Academic Year And Language of Instruction in France

The academic calendar is systematically framed to ensure that students are able to blend studies with rest periods. France prides itself on its culture and language. Most educational institutions in France use French as a medium of instruction.

The Language of Instruction In France

The Role of Legislation

French legislation restricts the use of other languages in state run schools. Public schools in France use French as the medium of instruction. The official language in this nation is French. Other languages spoken in this nation include Corsican, Provencal, Breton, Dutch, German and Basque. Legislators have restricted school education to French medium currently though some private schools do offer English medium education.

Languages Other Than French Used As Medium Of Instruction

In several non-state run schools, other languages such as Breton are also used. Some schools in the southern region also use Occitan as a language of instruction. Most French universities also provide English medium courses to ensure that international students are able to learn their courses with ease.  Though legislation requires lectures to be given in French, a 1994 modification in the laws permits non French students and teachers to hold a few classes in English during the academic year.

Many Grandes Ecoles and leading business and technical schools have taken advantage of such rules to impart education in English. New legislations are now being proposed to increase the use of English as a medium of education. Such legislations aim to attract more foreign students to France and enhance the employability of French students in the global job market.

Academic Calendar and Annual Timeline of Academic Year

School Calendar

 HolidayZone A
Zone B
 Zone C
Caen, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Lyon, Montpellier, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Rennes, Toulouse
Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Besancon, Dijon, Lille, Limoges, Nice, Orleans-Tours, Poitiers, Reims, Rouen, Strasbourg
Bordeaux, Creteil, Paris, Versailles
 Back to School  Back to School: Monday, September Back to School: September Back to School: September
 School year students Back to School: September Back to School: September Back to School: September
 Thanksgiving holiday End of classes: October

Back to School: November
 End of classes: October

Back to School: November
 End of classes: October

Back to School: November
 Christmas holidays End of classes: December

Back to School: January
 End of classes: December

Back to School: January
 End of classes: December
Back to School: January
Winter Holidays 
End of the course: March

Back to School: March

End of the course: March

Back to School: March
End of the course:

Back to School:
 Spring Break End of the course: April

Back to School: May
 End of the course: April

Back to School: May
 End of the course:

Back to School: April
 Summer vacation End of classes: July End of classes: July End of classes:July
Annual Timeline And Academic Calendar For Universities and Higher Educational Institutions.

The French university calendar consists of two semesters :

 first semesterIt generally commences in September-October and ends in December-January.
 second semester It generally begins in January-February and ends in April-May

The university calendar depends on the following factors:
  • the institution itself
  • the education status
  • the Academie to which the institution belongs (regional educational unit),
  • the curriculum

Given below is a typical annual timeline of a French university.

 September 1Orientation programme
 September 14 Fall courses commence
 October 25 to November 1 Winter Break
 December 12 End of lectures
 December 23 End of examination
 January 7 to15 Orientation programme
 January 18 Spring courses commence
 February 14 to February 21 February Break
 April 19 to April 25 Spring Break
 May 10 End of exam period

List of Vacations Across All Educational Institutions in France

Given below is the list of holidays in the academic calendar for most educational institutions in this country:

 vacances de la ToussaintThey last from one to two weeks, in the period between October to November
 vacances de Noel End of the year holidays for Christmas and New Year.
 vacances d'hiver: a 2 week holiday from February to March
 vacances de Paques a two-week holiday, generally given in April
 grandes vacances or vacances d'etePrimary and secondary schools: break for two months in July and August;
Universities students: 3 to 4 months of holidays during the same period.

French is the chief medium of instruction in most educational institutions and organizations in this nation. Gradually, English medium courses are becoming popular as well. The French academic calendar is very well organized by the authorities.

Note: Academic calendar given here is tentative in nature. For exact dates check with your school.

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