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Unit 5

5.2 Education: (L'éducation) 🏫

4 min readnovember 16, 2020

duggancl

Claire Duggan


AP French  🇫🇷

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Education

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Public education is free (gratuit) for all French citizens 🇫🇷 and compulsory (obligatoire) between the ages of 3 and 16, although many children and young adults continue their studies well past the age of 16. There are three types of schools in France 🏫 🏫 🏫. The first type is public schools (écoles publiques), which are state-run and free.
The second type is under contract private schools (sous contract), in which students follow the same national curriculum as those in public schools (set by the Ministre de l'Éducation), teachers 👨‍🏫 👩‍🏫 are paid by the French government, and fees are reasonably low 💶. Finally, there are also private schools (écoles privées), which are independent (hors contract) and fee-paying 💶 💶.

Educational stages  Organization de l'école

  • Nursery School (école maternelle) 👶
    • 3 years of nursery school
    • Ages 3-6
    • Organized by sections: petite, moyenne et grande section
  • Primary School (école élémentaire) 🧒
    • 5 years of primary school
    • Ages 6-11
    • Organized by grade level: CP, CE1, CE2, CM1 et CM2
  • Middle School (collège) 🧒
    • 4 years of middle school
    • Organized by grade level: la 6e, la 5e, la 4e et la 3e
  • High School (lycée) 🧑
    • 3 years of high school
    • Organized by grade level: la seconde, la première et la terminale
    • Students can choose between two programs after la secondela voie générale ou la voie technologique
    • Students are prepared for the baccalauréat exam, which is taken in one of three areas of specialty: scientifique, économique et social ou littéraire
  • University (université) 👩‍🎓
    • French universities are open to all students who have passed their baccalauréat
    • The area of speciality in which a student passed their baccalaureate exam determines which courses a student can pursue at the university level
    • There are three places students can pursue their higher education: lycée, université et grandes écoles
    • Lycées are in fact high schools, but unlike in most high schools around the world, students can stay for an additional two years, pursuing courses that are equivalent to the first two years of university: les classes préparatoires
    • At les universités, students are awarded three types of degrees: a license after 3 years of study, a maîtriseafter 5 years of study, and a doctorat after a minimum of 8 years of study
    • Les grandes écoles are the most competitive higher ed institutions, with relatively small class sizes. Entry into these schools is at "bac+2" (baccalaureate + 2 years - completed at a lycée)

France vs USA: Education Edition 🇺🇸 🇫🇷

  • Schedule (emploi du temps) 🗓️
    • French school days are usually longer than those in the United States. The school day often starts at 8 am and ends between 5 and 6 pm. Additionally, students in France may go to school 4, 4.5, or 5 days a week depending on the region.
  • Sports and after-school activities (les sports et les activités parascolaires) 🏈 ⚽
    • While sports play an important role in US education, including acceptance to higher ed institutions, there is not as strong as a connection between schooling and sports in France. This is not to say that students don't have physical education courses in France, but academic success and sports are not interconnected. Similarly, while school clubs do exist in France, they do not play as central of a role.
  • Grading (système de notation) 💯
    • In the US a letter system (A-F) is used, but in France, grading is number based, which each assignment or assessment being out of 20. In France, students' acceptance does not rely on their GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but rather on their performance on the baccalauréat exam.
  • Relationships between teachers and students (rapports entre les profs et les élèves) 👩‍🏫 👨‍🎓
    • Student-teacher relationships are more formal in France than in the US. There are fewer opportunities for students and teachers to get to know each other outside the classroom in France, such as during clubs or other school-wide activities in the US.
*Information gathered from Wayland Student Press and Expatica

Strive for five vocabulary 🔑

  • Le système éducatif - education system
  • École maternelle - nursery school
  • École élémentaire (ou primaire) - elementary (or primary) school
  • Collège - middle school
  • Lycée - high school
  • Université - university
  • Les Grandes Écoles - France's most selective higher ed institutions
  • Emploi du temps - schedule
  • Activité parascolaire - after-school activity
  • Système de notation - grading system

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