• In April, the Head of State announced the replacement of the ENA by a new school in order to diversify its recruitment, its teaching and the method of classifying students.

  • This makes the documentary titled

    L'Enarque is a human (almost) like the others

    who will be broadcast on France 2 this Monday.

  • Its director, Virginie Linhart, followed the schooling of an ENA promotion from A to Z for a year and a half, between January 2019 and October 2020. This allows us to deconstruct certain received ideas about school.

It is a school that fascinates the French as much as it teases them.

The ENA, which trains its students in high administration to become the decision-makers of the CAC 40 and the future political leaders of the country, arouses many a priori.

In his documentary titled

L'Enarque is a human (almost) like the others

which will be broadcast on France 2 this Monday, Virginie Linhart followed from A to Z the schooling of a promotion of Ena for a year and a half, between January 2019 and October 2020. A new documentary which is all the more interesting at a time when the school is doomed to disappear to be replaced by the Institute of Public Service.


20 Minutes,

Virginie Linhart looks back on everything we think we know about the enarques, without being right.

How do you explain the fascination of the French for the ENA?

The French have an ambiguous position on the ENA: it is both the school that they hate, but they are extremely proud when their children pass the entrance exam!

They all have preconceptions about school, which are often based on a lack of knowledge of what it really is.

Hence my desire for this report to truly describe the reality of this establishment beyond the symbol it represents.

“Over time, school has become the place that crystallizes resentment against those who govern us,” you say at the start of your documentary.

But isn't this surprising since few graduates enter politics?

Absolutely, because of the 6,700 graduates who have left school since 1945, only 200 have been in politics.

Certainly François Hollande and Emmanuel Macron are enarques, but Nicolas Sarkozy and François Mitterrand were not.

Did the school doors open easily for your camera?

Yes, the director gave me the authorization to film events or places that had never been, such as the inaugural conference, the integration weekend, the internship places… But when I started my work, the students were suspicious because they believed that I was going to stay very little time on site.

I had to do pedagogy to explain to them that my work was going to be spread over a year and a half and that I wanted to see the students evolve throughout their schooling.

We can see the immense pride of the students when they enter school ...

Yes, because they are proud to have passed a very difficult competition where only 10% of the candidates are admitted and for which we prepare for a year or two.

Many of them take real pride in serving the state.

Did you answer the question that you ask yourself at the beginning of the documentary: "Is school the El Dorado for deserving students or the place for socializing"?

Contrary to popular belief, there are few children of enarques among the students.

Many come from the middle class, have parents who are teachers, executives exercising liberal professions ... And we must not forget that the internal competition is open to civil servants who have at least four years of professional experience and that the third competition is reserved. elected officials, associations and trade unionists after eight years of practice.

Which creates a mixture of social, geographic and professional origins.

What is the place of women in school?

They are less numerous than men: 35 out of the class of 80 students that I followed.

What struck me was that no male student I asked for an interview refused to answer, while many women declined the offer.

They were not sure they were in their place and were afraid of being put forward.

One of them told me that she suffered from impostor syndrome, which is very surprising at this level of education.

She was coached by an association of graduates in order to gain self-confidence.

And some paths are still difficult for graduates after leaving school, such as diplomacy.

The Enarques are often criticized for being disconnected from the realities on the ground, but your documentary seems to show the opposite ...

Yes, when they do their internship in a territory, for example in a prefecture or in an SME, it is very concrete.

They are in constant contact with the population.

So if there is a disconnection of the Enarques, it occurs later, after a few years of professional practice in certain institutions.

Do they all dream of joining the big bodies of the public service?


Those who are classified in the first fifteen places in the exit competition, the "boot", can integrate the large bodies (Council of State, Court of Auditors, General Inspectorate of Finance ...), like their peers.

And this prestigious start will condition the rest of their career.

How did the pupils react to the announcement of the future abolition of the ENA?

They did not live it well.

because they had the impression of being the breakers of the “yellow vests” crisis.

And learning that school will disappear when you prepare very hard for your entrance exam, it's violent.

“It's a bit like a public disavowal,” says one of the students in my documentary.

And if the ENA is criticized in France, it is much admired abroad.

Moreover, when Emmanuel Macron announced his abolition, the English were stunned.

However, the majority of students were in favor of a reform of the school, in particular to change the operation of the exit classification.

Because some graduates hold a grudge for life to have arrived at the bottom of the exit table.


Elimination of the ENA: What will the Public Service Institute look like which will replace it?


Public service: Jean Castex announces the end of the body of prefects


The Enarque is a human (almost) like the others of 

Virginie Linhart.

The documentary will air on the program Infrarouge on France é, this Monday at 11:15 pm. 

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