the entrance examination of the Higher Normal College. These two years of preparatory classes have taught the content of the first and second grades of the university. The curriculum is very compact, with up to 50 hours of class hours per week.
  As the oldest of the École Normale Supérieures in the world, École Normale Supérieure can trace its history back to the French Revolution. For more than 200 years, École Normale Supérieure has trained countless outstanding teachers for France, hundreds of academicians of the French Academy, 11 Fields Medal (Nobel Prize in mathematics) winners, and 13 Nobel Prize winners. If the universities in the world are ranked according to the proportion of winning the Nobel Prize, the Paris Normal University ranks first in the world, and it can be called the first cradle of the Nobel Prize.
  Those who have experienced “thousands of troops crossing the single-plank bridge” have their dreams come true, and when they are finally able to step into this ancient campus shaded by greenery, they will be greeted by another period of hard and fulfilling study that lasts for four years. They need to earn a bachelor’s degree at the end of their freshman year and a master’s degree at the end of their senior year.
  Just like domestic public-funded normal students, most of the students in Paris Normal University have signed contracts with the state when they enroll and become “intern civil servants”. Not only are university tuition free, but the state will also give them subsidies. As a condition, they are required to serve at least six years in public institutions of the state in schools or other government agencies after graduation.
  Unlike domestic public-funded normal students who can be exempted from examinations to qualify as primary and secondary school teachers, public-funded normal students in Paris Normal School must take the first-level teacher qualification examination before graduation. Failure to pass this exam means that they cannot officially become a civil servant, in which case the student needs to repay all the subsidies previously enjoyed to the state. The first-level teacher qualification exam is very difficult and competitive: candidates need to go through a written test lasting about seven hours, and prepare a second-year professionally difficult course at the oral stage.
  Passing the teacher qualification examination is not enough. Normal students also need to go to a high school or junior high school designated by the state for a one-year teaching practice. Only when this internship performance is recognized by the national education inspection can this normal student truly become a glorious people’s teacher.
  As its name suggests, the main mission of École Normale Supérieure is “to train citizens who have been trained in practical knowledge to learn the art of teaching under the guidance of the most competent professors in all fields”. Most of the students who graduate from the Paris Normal University will choose to be a teacher. That is to say, in France, the top schools train people’s teachers.
  The well-known existential philosophers Sartre and Beauvoir are normal students of the Paris Normal University. They met while preparing for the Teacher Licensing Examination, placed first and second in the exam, and then taught at different high schools. In addition, former French President Pompidou, writer Romain Rolland, etc., also graduated from the Paris Normal University. The “legend” created by this small normal college may be the result of the unique French education system.

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