There is a compulsory education in France from the age of
six to the age of 16. The education is compulsory for all
children residing in French territory, regardless of their
nationality. The public school offer is free.
Organization of education
Kindergartens and preschools
There are kindergartens (crèches) for children
under three years. This offer is not free, but is subject to
need testing, and the parents pay on the basis of income and
Preschool (l'école maternelle) is an offer for
children between two and six years. All preschools welcome
children from the age of three, while some also welcome
children between two and three years. Virtually all French
children between three and six years of age attend
preschool, while around 35% of two-year-olds attend. There
are both public and private preschools, and the public offer
is free. Under 15% of children attend private preschools.
Preschools have comprehensive curricula, and great
emphasis is placed on creativity and physical activity, as
well as providing students with basic knowledge of their own
mother tongue. Among other things, they should learn the
letters and be able to write simple words.
The teachers in the preschool have the same education as
the teachers in the primary school.
Primary school (l'école élémentaire) is five
years old, and compulsory for children between six and
eleven years. There are both public and private primary
schools, and the public are run by the municipalities. In
2014, there were 31,883 public and 5,126 private primary
schools in France.
||CP (Course Preparatory)
||CE1 (Elémentaire premiere année)
||CE 2 (Elémentaire deuxième année course)
||CM1 (Course average premiere)
From 2016, all children learn a foreign language from the
first year of primary school. It is not compulsory to choose
English as their first foreign language, but for students
who do not choose English in primary school, this language
will be compulsory when students start secondary school.
About 90% of pupils in primary school have English as their
first foreign language, while the remaining students have
chosen either German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese,
Portuguese, Russian, Hebrew or Arabic as their first foreign
language. A large majority of students who do not have
English as their first foreign language have chosen German.
The French public school is confessional, so there is no
religious teaching. However, the private schools, which are
often religious, often teach Christianity.
Pupils are not automatically moved up to the next grade
level in elementary school, and in the past there have been
relatively many students in France who have had to go
through one school year again. Although the number has
dropped significantly over the past few years, France is
still among the OECD countries with the highest proportion
of pupils returning.
Teacher density is relatively low in French elementary
school. In 2012, there were an average of 18.9 pupils per
primary school. class, while the average in the OECD
countries was 15.3.
Traditionally it has been common in the French elementary
school with teaching four days a day. week, where students
have often had no tuition every Wednesday. This meant that
there were no more than 144 school days per day. per year in
French primary school, a figure that was far lower than in
any other OECD country, with an average of 187 school days
per year. year. From 2013, teaching was introduced five days
per. week in France, where the fifth day was only half a
day. It is still common for junior and secondary schools to
have half a day every Wednesday, and many high schools also
have teaching on Saturday mornings.
PRIMARY SCHOOL AND PRIMARY SCHOOL
The secondary school (le collège) is four years
old and the goods from the students are twelve until they
are 15 years old. There were 7,100 junior high schools in
France in 2015, both public and private. 79% of pupils
attend public schools, while 21% attend private schools.
The subject offerings in secondary school are mostly
common to all students. Creative subjects make up a
relatively large proportion of the hours on the schedule.
Optional subjects are in secondary school are Greek (Ancient
Greek) and Latin, which is chosen by about 18% of students.
A new reform that applies from 2016 reduced the number of
hours in these subjects.
High school (le lycée) is three years old and
goods from the students are 15 to 18 years. There are three
main areas of higher education: Ordinary study preparation
education program (lycée d'enseignement général),
technological study preparation education program (lycée
d'enseignement technologique) and vocational education
program (lycée professionnel). There are about 4200
high schools in France, of which about 1500 are vocational
schools. Around 50% of the students choose an ordinary study
preparatory education program, 20% choose a technological
high school, while 30% choose a vocational education
program. The proportion of students choosing vocational
subjects has been increasing, with the corresponding figure
for 1995 being 13.6% for vocational subjects.
The students in the student preparatory high school come
to the exam (baccalaureate) in all subjects, and no
standpoint marks are given.
Students who have passed a high school diploma
(baccalaureate) can go on to higher education. The
university education is divided into three levels: The first
level is a license (bachelor), which is obtained
after three years of study. After another two years of
study, you can obtain a master's degree and finally you can
take a three-year doctoral program (doctorate).
Some studies are structured as five- or six-year studies,
while the medical studies in France last for a minimum of
There are around 70 universities in France, in addition
to several colleges, among them the so-called grandes
écoles, which are primarily engineering schools or
schools of commerce and administration, and which have very
strict admission requirements. Among these schools are the
École Polytechnique Technical College, the École Normale
Supérieure Teacher College and the École Nationale
d'Administration (ENA) for senior officials. There are
separate preparatory courses for admission to these
colleges, classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles
(CPGE), which are added to selected high schools, and which
usually last for two years.
The French educational system is inspired by ideas from
the Enlightenment and the Revolution of 1789, but also by
the centralism of the Napoleonic period. It is first and
foremost laws passed between 1881 and 1889 that form the
foundation of today's French education system. The most
important principles of this period are that the school in
France should be free, compulsory and non- confessional. A
central figure in connection with the introduction of these
principles was then Education Minister Jules Ferry. He made
sure that in 1881 it was decided that education should be
compulsory and free for children between 6 and 13 years.
The high schools (les lycées) originated in
1802, under Napoleon. Initially, the students were primarily
taught classical humanities. The pupils usually lived on
boarding schools, and the schools had a military feel. The
scheme of graduating from high school, le baccalauréat, also
dates from this period.
In the 19th century, les lycées were schools
that operated in parallel with the public school provision,
and which taught children from the age of six. These schools
had an elitist feel and were reserved for a very small part
of the population. They were also not available to girls.
Although the first high schools for girls opened in France
in the 1880s, it was not until the second half of the 20th
century that all the high schools in the country were opened
The three-year high school system, as we know it today,
was introduced in 1963.
The institutions of higher education have a long history
in France, and some of the French universities are among the
oldest in the world, such as the universities of Paris
(founded in the 12th century), Toulouse and Montpellier
(founded in the 13th century). See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in France.
The education system in France is very centralized. The
Ministry of Education is represented in different parts of
the country through a Recteur d'académie, which is
responsible for the schools in its region. As of 2016, the
country is divided into 30 academies divided into 17
academic regions. The academies are responsible, among other
things, for implementing laws and regulations adopted by the
Ministry of Education.
In France, 6.1% of the gross domestic product is spent on
education, which is the same as the average for OECD
The proportion of pupils in private schools for primary
and secondary schools is 16.8% for the entire country. The
share is highest in Brittany, where 39.7% of pupils attend
private schools, and it is lowest in Corsica, where the
number is 5.2%. In Paris, there are also relatively many
students choosing private schools (29.3%), while in the
suburbs around the capital the figure is lower than the