Xavier Niel, founder of the Free telecommunications company, on Friday inaugurated “19”, a school for the digital professions, located in Uccle. The new school, which is free of charge, is a branch of “42”, an institution set up in Paris by the French billionaire.
It aims to reinsert students aged 18 to 30 years who are ill-adapted to the traditional education system, and to create jobs in Belgium. It uses peer-to-peer learning, a participatory method that enables students to free up their creativity by learning through projects. It therefore has no teachers, just a teaching manager trained at “42”.
The last selection test was held on Friday and successful candidates will join the school, which will have 150 students. They will be able to move between the training programme’s 21 levels, according to Stephan Salberter, the institution’s director. Nineteen of these do not offer diplomas, since the training is focused on pragmatism and independent learning.
Xavier Niel welcomed the opening of the new branch of the project he initiated five years ago. Contrary to 42, which he finances, he only provides logistical and educational support by supplying programmes from the Paris institution.
About 12 former students of 42 work within Iliad-Free, Xavier Niel’s group. “But that’s not the interesting part,” he said. “I asked myself how I could give back a bit from everything I have achieved. Thanks to 42 and soon to 19, we can transform chaotic lives into successes.”