Education in France

Officially the Republique francaise or the French Republic, France is located in the western part of the European Union. This is one of the largest and most developed nations in the EU. French general Napoleon Bonaparte laid the foundations of France’s education system. Jules Ferry is the founder of the modern, secular and progressive educational system in this nation. 

According to the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports in France, there are over 15686 public and 129 private kindergartens and this number is growing. Also there are over 64300 primary, secondary and high schools including both public and private. Higher education institutions in France is provided by public universities and Grandes Ecoles. 

The French education system is one of the best in the world. It is well organized and systematized. The system of education is carefully monitored and regulated by the French education ministry or the Ministere de l'Education nationale, de la Jeunesse et de la Vie associative.

Primary and secondary education lasting from 6 to 16 years of age is compulsory for all students in France. Children are enrolled in kindergarten at 2 to 3 years by their parents. All children who attain the age of 6 must be sent to elementary school.

Higher education in France is open to those who have obtained their baccalaureate ( baccalaureat )or high school diploma. They can enrol at public universities or Grandes Ecoles for further studies.

Opportunities For International Students

France is one of the popular study destination with around 278,000 students arrive at this nation for higher studies each year. It ranks fourth most popular destination for foreign students according to Campus France, which is the national agency for the promotion of education among international students in France.  International students must also enrol in a programme carried out by Campus France known as CEF procedure or the Centres pour les Etudes en France. Campus France is officially called the Agence pour la Promotion de l’Enseignement Superieur, l’Accueil et la Mobilite Internationale/National Agency for the Promotion of Higher Education, International Student Services and International Mobility.

There are around 600 postgraduate programmes in France that are taught in English so generally speaking, candidates for these courses are not required to speak French. Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts, Design are the  popular courses taken up by foreign students but research Engineering  have put France in the bracket of high profile and knowledge education.

Standardized Tests and Examinations

Standardized tests are essential part of evaluation and entry to higher education competitive courses from high schools onwards. After completion of kindergarten and primary school, students are enrolled into secondary school without any entrance examinations. High school education is provided at lycees d’enseignement general et technologique (general and technological high schools) and lycees professionnels (high schools for vocational training).

Some of the common standardized tests and examinations conducted in France include the following:

Brevet des colleges: Also referred to as the Diplome National du Brevet, this is one of the first official examinations pupils face. Students must pass 3 tests in the following subjects:
  • French
  • Mathematics
  • History, Geography And Citizenship
Since 2011, students also have to take an oral exam pertaining to cultural history.

Baccalaureat: This examination is given by students once they finish their education at the lycee. There are 3 different kinds of  Baccalaureat examinations depending upon the type of high school the students are enrolled at:
  • baccalaureat general
  • baccalaureat technologique
  • baccalaureat professionnel
Students must give this exam to pursue higher education at universities.

The education system is monitored and designed to assure students acquire critical thinking skills. The French educational system focuses on training students to become proficient in academic as well as technical subjects. France emphasizes educational growth.
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