Jobseekers in France are to be given premium access to an online course provider as part of a government partnership announced by the country’s president, François Hollande.
From 1 September, those seeking work will have full access to OpenClassrooms, a platform that hosts massive open online courses and e-books. Users with premium access will get certificates validating the courses they complete.
By promoting access to the predominantly career-oriented courses on the platform, the government hopes to develop people who can work in sectors facing personnel shortages, such as the digital industry. Among the institutions that have developed courses for OpenClassrooms are the École Polytechnique and the École Supérieure de Génie Informatique, both located in Paris.
Announcing the partnership at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland last month, Mr Hollande stressed the importance of innovation in fields such as training and education. France’s unemployment rate is about 11 per cent and the number out of work is only a few thousand short of December’s all-time high. Mr Hollande has said that he will not seek re-election if he does not reverse this trend.
Pierre Dubuc, co-founder of OpenClassrooms, said that providing relevant training resources and facilitating access to them were two keys to helping to solve the unemployment crisis.
“If we look at the computer science field, the European Commission estimates that there could be more than 825,000 positions to fill in Europe by 2020. But these will remain vacant if companies do not find candidates with the skills they need to keep innovating,” he said.
“In this context, developing Moocs takes on critical importance. These online courses, which are free and open to all, enable anyone to access quality training resources, wherever they are, whatever their physical constraints, personal and professional situation.”
OpenClassrooms, which hosts about 1,000 courses, allows anyone to write a course, not just education institutions. Course assessments are evaluated by the website’s community using a peer-to-peer algorithm developed by OpenClassrooms.
Courses are free, but users who pay for premium access, at least €20 (£15) a month, get certificates of achievement upon completing courses and the option to study at their own pace.