French President Promises Greater Racial and Ethnic Diversity at Elite Universities

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has called for greater racial and ethnic diversity at the nation’s elite universities. Sarkozy said he was disappointed by the nation’s slow progress in achieving greater diversity and he appointed a new official to promote greater equality. An action plan will be unveiled in March.

The president plans to reserve 25 percent of the places at elite universities for students who receive state financial aid for higher education. A large percentage of these students are from ethnic minority groups. By 2010, 30 percent of the places will be set aside for so-called state scholarship students.

“We are going to throw open the doors of places where tomorrow’s elite are formed,” Sarkozy promised.