Storm Overseas inner page banner

Education System in France: A Brief Overview

The rich history of France is laden with so much grandeur that it's unfathomable. When one thinks about it, France is one of those European countries whose past contributions were so valuable that one could feel their impact even today! Modern society also thrives on French views. From food to fashion, France was and is the trendsetter. France is also one of the few countries in Europe that does not have an official religion. This allows for increased freedom of speech and a more secular government, which is an achievement by itself.


France is one of the international students' most popular study destinations due to its avant-garde framework. It has a world-class education system with a reputation for excellence in higher education. Moreover, it has some of the best universities in Europe and the world that have gone unchallenged for decades.


In this article today, we, at Storm Overseas, renowned study abroad consultants in India for France, will provide you with a brief overview of the education system in France.


An In-Depth Yet Brief Overview of Education in France

France has a three-tier education system, which starts with primary, then secondary, and concludes with higher education. Other types of education are also available for adults who want to study further. However, we will look into the three-tier education system in this topic.


  • Primary Education: Primary education in France starts at the age of six and lasts for five years. Primary education in France includes teaching subjects like Mathematics, French language and literature, History, Geography, Science and Technology. It also includes Philosophy for those who want to take it as an optional subject. In the primary stage of education in France, there are two types of schools: public schools or state schools are run by the government, whereas private organizations run private schools or independent schools.


  • Secondary Education: This stage is segregated into two parts. The first part of secondary education is called the "collège" and lasts four years. The collège is a middle school where children learn the basics of French and Mathematics. They also have to follow an hour of physical activity every day. The second part of secondary education is called the "lycée." It lasts for three years in general and can last up to 5 years depending on the student's choices. Students in the lycée have more freedom than those in the collège. They can choose what they want to study and which subjects they wish to take each year.


Another thing to note is that secondary education in France is characterized by the existence of two types of schools, public and private. The private schools are more expensive and have a higher level of quality than the public ones. Private schools are funded mainly by parents, but the government supports some. Public schools receive money from both the government and parents. Education in France is treated very seriously and is a shared responsibility; thus, the state runs most schools. The curriculum is standardized and the same for all French children in public schools. At the end of the secondary education examination, the students receive the Baccalauréat qualification (a high school diploma).


  • Higher or Tertiary Education: Higher education in France is a post-secondary education available to those who have obtained a Baccalauréat. The French higher education system was influenced by the Latin Quarter and the University of Paris, founded in 1253. The French higher education system is divided into three main stages. The first cycle refers to the three years of study after students have obtained their baccalaureate. The second cycle refers to a two-year program that leads to a "license" or bachelor's degree. The third cycle, which lasts three years, leads to an "agrégation" or degree. It must be noted that "higher education" refers to all education after the secondary phase in this country. It includes public and private universities, colleges, and technical schools.


The French higher education system has undergone significant changes since the 1990s. To improve its international competitiveness, France has reformed its university system, improved the quality of its teaching staff, and opened up new types of courses to meet market demands in response to globalization and technological change. It has thus attracted more international students at an unprecedented rate over the last decade and a half.


French Education: A Global Reality

France has the world's third highest number of Nobel prizes, and it is home to some of the most prestigious universities like École Polytechnique and École Normale Supérieure. Although it has a long tradition in science and higher education, the country wasn't preferred as a hot destination for international students. However, after significant reforms were made in the educational system, the country saw a massive surge in its popularity among international students. Today, the lure of French culture can be resisted by very few people. No wonder France has been consistently witnessing a huge influx of international students every year. If you are one among those who see France as their study destination but are unsure of the process and procedures you need to go through, feel free to connect with us at Storm Overseas, one of the best study abroad consultants in India for France. We will provide you with an in-depth understanding of all the requisites that will help make it a smooth sail for you!