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Education in France

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For quite a long time,the French education system has been having a reputation for producing one of the best education systems in the world. Some of their excellent features include a nationally set curriculum, highly set academic standards, conventional methods of learning, and also strict discipline. However, in recent years,there has been a downfall in the quality of French education, and according to the latest OECD/PISA world rankings of 2015, France dropped three places for educational standards for 15 year old children. Currently,it is placed at the 18th place out of 65 countries, with around 40-45% of students facing difficulty in mathematics and with a big equality gap within the school population.

Some of the policies/features of the French education system:

- the authority of the teacher: Teacher is the main authority and isn't forced or controlled by any person or organization.

- individual competition including an absolute grading system (no grading 'on the curve'): Student competes with himself/herself than with others.

- stress on analytical thought and rote learning as opposed to creativity;

- generally high academic expectations: Trying to bring out the best in the students.

Unlike certain education systems which focus on non-academic aspects as well,The French education system doesn't really expect children to have 'fun' at school. Sports and extra-curricular activities are encouraged but such events are mostly not organised by the schools,instead by the community or else private associations. For children who fall in the age range of 6 to 16,schooling is free and mandatory for them, although most of the children start earlier than this. Apart from this sudy period, Additional 2 years of study are required for the student to sit for the baccalauréat exam, which is one of the major criteria to enter university. Class sizes are usually large, with the teacher to student ratio being approximately 1:30. In this study,the three main areas with respect to Education in France which are being focused are:

1. Brief History of Education in France

2. Present Scenario


1. Brief History of Education in France

Education was first introduced in France in 121 BCE with the Roman conquest of the southern regions of Celtic Gaul. But this system wasn't really established in any way until 768CE, during the reign of Catholic King Charlemagne. If these few centuries sowed the seeds, they came to fruition principally in the thirteenth century with the founding of an university. The first proper institution for Education,the University of Paris came into action a thousand years after it was introduced in France. This leading theological and educational center for Europe was founded in 1150 CE. Many colleges came up within the University during this time period. Most of these colleges came into being through the initiative taken up by various individuals, usually the churchmen, the members of the royal family and provincial nobles who wanted to establish various organizations for study on behalf of students from their part of the kingdom. After this,during the 16th and 17th centuries, organized schools were established by various Catholic religious communities such as Oratorians, Jesuits, and Christian Brothers. But since these institutions were run by the rich,these schools weren't free to the boys,let alone the girls. In most cases,the students in these schools were the children of the upper class people. Due to this system,the lower class people mostly were deprived of basic education until the 19th century.

After this,there was a rigid state control in education due to Napoleon’s demand for well educated military commanders. This Napolean period and the Revolution bought about drastic changes in the education system. But, the event that most influenced the structure of French education was its sudden unexpected rupture with the Catholic church during the French Revolution. The anti-monarchy, pro-Republican attitudes that swept the country during the French Revolution of 1789 were also anti-church because of the church’s close and privileged relationship with the monarchy. At this time,the education in France was in a very poor state. It was completely controlled by the Church, parish priests and local diocesan bishops. And also during this phase,the salary given to the teachers was very miserly, especially in rural areas. Due to this reason,these teachers often doubled up as assistants to the priest. These Conditions for teachers and



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