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At the École Nationale d'Administration

Dear graduates!

Please accept my sincerest congratulations!  In a way, here today you are coming to the end of your formal education path – postgraduate studies.

Therefore, it is apt to look how this educational path you followed, matches the need of you yourself and the future of our society. And what might need to change for the next generations, to make them best prepared for the challenges they face.

Curriculae have always been prepared from the perspective of the past. We all have acquired an education our parents thought would prepare us adequately for the challenges of our generation.

Of course, as all loving parents, they have got some things right and missed some opportunities. Similarily, we are sending our kids to the schools today, to prepare for the challenges of the early 21st century, but not for the II half of it. How might our educational proposal look 25 years from now?

We had noticed that technological cycle is shortening. We did foresee, to certain extent, that the 21st century would see birth and death of much more inventions than the 20th century. After all, only petroleum lamp and horse cart truly expired in the 20th century. Most inventions just got more efficient, but survived.

We did not foresee that the digital disruption to our societies would be so profound that many of our kids will be able to work very differently from us.

We did not foresee that geography becomes meaningless for many professionals while seeking jobs. We did not foresee that many of them would not need to do what economists for a whole century thought inevitable – gather into enterprises in order to, through specialization, work in the most productive manner.

We did not foresee that the proportion of people in developed economies working in industry would fall from about 30% 25 years ago to 19% today here in France when you graduate and maybe to 3-5% of the whole workforce by the time our kids will graduate.

We did not foresee that the next generation would be the most powerful generation of history, free to work where they want, when they want, with whom they want and able to reconsider as often as they wish.

We give on the freedoms we ourselves love – the four freedoms of Europe, Eurozone and Schengen. However, digital disruption is giving our kids much more we ever could.

They will enjoy an absolute freedom globally, determined and defined only by their own imagination – and alas, our regulation, allowing or restricting these new freedoms. Our kids can work in different enterprises, even different countries, simultaneously.

They will not need to demand flexible working hours; instead, they will define them yourselves. Our kids will not accept to sit in one house, one city or one country while they work. They will insist that even, should they work as a controller of an assembly line; they should be able to do so from a Mediterranean beach or from the top of the Alps.

They will not accept long-term contracts, stipulating the working hours or competition clauses, as they will definitely be able to sell their specialized skills independently and to many enterprises simultaneously.

We did not prepare them for that from the day one when they entered école maternelle. Nevertheless, I know that we have also got something right. We have trained our kids in human rights and liberal democratic values.

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