Simplon.co : computing courses and social entrepreneurship

simplon

After « l’école 42″ of the french entrepreneur Xavier Niel founder of Free, another computing school is born under the name of Simplon.co. Based in Montreuil Seine Saint Denis, with a social angle, it aims to train people from discriminate neighbourhoods at computing developpment.

As an incubator, and a school, open to any one eager to become developer, Simplon.co proposes a free training from nine weeks to six month. The idea of creating this school comes from former students from Celsa (Paris) and Frederic Bardeau the school founder. The idea is importing the American model of accelerated training.

Simplon.co responds to a double challenge

First of all, this school responds to the lack of web developers in France and abroad. The web expansion in all economic sectors and the lack of developers has forced the US and other European countries to imagine new kinds of schools and teaching alternative to regular engineer schools.

Secondly, Frédéric Bardeau underlines that women and youngsters from modest background are under-represented in web development. It’s a very « masculine, white and from good families world » (Frédéric Bardeau – France info 3 février 2014) Simplon.co wants to restore the balance by favouring discriminated populations; The first 2013 class is composed of ten nationalities and 40% of women.

« All intelligences are equals »

The french teaching model is based on Mr. Jules Ferry‘s idea that the master only can teach student who remains in a very passive position. Simplon.co refuses this scheme and tries a model of another french philosopher and pedagogue : Mr. Joseph Jacotot. His idea was that student shall learn from each other by group works. The teaching is made by peers. Teaching at Simplon.co is 80% based on practical work. The teacher’s role is to
help and coordinate.

A social entrepreneurship model

With a capital of only 1000 euros the founders of this new web school have succeed convincing French leading actors like Orange and the Région Ile de France to become partners. Crowdfunding also unabled the launch of this participative project. Simplon.co wishes to favour principally discriminated population. There is no need to be graduated to enter the school and some students can also receive money from the school to help them achieve their projects. This social model seems to work pretty well, Simplon.co is about to open another school in another Paris suburb:  Villeneuve la Garenne.

Let’s hope that dispite a very french elitisim , this new schools will attract recruiters for the talent of its young developers.