During the French Revolution (1789), the universities of the Monarchy were closed and the French educational system was completely reorganized. Nicolas de Condorcet wrote the plans for universal education. Extended secondary education was established in many large cities in France. While higher education was a privilege for the nobles, the Republican government removed all previous barriers to access to university studies. Liberal education, including especially modern science, became possible and widespread.
The faculties of the University of France were organized into four categories (law, medicine, science, humanities), under strict government supervision.
Replacing the arts faculties of monarchical-era universities, the “Lycées” were founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to train “the elite of the nation” and as the main secondary education bodies responsible for examinations of the baccalaureate They taught French, Latin, Ancient Greek and science. A law of 1808 defined the curriculum as “ancient languages, history, rhetoric, logic, and elements of mathematical and physical science.”
Thanks to Guizot, in 1833 education began to be free. After the restoration of the Bourbons, the lycées were renamed royal colleges then lycées under the 2nd French Republic. This was confirmed by the Falloux Law (of Alfred de Falloux). At that time, high schools included high school classes.
An act proposed by Camille Sée in 1880 created secondary schools for women. There were around 36 in 1896. Secondary education became free between 1926 and 1930.
The Jules Ferry laws are a set of French laws that first established free education (1881) and then secular and compulsory education (1882). Proposed by the Republican Minister of Public Instruction Jules Ferry, they constitute a crucial stage which is the basis of the Third French Republic (1871-1940).
A 1959 decree created “classical, modern and technical high schools”. In 1963, secondary classes were included in elementary schools. In 1977, the vocational lycées renamed vocational lycées were founded in 1985.
In 1985, the then Minister of Education, Jean-Pierre Chevènement, announced a goal of “80% of each generation will reach high school.” This objective was taken up by his successor René Monory and then enshrined in law by an act of Parliament in 1989 proposed by Lionel Jospin. Over the next decade, secondary schools and higher education grew rapidly. The vocational baccalaureate was created in 1987, which made it possible to obtain a diploma of vocational studies or a certificate of vocational aptitude at the end of secondary studies and, perhaps, to be able to undertake higher studies.
Until 1994, high school routes were called A (literature, philosophy and languages), B (economy and society), C (mathematics), D (biology), E (mathematics and technology), F1, F2, F3. .., F12 (technology), G1, G2, G3 (administration, secretary, business studies, accounting) and H (reception). These routes have been grouped together in three ways: general, technological and professional.