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France:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

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Overview France

Contents

France:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

France:Historical Development

France:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

France:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

France:Political and Economic Situation

France:Organisation and Governance

France:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

France:Lifelong Learning Strategy

France:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

France:Organisation of Private Education

France:National Qualifications Framework

France:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

France:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

France:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

France:Funding in Education

France:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

France:Higher Education Funding

France:Adult Education and Training Funding

France:Early Childhood Education and Care

France:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

France:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

France:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

France:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

France:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

France:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

France:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

France:Primary Education

France:Organisation of Primary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

France:Assessment in Primary Education

France:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

France:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

France:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

France:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

France:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

France:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

France:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

France:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

France:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

France:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

France:Higher Education

France:Types of Higher Education Institutions

France:First Cycle Programmes

France:Bachelor

France:Short-Cycle Higher Education

France:Second Cycle Programmes

France:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

France:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

France:Adult Education and Training

France:Distribution of Responsibilities

France:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

France:Main Providers

France:Main Types of Provision

France:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

France:Teachers and Education Staff

France:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

France:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

France:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

France:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Management and Other Education Staff

France:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

France:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

France:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

France:Management Staff for Higher Education

France:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

France:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Quality Assurance

France:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

France:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

France:Educational Support and Guidance

France:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

France:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

France:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

France:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

France:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

France:Mobility and Internationalisation

France:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Mobility in Higher Education

France:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

France:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

France:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

France:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

France:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

France:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

France:National Reforms in School Education

France:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

France:National Reforms in Higher Education

France:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

France:European Perspective

France:Legislation

France:Glossary

Planning Policy

By virtue of the reform of the teacher-researcher status introduced by decree no. 2009-460 of April 23rd, 2009 and the decree no. 2015-652 of June 10th, 2015, all routine management actions regarding the career of these personnel which were previously the responsibility of the minister for higher education, are transferred to the presidents of universities and directors of higher education institutions.

However, certain actions remain under ministerial responsibility, such as the appointment of lecturers and university professors, which remain respectively the prerogative of the minister for higher education and the President of the French Republic, post-secondment integration actions or the granting of a long-term leave of absence when the opinion of the higher medical committee is required as well as actions relating to termination of service.

Entry to the Profession

Maîtres de conférence (Lecturers)

Recruitment also comprises a two-phase process: qualification and recruitment by examination. The positions to be filled are open, by institution and discipline, to the candidates registered on a list of qualification for lecturer functions established by the National University Council. As with university professors, French nationality is not a pre-requisite for eligibility.

Qualification list: candidates seeking registration on the qualification list must either:

  • have a Doctorate or an equivalent degree; 
  • have, by 1 January of the year of registration, at least three years of professional experience, excluding teaching or research activities in public scientific and technological institutions; 
  • be a full-time assistant teacher; 
  • be temporarily transferred for at least one year as a lecturer; 
  • or belong to a body of researchers. 

Requests for registration onto the lecturer qualification list, provided along with an individual application form, are reviewed by the competent section of the National council of universities, which may have recourse to external experts asked to give a written opinion of the applications. Qualification is determined by considering the various projects completed by the teacher-researchers.

After reviewing the applications, the competent section of the National council of universities establishes the list of qualified lecturers, in alphabetical order. Rejected applications are accompanied by an explanatory report.

The list of qualified lecturers is published in the official gazette and is valid for a four-year period. The candidates occupying a teacher-researcher position of an equivalent level to that of the available job, in a higher education institution in a country other than France, can however be exempted from the qualification. The institution’s scientific council gives its opinion on the certifications and work of those concerned as well as on the level of their positions in light of the report established by two experts in the discipline concerned. 

Recruitment by examination: once registered on the list, the candidates may apply directly for vacant positions in higher education institutions, currently published twice a year.

Higher education institutions have the possibility of recruiting teacher-researchers, either at any time during the year as part of the “continuous” procedure, or during the “common timetable” session. This session is characterised by a timetable common to all institutions and enabling the posting of the successful applicants as of 1st September of the year in question. 

Applications are assessed by a selection committee, the rules governing the constitution and operation of which are defined statutorily. This body examines the application and gives an opinion to the board of directors meeting in a special session open only to teacher-researchers. This board of directors makes the final recruitment decision and communicates an appointment proposal to the minister.

University professors

University professors are in theory recruited by open competitive examinations by the institution concerned. But nationwide agrégation competitive examinations are organised in the disciplines of law, politics, economics and management. 

The process takes place in two stages: qualification and recruitment.
 
Candidates for university professor positions in general must have been certified to manage research projects through a national degree issued by a university or another institution of higher education, and have participated in high-level scientific projects after obtaining their doctorate.

However, candidates with university degrees, qualifications and foreign degrees of an equivalent level may be excused from having a certification to manage research projects. This decision is made by the National council of universities when the candidate is registered on the qualification list. The derogation is valid for a four-year period. Candidates without French nationality may register to take the exam.

Qualification: qualification requests, which must be presented along with an individual application form, are reviewed by the competent section of the National University Council, which may ask external experts to submit a written opinion on the applications. Qualification is determined by considering the various projects completed by the teacher-researchers. Once the applications have been reviewed, the section presents the qualification list in alphabetical order. Rejected applications are accompanied by an explanatory report. The list of qualification as a university professor is published in the Journal Officiel. It is valid for four years.

The candidates occupying a teacher-researcher position equivalent to that of the available job, in a higher education institution in a country other than France, can however be exempt from the qualification. The institution’s scientific council gives its opinion on the certifications and work of those concerned as well as on the level of their positions in light of the report established by two experts in the discipline concerned.

Recruitment by examination: once registered on the qualification list, the candidates are recruited via competitive exams organised by each institution according to the number of vacant positions.

Higher education institutions have the possibility of recruiting teacher-researchers, at any time during the year as part of the “continuous” procedure, or during the “common timetable” session. This session is characterised by a timetable common to all institutions with available positions and enables the posting of the successful applicants as of 1st September of the year in question. 

Applications are assessed by a selection committee, the rules governing the constitution and operation of which are defined statutorily. This body examines the application and gives an opinion to the board of directors meeting in a special session open only to teacher-researchers. This board of directors makes the final recruitment decision and communicates an appointment proposal to the minister.

Special case: in legal, economic, political and management fields, university professors are recruited either through a national Agrégation exam, or through an exam given by the institution and open only to lecturers who have the required degrees, as explained above, and having taught at least ten years in an institution of higher education as of January 1st, serving five of the ten years as lecturers.

Two national Agrégation examinations are organised periodically in the legal, political, economics and management fields: one is an external exam open to candidates having obtained a doctorate, and the other is an internal exam open only to lecturers who are at least 40 years old and have taught for at least ten years at an institution of higher education. Those who pass the exam are placed in order of rank.

The Agrégation exam contains two tests:

  • the first consists in a review of the candidates’ degrees and teaching career by a panel, followed by a discussion with the candidates about their work; 
  • for the second, the candidates authorised to continue the exam must teach three classes.

Associate teachers

It is important to mention associate teachers, who can have French or foreign nationality. Associate professors are appointed by the authorities competent to appoint permanent professors in the same category, on the proposal of the bodies systematically consulted for the appointment of permanent professors. Full-time associate professors are hired for three years. In order to be recruited as full-time associate professors, candidates must have obtained professional experience outside of teaching and research (seven years of experience to be recruited as an associate lecturer, nine years as an associate professor), or hold a doctorate or another equivalent university degree and have held teaching or research functions abroad.

The conditions for recruitment as a part-time associate professor are more flexible. Candidates must have at least three years initial professional experience (excluding teaching positions) and professional experience related to the discipline to be taught. As is the case for full-time associate professors and permanent teacher-researchers, appointments are made by the authorities competent to appoint full-time personnel of the same category, on the proposal of bodies statutorily concerned by the appointment of full-time personnel of the same category.

Associate teachers and full-time visiting professors have the same service obligations as those of full-time teacher-researchers of the same category. Their service obligations are determined in relation to the reference working hours of teacher-researchers corresponding with the reference working hours in the public sector, i.e. 128 teaching hours or 192 hours of guided studies for full-time associate teachers and half of this for part-time associate teachers.

Permanent secondary education teachers

Certain teachers belonging to this category can be posted to higher education: some vacant positions in higher education can be filled by secondary level teachers (agrégés teachers, or professors having obtained the CAPES, CAPET or CAPLP in public education). Candidates must be teachers or trainees. They can be currently employed or placed on "availability", on delayed nomination or on leave. 

Secondary education teachers working in higher education institutions must perform 384 hours of guided studies per year. 

Temporary teaching and research assistants (ATER)

They are recruited to fill fixed-term contracts, which cannot exceed four years. Candidates are students in the last year of their master’s thesis or young doctoral candidates. They can work part or full-time, for a total of 128 hours of classes, 192 hours of guided studies, or 288 hours of practical applications.
 
Moniteurs (Coordinators)

The status of Moniteurs is governed by decree no. 2009-464 of  April 23rd, 2009 regarding to doctoral students under contract with higher education or research institutions and enables the students enrolled with a view to preparing for a doctoral degree to benefit from a single contract which can include, in addition to the research activities associated with their doctoral degree course, assignments in terms of teaching, research, research promotion, scientific and technical information or appraisal assignments in companies.

Lecteurs (Readers) and foreign language professors

They are governed by the decree no. 87-754 of 14 September 1987, modified by the decree no. 2013-310 of April 11th, 2013, and are recruited for one or two years by higher education institutions. Lecteurs must perform 300 hours of practical applications, whereas the professors must perform 288 hours.

Auxiliaries

They can teach classes, perform guided studies or practical applications. They are chosen for their expertise in scientific or professional fields, and they must have a professional activity in addition to their teaching activity. They teach occasionally or regularly, and are paid at the currently valid rate. 

Temporary auxiliaries

They are students of at least 28 years by 1 September of the current academic year, and preparing for a third-cycle degree in higher education. They are also recruited amongst candidates less than 65 years of age benefiting from a retirement pension. They can perform either guided studies (96 hours maximum) or practical applications (144 hours maximum).

Professional Status

Teachers in higher education are Category A civil servants and are therefore subject to the rules that apply to all civil servants. In addition, they benefit from a certain number of traditional guarantees, designed to maintain their independence and freedom of expression (in particular, recruitments and promotions are decided by bodies made up entirely of their peers).

  1. Teacher-researchers :
  • University professors (subjects of law, politics, economics and management, literature and humanities, science and pharmacy), primarily responsible for providing a teaching service in the form of classes and managing research units;
  • Maîtres de Conférence (subjects of law, politics, economics and management, literature and humanities, science and pharmacy), mainly responsible for the preparation of education and research programmes, student guidance, co-ordination of educational teams.
  1. Medical studies teaching personnel

Teaching and hospital care personnel perform their functions in university hospitals. They are university professors-hospital practitioners and university lecturers- hospital practitioners involved in medical, odontological and pharmaceutical disciplines. They perform a triple function of education, research and care and are under the dual authority of the ministers for higher education and health.

Medical disciplines also involve general medicine teaching personnel, governed by a recent statute, i.e. decree no. 2008-744 of 28 July 2008. Professors of general medicine and general medicine lecturers jointly perform teaching, initial and continuing education and research functions, as well as care functions in general and outpatient medicine.

  1. Secondary education teachers

This category regroups secondary education teachers such as certified teachers, professeurs agrégés, technical deputy lycée teachers.

  • Agrégés teachers and certified teachers who can be posted to higher education and appointed to specific secondary education posts created in higher education institutions;
  • Professors of the École Nationale Supérieure des arts et métiers (National Higher Education institution of Arts and Crafts) who can be posted to higher education and appointed to posts corresponding with their category in order to perform their activities.
  1. Other teachers
  • Temporary teaching and research assistants (ATER) who, as well as their teaching duties, perform research work with a view to obtaining a doctorate; there are several categories (civil servants belonging to category A on secondment, foreign teachers or researchers, doctoral students finishing their thesis or who have presented their thesis, co-ordinators);
  • Co-ordinators who have already been allocated a research grant;
  • Doctoral students under contract;
  • Part-time teachers : part-time teachers selected for their expertise in the scientific, cultural or professional sector and part-time temporary teachers under 28 enrolled in a preparation course for a master qualification;
  • Associated or guest teaching staff (PAST) who must attest to a professional experience (other than teaching activity) of 7 of the last 9 years for the functions of associated lecturer and 9 years for the functions of associated professor; the duration of the assignment is 6 months minimum to 3 years, renewable without exceeding 6 years in total.
    • Full-time associates appointed for a period which cannot be less than 6 months or exceed 6 years;
    • Part-time associates who must have another activity exercised for at least 3 years and directly related to the speciality taught;
    • Full-time guests;
    • Part-time guests;
  • Foreign language assistants and foreign language teachers.

Foreign language assistants teach 300 hours of tutorials each year to students, 100 hours of which can be converted into guided studies
Foreign language teachers are involved in all teaching-related tasks. Their annual service teaching students is set at 288 hours of tutorials or 192 hours of guided studies or any equivalent combination or, finally but under exceptional circumstances, classes.

Salaries

The remuneration of teachers in higher education is set by the State. It consists of a basic statutory salary, given by a salary scale which is fixed by decree no.2013-305 of 10 April 2013 as well as various allowances.

The treatment of teacher-researcher changes with his career seniority. Seniority bonuses can be awarded to lecturers and university professors that are voluntarily mobile.

Monthly basic statutory salary (euros)
Maîtres de conférences (Lecturers)

University professors

Minimum
€2,102
€3,047
Maximum
€4,459
€6,112

Additional allowances and remunerations for higher education teachers

In addition to their basic salaries, teachers in tertiary education receive: 

  • A research and higher education allowance, given to all teacher-researchers working in higher education institutions. Amount: €1,245. 

They may also receive the following allowances: 

  • A scientific excellence bonus, which replaces the bonus to support doctoral studies and research, which can be granted for a renewable period of four years by the presidents or directors of public higher education and research institutions to the personnel whose scientific activity is deemed excellent by the evaluation bodies to which they report, as well as personnel involved in a doctoral supervision activity. This bonus can also be granted to personnel who have been awarded a national or international scientific honour by a research organisation;
  • An administration bonus if the teacher-researcher performs the functions of a president or director of a higher education institution, director of an Insitut Universitaire de Technologie (IUT – University Technology Institute), institute or school within a university, or if he/she is in charge of administrative functions for the ministry;
  • An administrative expenses bonus, if the teacher-researcher performs administrative duties or a temporary assignment defined by the institution;
  • An educational responsibilities bonus, if the teacher performs specific educational duties other than his/her service obligations. The list of educational responsibilities covered by this bonus, the list of beneficiaries and the amount of the bonus are determined every year by the head of the institution after consultation with the board of directors, within the limitation of an allowance allocated for this purpose by the minister for higher education. The amount of this bonus varies depending on the nature of the duties performed.

Teacher-researchers may also receive funds for teaching complementary courses in addition to their mandatory course load. The rates are as follows: 

  • One-hour lecture: €61.35;
  • One hour of guided classes:€40.91;
  • One hour of guided classes: €27.26;

Other sources of additional income include research-related work, copyright, consulting and expertise.

Working Time and Holidays

Half of the teacher-researchers’ standard working time is made up of teaching services determined in relation to standard annual time equal to 128 class hours, or 192 hours of guided studies or practical classes or any equivalent combination in initial, continuing or distance education; the other half is made up of research activities.
 
The service of a teacher-researcher can be adjusted, subject to his/her approval, so as to include a number of teaching hours less or greater than 128 hours of class, or 192 hours of guided studies. This service adjustment cannot however result in a teaching service of less than 42 hours of lectures or 164 hours of guided studies or practical classes. It must also leave each teacher-researcher with significant time for his/her research activities.

Teacher-researchers, like all State civil servants, have the same holiday time, as described in Article 34 of Law no. 84-16 of 11 January 1984, including annual holidays, maternity leave, adoption leave, etc.

Promotion, Advancement

University professors and lecturers can advance to higher levels and classes. Advancement to a higher level for lecturers, first-class professors and second-class professors occurs by seniority.

University professors advance from the second to the first class, either after consultation with the relevant section of the national Council of universities or after consultation with the institution’s board of directors, based on the number of available positions in the institution, all disciplines combined.

For Maîtres de Conférence (Lecturers), advancement from normal category to "hors-classe" takes place by choice, according to the following procedures: after consultation with the relevant section of the national Council of universities or after consultation with the institution’s board of directors, based on the number of available positions in the institution, all disciplines combined.

Lecturers are also eligible to become university professors by taking a special recruitment exam. The exam is open to those with ten years of service in an institution of higher education, five of which with the status of lecturer.

Retirement and Pensions

In France, the retirement age varies according to the date of birth of individuals. The retirement age varies between 60 and 62 years. If one wants, one can continue to work until he reaches the age of "automatic full rate" retirement pension, age which varies between 65 and 67 years. Teacher-researchers can request to continue working up until 31 August when they reach the age limit over the course of the school year. University professors can request to be kept on in redundancy until 31 August after their 68th birthday.