Education in France was characterized, since the establishment of compulsory schooling in the nineteenth century, by the so-called French, secular, public and compulsory republican school, which was created as a fundamental element of the French Republic. A conception based on intellectual meritocracy, and a high level of demand both in the selection of teachers and students. It is oriented to the formation of leaders with a high human and democratic sense, many of them linked to public administration, international organizations and the business sector of each of the countries where it has interference.
(Early childhood education)
At two years of age, children begin child education, called maternelle (or L’école maternelle). The children’s stage includes the courses of cycle I of the first grade education and serves students distributed by age: from 2 to 3 years (toute petite section TPS), from 3 to 4 years (petite section), from 4 to 5 years (moyenne section) and 5 to 6 years (large section). In the first two, the educational objectives are based on promoting, through mainly recreational activities, the development of the child’s personality and its relationship with the environment; in the last one, the transition to elementary school is prepared, where the learning of reading, writing and arithmetic begins.
Divided into two cycles, II and III, the first-grade teachings of elementary school calls “écoles élémentaires” comprise five courses and enroll students between 6 and 11 years old.
Cycle II includes the preparatory year (CP) and the first elementary (CE1), followed by the three courses of cycle III: the second elementary (CE2), the first medium (CM1) and the second half (CM2). Throughout them the student is trained in seven basic subjects: French, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Geography and History, Civic Education, Artistic Education and Physical and Sports Education.
The distribution of the courses is:
- Preparatory Course (CP)
- Elementary course 1 (CE1)
- Elementary course 2nd (CE2)
- Middle course 1st (CM1)
- Middle course 2nd (CM2)
- Second grade
Collège & Lycée
In the second grade, the teaching given in the colleges (First cycle) and in the general, technological and professional institutes (lycées) (Second cycle) is distinguished.
The college is the place where teenagers from 11 to 14 years old are enrolled. Its mission is to offer students a common structure of compulsory basic knowledge and its educational contents, aimed at students between eleven and fifteen, are divided between the following subjects: French, Mathematics, Foreign language I, social sciences (Geography , History, Economics and Civic Education), experimental sciences (Physics, Biology, Geology and Technology), Art Education, Manual and technical education; and physical and sports education. The new reform of 2016 (“ for the school of trust ”) established the “ EPI ” (interdisciplinary practical teaching), from now on, the subjects can be gathered in subjects during some courses.
This first cycle of secondary education comprises four courses, distributed in three cycles: observation and adaptation cycle (Sixième), central cycle (Cinquième et Quatrième) and orientation cycle (Troisième). At the end of the troisième course, students must take an exam to obtain a diploma called “Diplôme national du Brevet” (based on 4 tests: French, Mathematics, Social Sciences and experimental sciences). This exam is called brevet and, although it is not essential to go to high school, it is mandatory to do so. Practically, all students approve without problems.
After passing through the college, students continue their studies either in general or technological education institutes, or in professional institutes. This second cycle of secondary education extends approximately from 15 to 18 years.
In the institutes of general or technological education (Lycées d’enseignement général ou technologique) a training that lasts three years (Seconde, Premiere and Terminale) is given. Seconde students all follow the same school program, without a specific specialization. At the end of this course they choose a general or technological branch.
At the end of the Terminale course, students must take a final and national exam to obtain the baccalaureate degree
General Lycée Reform
From the 2019-20 academic year, the lycée (baccalaureate) is modified with a reform. Until then the students had to choose if they continued with their studies L (Literary), ES (economic) or S (scientific). After the reform, all students have common subjects and must choose 3 specialties for the year of première (1st baccalaureate), of which they will leave only 2 for the year of Terminale (2nd baccalaureate).
The common subjects are the following, the hours per week are indicated in parentheses:
- French (4h), in 2nd baccalaureate becomes philosophy (4h)
- History and geography (3h)
- Moral and civic education (0,5h)
- Language 1 and language 2 (4,5h)
- Sport (2h)
- Science (2h)
And the specialties are as follows, last 4 hours per week in Première and 6 hours in Terminale:
- Ecology Agronomy and territories
- History-geography, geopolitics and political science
- Humanities, literature and philosophy
- Foreign language and cultures
- Computer Science / Computer Science
- Earth sciences and life
- Engineering sciences
- Physics and chemistry
- Economic and social sciences