• By
  • April 8, 2023
  • French Language
The French Education System


It sounds a lot of fun and exciting to go for higher studies to a country like France. France has a vibrant culture, an abundance of natural beauty, a great heritage, a rich history. Who wouldn’t want to go to such a place for studies? 

Not only is France popular for its history and beauty it is also called the education hub as it offers a plethora of courses ranging from management, culinary arts, and theatre, to music as well as humanities  

However, before relocating to France as a student one must acquaint oneself with the structure of the education system 

The education system in France is divided in 3 different stages –

Primary (Ecole primaire)

Secondary (Ecole Secondaire) 

Higher (Ecole superieur)

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French primary schools have catchment areas, which means you will be sent to a school in your area or vicinity. I case you do wish to enroll in a school outside your catchment areas then you need to as the permission of the town mayor (marie) or some local school body (rectrorat) 

The state-run primary schools are generally free, and students will learn topics like – geography, history, and foreign language as in English

Unlike state-run schools, private schools have a contract with the French government which means that the state pays the teachers’ salaries, the curriculums are national, and fees are reasonably lower. 

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The ministry of Education (Minstre de l’education) takes care of state schools in France, every child must attend school till age 16 from ages 11 to 15 children attend middle school (college) and the last 3 years of their secondary education isa spent in high school (lycee). 

There are three types of lycee – lycee generale, lycee Technologique and lycee professionel 

Public schools in Frane are free, coed and follow the curriculum laid out by the Ministry of Education. These schools are very traditional in their teaching methods and do not encourage creativity unlike private schools that are generally preferred as their teaching standards are high, and they teach international and bilingual curriculums. 

The IB (International Baccaaureeate) –

IB board is the most widely recognized board in France and around the world, there are around 241 schools that teach IB curriculums in France. These schools offer bilingual or English language curriculums to students from ages 3 to 19. Many international parents opt for IB schools to give their children the best opportunities to study abroad after secondary school. 

Typically, at the end of lycee students must sit their baccalaureate examinations where they are assessed on all their subject areas. The grading for each subject is done from zero to 20 and the student must gain 10 points to pass.

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Public universities in France are open to all, but they need the student to have passed their (bac) or a foreign high school diploma.  Admission into universities is highly competitive where students must sit for oral and written examinations to qualify. Generally, the acceptance rate is as low as 33% and many students need to finish three years of high school diplomas before they start the (grand ecole)

Finally, higher education in France also is categorized in three different levels – Liscence , master and doctorat . Usually, there are 6 semesters for license level studies and 4 for masters. 

For anyone who is considering choosing France for further study options, it is important to understand the systems of India and France in depth – 

Here are some differences between the French and Indian education systems –  

The French system of education has equal levels of learning for all levels the students study in the same boards and admissions are more standardized. In India, the system differs in terms that students have different curriculums to follow as per each level and admissions are not standardized 

Secondly, there is more flexibility in the French education system as students have a free choice to opt out of or select certain streams or subjects, they wish to graduate with.  However contrastingly, in India students are forced to study all subjects during their schooling only by the time they enter college do they have options they can choose from. 

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Thirdly, grading systems also differ widely between the two countries. In India, students are purely graded based on the percentage or marks they obtain in exams, but in France, students are graded based on ranks they receive ranging from 0 to 20 in which 15 is a score of re bien or bien and anything from 18 to 20 is not scored.  

To sum up, France is a good place to go for higher studies, and learning French is an added asset to that long-term decision. Learning French broadens opportunists in France both work and education-wise, plus knowing how to speak French helps a great deal in managing to live in France as French people appreciate someone speaking French as opposed to not at all. 

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Furthermore, learning French has many benefits as you can travel to study or work in any country where French is spoken officially. These countries are called Francophonie

So, gear up for learning the French language and grabbing numerous opportunities today!



Uma Deo

SevenMentor Pvt Ltd

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