Science park in Poitiers (Futuroscope/
Bibliotheque nationale, Paris/
Cite des Sciences, La Villette, Paris/
Bibliotheque, centre Pompidou, Paris
Higher Education in France is an experience quite different from
the USA. It's the European approach to education. If one goes by
looks and amenities, certainly the French universities pale by comparison
with American universities. French academia has no interest
in high prestige sports teams, the emphasis is strictly on academic matter
and research. The French has the bibliotheque Nationale (e.g lib of Congress
) easily accessible and it is believed that all universities carry the
same standards. French universities can be very old (they started
in the Middle Ages e.g La Sorbonne ) and have been producing
great minds. The tendency nowadays is still to consider universities as
a place for reflexion and learning first and foremost. They do not
have a vocational approach.
FRENCH HIGHER EDUCATION
Higher education in France is world-renowned for its quality and
accessibility. Tuition and health insurance at public schools are paid for by
the French government. Admission and promotion is through a system of
merit-based examinations. Thus, intellectually qualified students are
ensured a fair chance of pursuing their educational goals, regardless of their
financial or social status.
France leads the European Community in welcoming foreign students to its
schools and universities, with over 120,000 guests registered in French
French public and private post-secondary educational institutions are divided
into the following categories:
> "Grandes Ecoles"
> Architecture Programs
> Business Schools
> Engineering Schools
> Health Care Programs
> Political Studies Institutes (IEP)
> Visual and Applied Arts Programs .
UniversitiesFrench public universities aim
to give a general education of high level in all academic areas.
These are completely subsidized by the government. Registration fees for
the academic year are in the range of 750 to 4500FF(approximately
to $750) in public institutions of higher education. In some cases,
additional fees to cover health insurance (sécurité sociale),
ranging from 2,500 to 5,000FF (about $430 to $860 depending on the
currency exchange rate), can also be incurred. These costs do not include
Degrees: 2 year degree= Diplôme d'Etudes Supérieures
BA= 3 year = Licence
MA= 4 year = Maîtrise
Ph.D= 7 years =Doctorat
fig. Ecole Normale Sup, Lyon
Grandes Ecoles are Institutions in higher education that limit the number of applicants admitted. Very competitive. To prepare for entrance competitions(e.g one in five gain admission ), lycee students must enrol in preparatory classes.(2 years PREPA). Students must sit for the competition corresponding to the stream taken in preparatory classes: scientific, technological and economic. These schools have a professional specialization that is not covered in universities : Grandes Ecoles: "Ecoles Polytechniques" (Engineering schools); Ecoles Superieures de Commerce e.g. HEC/ESC, Bordeaux, or Lyon, Paris.... (Business Schools)note: Business schools are funded by companies via the Chamber of Commerce. "Ecole Nationale d'Administration" e.g. ENA ( Public Administration Schools), Ecoles Normales Superieures (Higher Institutes for Education) .
Institutions for specific studies with a more vocational approach other than Engineering, Business, Administration (Grandes Ecoles)
|Handout 9 --Questions :
1. At what age can little French kids start "school"?
2. What are the US equivalents of CES ? of Lycee ?
3. In class Video clip: Where was the CES Pierre Brossolette
located in the community of Nogent le Retroux? What socio-economic
group does the school attract? How does the school adapt the curriculum
to the needs of students?
1--Give the pro and cons of an education system that focuses on standarized programs and national standards and exams in the primary and secondary education system as well as imposes entrance exams and preparatory classes for the Grandes Ecoles and for some top professional specialized schools (e.g schools of art/ architecture)
2--. It is said (see online article: Continuity
and Change in the System) that school has a symbolic
importance for the French. What is it? Which are the principles that govern
France 's concept of education ?
3--. France devotes its largest budget to education -7.3% of GDP , also
its education system is the biggest employer, yet there were and still
are issues in education. Outline these .
4. What is the origin and purpose of the system of the higher education
institutions called the Grandes Ecoles ? Explain .
5. Vocational training : cite some of the measures that France has taken
to help the students on a non-academic track, at the secondary school level.
6. What does "secular" mean in the context of schools in France?
Can you explain ? Is this a problem for multi -culturalism
in the French classrooms is creating?
7. What ARE the ERASMUS/LINGUA PROGRAMS?
Study in France? http://www.edufrance.fr/
French Cultural Services of the French Embassy:http://www. frenchculture.org/
Further reading: "Everything about French education "sites (click on English options)
Magazine: Label France no41 on education and the internet.http://www.france.diplomatie.fr/label_france/label.gb.html
Ministry of Education http://www.education.gouv.fr
French cultural services of Embassy: http://www.frenchculture.org/education/france/index.html )i
EduFrance(student exchanges): www.edufrance.fr
Educnet: information technology and distance learning:www.educnet.education.fr
Distance learning center: www.cned.fr
• Le Rond-Point : on-line university courses:http://rond-point.org/cours
•Europedu : promotion of European student mobility: www.sup.adc.education.fr/europedu/french/index.html
• Télésavoirs: topics on the internet (e.g. art) (www.canalweb.net)
• Cyber Papy: intergeneration on-line help (www.cyberpapy.com)
- L'Université de tous les savoirs(366 courses on all human knowledge/interactive)(www.2000enfrance.com/sites/utls)
• Savoir universel : interactive writing project with writers e.g. Furio Colombo, Umberto Eco et Jacques Le Goff, l'Académie, (www.academie-universelle.asso.fr) :title" Accepting diversity"