Educ@tion Show

Another year, another show.

As usual, we end up doing stuff the hard way : improvising. It’s always done with humor and without pression, though.

Here’s the set : in one hall, we have education “technologies”, with Apple, Microsoft, Autocad, etc… In another hall, we have the available schools, ministries and various formations (on two floors). For once, I’m not working on the Apple booths, just the french ministry and various regional groups. Believe it or not, the institutionnal feeling is less present, and we have a larger artistic licence in our work. The objective for the team is 3 words : “Make it work.”

For some reason, this show is usually immensely popular. When I was a student, I’ve never set foot in it, but you can actually see groups of youngsters (sometimes with their teachers) coming in, and roaming the floors.

Once, someone explained to me that it was some kind of “cursus fair”. You know what you want to do, but not in which school, so you come there to see the offers. As a result, most private schools have a booth, with students giving out flyers and explaining how good this or that school feels.

If you don’t even know what to do, you can go to the ministry’s booth (and satellites) to learn how many years it can take, what kind of degree you can get, and what public schools and universities do (although it’s a small booth if you want to represent all the thousands of public universities available — I guess the message is “they are all the same”).

If you have special needs (hearing or sight problems, physical disabilities and so on), you can also learn about the laws and stuff, and maybe find an association, or a public group that can help you go through the cursus you’ve chosen for yourself.

There are some booths related to career, but they are very scarce. I have yet to see this year’s enactment, but I doubt it will be much different from last year’s. And quite frankly, I didn’t see the point.

When I was a student, I kinda knew which way I wanted to go, although it’s true I didn’t have any specific plan or path. I just knew I wanted to go to the university and specialize as little as possible. After all, it’s a luxury to learn varied stuff, and while we’re at it, it’s a good thing to try anything remotely interesting. By asking and talking, I managed to learn about topics as different as languages and pure math.

If someone had managed at the time to get me in these halls, I would have been lost.

People who know exactly what they want to do come here only to meet with the people who already do it. It’s a kind of confirmation. But it seems like an awful lot of trouble just to get that done.

People who know the branch but not the path face dozens of tiny booths, each trying to attract the brightest students to them. If you see a cute couple saying they have a lot of fun in their school, and talking about how great the oustide-school activities are, it doesn’t mean anything regarding your own experience and future. And there’s so many of them!

People who just wander because they don’t know anything about their future are going to get a whole lot of stuff, but do you have time to find your vocation in a 2h stroll when you’ve never found that out in 10 years of primary cycle?

There are some cool machines and technologies on display, ranging from automated riveting machines to virtual architectural software. That, I can relate to : a teacher, student or professional can look at it and see its value… Is it relevant for the rest of us? Anyhow, I can accept it as a professional show, like any other.
I think it’s a weird show. It feels like it’s something useless. I guess it is to put some visibility on obscure or not-so-well-known schools and formations, but I wonder if it really is something that students look forward to. I know I don’t. But thousands upon thousands of people seem to do.

  

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