If your grades are good enough to get into med school in Paris, you won't have to rely on the luck of a lottery to get a place.
These were the words of the Rectorat de Paris, which controls university admissions, after claims that too many students this year would mean a capped intake of students in 2017.
These claims came via Sadep, the French organization that assigns medical students to their schools, and were published in Le Monde newspaper.
The organization pointed out that there were only 7,500 places for med students in Paris, but this year alone had already seen 8,143 get places – and that an even bigger number was expected for next year.
The Rectorat, however, said on Thursday that “all first year students in the Paris region will be able to pursue their choice of subject and establishment”.
They also firmly stated that there would be “no lottery system”.
Sadep's claims proved explosive in France on Thursday, prompting Secretary of State for Higher Education and Research Thierry Mandon to tell Liberation: “I will do all that I can so that this kind of 'sorting' in order to enter the first year of medicine will never exist”.
The FIFDL union told Le Monde that such a system was “playing with the lives of graduates”.
French doctor and writer Christian Lehmann told French radio station France Info that it demonstrated “truly a complete lack of respect” towards the medical students.
He criticized the system further, suggesting that a closer look needed to be taken at how public money was being used, if top universities were no longer able to meet basic demands for arguably one of the most important professions.
— DrMartyUFML (@Drmartyufml) May 5, 2016
(Some internet users have taken to Twitter to make light of the situation, with a picture of a lottery ticket and caption “Student registering for medical school”)
The story launched debates into the selection process overall, which has often received criticism for being elitist in France.
Doctor and writer Martin Winkler told Le Figaro newspaper: “Many young people want to become doctors, but the system is parallel to paying for private schools and it favours children from privileged families”.