THE Big programs
Marking a new phase in the evolution of the School, the Decree of 1851 emphasised the organisation of the courses, the establishment of an annual timetable, the quality of the teaching and the monitoring of student work. For the first time, the School opened its doors to external (French and foreign) and non-degree students. Because their educational level was lower than that of Polytechnique graduates, preparatory classes had to be created in 1875.?
At this time, in France, the remarkable development of transport, roads, bridges and canals… bears the strong imprint of engineers from the Ponts et Chaussées (Becquerel, Bienvenüe, Caquot, Carnot, Colson, Coyne, Freyssinet, Resal, Séjourné...). They modernised the country profoundly by creating the country’s much envied big transport networks.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the School had acquired its main distinctive features and underwent no more major upheavals. It simply adapted to the constant advances in techniques and created new teaching chairs: applied electricity, social economics, urbanism, air bases… However, the wars, the economic crisis of 1929 and the periods of Reconstruction were not favourable to the dynamic development of France’s great schools, and it was not until the post-war era that École des Ponts truly became a modern institution.