French Education System Facts That Will Teach You A Lot | Kidadl


French Education System Facts That Will Teach You A Lot

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A very simple yet humble gesture in French education is that when a child starts to go to school, they are provided with a study hall where they can finish their academic work after school hours.

In France, the education structure in schools is pretty much basic. It comprises three tiers: primary education, secondary education, and higher education.

Now it can be said that in the French school system, we get to see the teacher-centric tradition. Before going into intricacies, let us inform you that in France, there are many courses apart from the traditional undergraduate or master's degree, which are offered by various institutions. These courses vary in duration as some can be completed in two years while some may also take three. They provide students with diploma degrees and also certification for successfully completing the course. This allows the students to gain professional skills and become independent.

If you want to know more, then you can check out articles like French economy facts and French flag facts.

Primary Education System And Schools In France

Let's start with the basics, that is, primary school. In the country's dialect, it is called école primaire. The educational year here starts in September, and the age of admission is six. In a primary French school, students study for five years.

Now, you may have a question about preschool or nursery school. Yes, there are preschools, and most parents prefer to get their children admitted to nursery schools at the age of three. In French, a preschool is called a maternelle. Do not get confused with elementary schools, which are a part of the formal education system.

Sometimes, in the system of French schools, the primary school is named as the elementary school or as the école élémentaireFor French students, it can be said that they have to study a small number of subjects in these preparatory classes. Some of the most common and popular subjects are French (as the main language), mathematics, and concepts of science.

As we have mentioned about the teacher-centric education in French schools, in primary school, the teacher is addressed as Professeur.

An Overview Of The French Education System

Let us move on to the next level: the middle school. Both middle and high school are considered higher education in the French educational system.

From middle school, a French student starts to get exposure to different foreign language studies. It also offers French in both language and literature, as the schools put a lot of focus on the French learning skills of the students. History, geography, and civics act as social studies. A lot of value is given to the arts and crafts. Also, physical education is listed in the curriculum. However, in the French schools at the stage of early secondary education, different science subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, and others are the ruling subject as French teachers treat them as the core subjects in the curriculum.

In secondary education, the syllabus is finalized by the Ministry of National Education. Thus, you can see the direct involvement of the French government and the reflection of national values reflected in the syllabus. This also proves that no individual schools in France are given much importance or the freedom to choose their own curriculum. As we are talking about middle schools in France, did you know that the parliament has prohibited the use of mobile phones in class till the student reaches class eight! Relaxation has been provided in special cases.

After middle school or collège, the students go to high school or lycée. School pupils study in the middle or secondary school till approximately 14 years of age, after which they attend a high school.

After the successful completion of middle school, the students enter the final step: high school or secondary school. The duration of this part of secondary education is three years, that is, till the age of 18.

The following are the details of the French public school system:

Public schools work entirely under the administration of the French government. Now talking about private schools, they serve with or without a contract with the respective states concerned. In private primary schools or high schools, you will find a sense of parity with public schools. The recruitment of teachers in a private French school (all teachers are considered civil servants, respectively) and the curriculum followed in such an institution are largely identical to those in public schools.

If you are considering the private education system in France, then you need to know that it is highly religious-based. Although the influence of churches is predominant, the law has been established in favor of secular education. The official union for the teachers in France, who were also addressed as instructors in the past, is the Federation for National Education. Also, the National Syndicate of Instructors has been formed to look into the matter of teachers.

History Of French Education

Before delving into the current state of French schools and universities, let us first examine their origins. We have to go back to the time of the Roman Empire when the concept of schools started functioning. However, the true form of educational institutes evolved around the time of the French Revolution.

The first time France started with a formal state of educational institutes dates back to 12 BCE. However, the true accreditation of formal education happened in 768 CE when King Charlemagne, a Catholic king, was exercising his rule over France. Then comes the period of 1150 CE, when the historical event of establishing the University of Paris took place. You can say that the authoritative nature of the government in France over the issue of the education system dates back to the time of Napoleon's rule. The emperor needed highly educated candidates to fight for him as militant leaders. Thus, he took the matter of education into his own hands.

The clash between the state and the Catholic church has been quite a point to remember in the history of France. It was in 1905 that the country's administration became free from the shackles of religious views as France was declared a secular nation. The phenomenon was an automatic result of the Ferry Laws, which were established in 1904 to get rid of the influence of religion over education in schools. This also led to the division between the Catholic and public schools. Just like public schools, Catholic schools also get sufficient funds from the government for their school supplies, scholarships for their best students, and even teachers' salaries.

Taking a leap to recent years, especially in 1989, France reached the benchmark of 80% of candidates being successful in the baccalauréat, the national high school completion exam for which schools in France prepare pupils sincerely. And in 2002, the initiation of the Bologna Process was achieved alongside the computing of LMD (Licence-Master-Doctorat). This has given a wide range of choices to French children where higher education is concerned. Under this format, there are various institutions in France that provide a license after a student completes a three-year study program in a regulated course that is equivalent to an undergraduate degree or a bachelor's degree internationally. These institutions often provide a master's degree program, also following the same format. So, after your bachelor's degree, to get a master's degree in France, you can choose among these institutions, as most of the educational criteria in higher studies include a master's degree as a must, apart from a Ph.D.

French primary and secondary schools focus on creative and problem-solving exercises too.

Why is France an international student attraction for higher education?

France is an important option to choose for higher studies. In the international forum, the quality of French higher education has received a lot of praise, which has resulted in the attraction of many foreign students towards different French university education programs and also business schools. If we check out the statistics, then in 2019, a total of 34 educational institutions from the country secured a place in the World University Rankings listed by Times Higher Education.

You might be wondering how UK schools are starkly different from French ones. Actually, every country has its own framework and national ideologies upon which the whole education system has been designed. In France, as we have already mentioned, the government plays a major role in designing school systems. Public schools are operated by the government directly, which means they provide education without charging anything from the parents. The credit goes to Jules Ferry, for the implementation of 'éducation laïque gratuite et obligatoire' meaning education must be free, mandatory, and secular. If you are planning to choose one of the French boarding schools for your child, we suggest that you do your research first to conclude what should be best for your kid. As far as higher studies are concerned, then we can say that the universities in France are offering the best education at affordable fees, and also, you will find a lot of scholarship programs for that matter. Another main aspect of studying abroad is the expenses regarding transportation and accommodation. When it comes to these, French is once again in a good position, and on top of that, there are ways to get a good amount of discounts that are specifically designed for foreign students. Studying in France will give you the opportunity to explore the enriched culture and make you realize how France has made an imminent mark on the world, not only through its history but also through its acclaimed education system.

Did You Know...

Want to know some really interesting facts about state schools and even private institutions for education in France? Well, schools there, be they state schools or private ones, have pretty long hours. Their school begins at 8 a.m. and is dispersed at 4 p.m.!

Also, students get a chance to skip school once a week, on Wednesday. Don't be disheartened as you have your Saturday mornings compared to their Wednesday mornings, right!

School lunchtime is a time to cherish for students. In France, students get an extension on this as school lunches are sometimes for two hours. Just imagine!

If you are a fan of extracurriculars at your school, then you may not like it in France as they have very limited options in the options list.

Are you very much used to getting grades and marks out of 100 or 50? Well, French students experience something different as the total marks there is always 20 in schools, which counts for the highest grade.

When it comes to displaying the grades, the grades do not just stay between the teacher and student. A strange way that French schools display the grades is by placing them on a board so that anyone can see them. It can be a matter of pride or of crippling embarrassment for the students. However, France tries to keep this method to create a sense of transparency within the schooling system.

After the revolution in 1905, schools were strictly prohibited from showcasing any symbols or icons related to religion.

France has its own way of feeding ideology and motivation to the students through the curriculum. However, the classroom walls are mostly bare of posters of any kind, which is very intriguing.

Most students study in the same class due to their failure to achieve the prescribed grades.

Admission of students in schools requires proof of their birth (certificate), all medical documents, a passport, and valid evidence of residence.

Surprisingly, French institutions have no graduation ceremonies. No graduation ceremony means no flipping up the graduation cap, no group celebration, or such.

Also, quite unlike other institutions in many other countries, in France, students do not wear any prescribed uniform at school.

Education in France strictly follows a well-knitted grading system, and the strategy of rote learning is given great importance. This is mostly true for both public and private schools. Due to the complicated structure of the curriculum, parents are provided with a sheet of detailed instructions in French schools. The key essence of education in France is competition. Here, the traditional methods are henceforth popular as the government feels it is the perfect way to prepare the students to achieve success in their future. In terms of holidays, French schools have five specific holidays: summer vacation, winter holidays, spring holidays, all Saints' holidays, and Christmas holidays.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for French education system facts that will teach you a lot, then why not take a look at Ireland education facts or Japan education facts?

Written By
Srija Chanda

<p>An aspiring media professional, Srija is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Mass Communication at St. Xavier's University, Kolkata, after completing her degree in journalism. With experience in PR and social media, she has also honed her leadership skills through her participation in a youth parliament. Srija's interests include devouring books, watching movies, and exploring new places through travel.</p>

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