Access to higher education is not always simple when you are unsure of the prospects. To familiarize middle and high school students with the different fields and professions of engineering, Telecom SudParis in continuing its involvement in “Les Cordées de la Réussite”, a national scheme created in 2008 as part of the “Espoir Banlieue” interministerial initiative that aims to help support young people from disadvantaged neighborhoods. Telecom SudParis carries out multiple actions for pupils in the city of Evry-Courcouronnes and schools in the Versailles circumscription. This inspiring program promotes greater equity and social diversity in higher education.
Aims of Les Cordées de la Réussite
Fighting self-censorship and getting students interested in higher education: this is made possible from 8th grade thanks to Les Cordées de la Réussite. To achieve its objective, the scheme builds on multiple partnerships between "Têtes de Cordée" (higher education institutions or high schools with preparatory classes (CPGE) and technical higher education classes (STS)) and other establishments such as middle and high schools, called “Encordés”. This networking between institutions builds dynamic connections between schools, higher education institutions and the world of work.
Les Cordées de la Réussite partnerships also support middle and high school pupils in priority areas or neighborhoods to open their perspectives to all fields of possibility. The main aim is to promote greater social equity in access to high-level courses. Middle and high school pupils prepare for their future and plan their higher education studies and professional integration through tutoring and cultural openness activities (visits, conferences, travel, etc.) organized by volunteer students from higher education institutions. These exchanges encourage middle and high school pupils to step outside of their usual environment and invite them to discover studies and career paths they may not have considered.
Actions by Telecom SudParis
To overcome social inequalities, our school, Telecom SudParis, obtained “Les Cordées de la Réussite” certification in 2011. However, the certification process did not prevent the school from taking its own initiatives back in the early 2000s through a partnership with Collège Georges Méliès in the 19th arrondissement of Paris and Verizon Business France.
In 2015, IMT-BS joined forces with Telecom SudParis to lead the partnership and new beneficiary schools joined the scheme: Lycée Georges Brassens, Collège Galilée, Collège Le Village and Collège Paul Éluard in Évry-Courcouronnes. The initiative is also supported by the Île-de-France region and Grand Paris Sud to offer pupils the means to succeed and continue their studies in higher education.
Volunteer students from Telecom SudParis and IMT-BS, united within the Les Partenariats d’Excellence - LPE(fr) student association, carry out one-off actions for Cordées de la Réussite throughout the year. In 2020, the student association took charge of the operational implementation of the program and tutoring in math, French, and English for pupils from secondary schools in the priority education network was set up in addition to the national Cordées de la Réussite day.
High school “kits” with school equipment are given to these future students. Cultural trips, visits to companies and conferences at the partner schools are organized several times a year. The conferences cover a range of topics such as “finding your dream job by discovering who you really are”, and the different educational pathways and courses available. The aim is to give real visibility to these middle and high school pupils in search of a future and an ambition.
The programs offered to middle and high schools can also be adapted according to the teacher in charge. For example, an educational trip to Brussels was organized for 9th grade students at Collège Paul Éluard. The trip included visits to the European Parliament, the Planetarium, and the Atomium, as well as shows and a film on science. The trip was made possible thanks to fundraising events (bake sales, charity run).
The national Les Cordées de la Réussite day to promote school support
The national Les Cordées de la Réussite day in 2023 will allow 150 pupils from Lycée Georges Brassens, Collège Galilée, Collège Le Village, and Collège Paul Éluard in Évry-Courcouronnes to share their feelings and preconceptions about their future studies.
Testimonies from graduates, exchanges with engineering students and managers, campus visits, conferences, and workshops will allow pupils to discover the different fields, orientations and professions of engineering and management.
It is an ideal opportunity for them to understand the major challenges of these professions linked to sectors focused on the future. The national day is the culmination of the support offered by our volunteer students throughout the year and helps prepare pupils for their career decisions and helps them believe in themselves and their dreams.
Equal opportunity, Abdelkrim Benamar’s story
Abdelkrim Benamar grew up in a family from a modest background and was not aware of Les Cordées de la Réussite, the preparatory classes or the graduate schools available to him.
A member of our 1993 graduating class and former EMEA Vice-President at Alcatel-Lucent, Abdelkrim is the epitome of meritocracy. It was in final year of high school, at the crucial moment when he had to make decisions about his future career and study paths, that a math professor advised him to consider a scientific preparatory class. Thanks to Les Cordées de la Réussite, he discovered the post-baccalaureate world of graduate schools, in particular through open days.
“As a society we are not all the same, some have more means than others, but ultimately we are all masters of our own destiny.”
Today, Abdelkrim Benamar is President and CEO of PowerUp. He strives to give back to society what it gave him and has been involved with Les Cordées de la Réussite for many years. He now offers his time to future graduates by sharing his experience, providing coaching sessions or putting students in touch with people in his professional network.
The support provided by Les Cordées de la Réussite partnerships and the financial aid available to students during their studies are a real asset for promoting equal opportunity. It is important for a person to be able to build on their strengths in order to give the best of themselves and realize their ambitions.