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France:National Qualifications Framework

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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

Since the Law on social modernisation no. 2002 – 73, France has a Répertoire national des certifications professionnelles (RNCP - National repository of professional certifications) controlled by the Commission (CNCP).

Aims of the Répertoire national de certifications professionnelles (RNCP - National repository of professional certifications)

The Répertoire national des certifications professionnelles - National Repository of Professional Certifications aims to provide individuals and companies with constantly updated information on professional diplomas and titles. It facilitates access to employment, human resources management and professional mobility. Certifications registered in the repository are recognised throughout France.
In practice, the RNCP is a means to consult certification description: targeted activities, sector, acquired skills, access conditions, etc.
An updated quantitative statement of the repository (number of sheets available on-line, number of sheets pending validation, statement per certifying body, etc.) is regularly available to users.

Certification classification criteria

The decree founding the RNCP (decree 2002/616) specifies that certifications should be classified into two criteria:

  • the fields of activity specified by the nomenclature of specialities is used to identify professional or disciplinary fields concerned by certification;
  • a training level. The National professional certification commission (Commission nationale de la certification professionnelle - CNCP), in charge of the RNCP, is in charge of drafting a new nomenclature of required training levels, linked to occupied jobs capable of allowing European and international comparisons. In the meantime, it uses the national 5-level nomenclature, adopted in 1969:

– level V: brevet des collèges level (lower secondary school leaving certificate);
– level IV: baccalauréat level (upper secondary school leaving certificate );
– level III: baccalauréat level + 2 years' additional study;
– level II: baccalauréat level + 3 or + 4 years' additional study;
– level I: level at least equal to the baccalauréat + 5 years' additional study.
 
Each certification is described in terms of learning results / professional finality. Certifications are considered to be "qualification indicators" when they state that an individual has a proven level of knowledge, skills and attitudes certifying that he or she is capable of combining them all in a broad professional context with previously defined level of responsibility and autonomy.


Categories of identified certifications

Three types of recordable certifications have been defined:

  • certifications issued by the Department for Education and 6 other ministries with specific commissions composed of State and social partner representatives: Ministries of Agriculture, Culture (only for certain certifications), Employment, Health, Social affairs, Youth and Sport;
  • certifications issued by professional branches and decided within the framework of agreements between social partners;
  • certifications issued by other departments, public or private institutions or chambers of commerce and guilds.


The creation of the RNCP aimed at setting up a unique reference area to identify professional certifications. The repository of general certifications does not include: brevet des collèges (lower secondary school leaving certificate), general and technological baccalauréats (upper secondary school leaving certificate). However, the minister for higher education and research has decided to register all university certifications when it considers that they have a vocational purpose. This explains the large number of university certifications rightfully present in the RNCP.

Organisation responsible for the RNCP: Commission nationale de la certification professionnelle - national vocational certification commission

The National Vocational Certification Commission (Commission nationale de la certification professionnelle - CNCP) is responsible for the creation and monitoring of the RNCP. Established by the Law of social modernisation no. 2002 – 73, the CNCP is placed under the authority of the Minister in charge of vocational training. It consists of 43 members: ministerial representatives, regional representatives, social partners (e.g. professional organisations representing employers and employees), representatives of guilds, chambers of commerce and chambers of agriculture and qualified persons. Its mission is to:

  • List the range of vocational certifications (creation and updating of the Répertoire national des certifications professionnelles - national vocational certification repository);
  • Inform people and companies about the certifications listed by the national repository and certifications recognised in the member states of the European community;
  • Ensure consistency, complementarity and renewal of diplomas and titles as well as their adaptation to the evolution of qualifications and work organisation;
  • Give a public opinion prior to elaborating and creating vocational certifications rightfully registered in the national repository;
  • Make a public assessment of vocational qualification certificates;
  • Make recommendations aimed at institutions issuing diplomas, vocational titles or professional qualification certificates;
  • Notify any total or partial matches between certifications registered in the national repository as well as between them and other certifications, in particular, European ones;
  • Elaborate a new nomenclature of certification levels in line with jobs occupied.


Under the authority of its president, the CNCP relies on the work of a specialised commission, a permanent secretariat and a network of regional correspondents.

Links between the RNCP and lifelong education and training policy

Within the RNCP, each certification is described in terms of learning results / professional finality and not simply in terms of diplomas. Each certification should therefore be accessible through the validation of Validation des Acquis d’Expérience (VAE - validation of learning from experience). The VAE is one of the pillars of French lifelong education and training: it is a measure that allows anyone, regardless of their age, level of qualification or status, to validate acquired experience to obtain a professional certificate. Three years' experience related to the content of the targeted certification is required.

Links between the RNCP and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF)

The CNCP contributes to international work on qualifications transparency. It is in charge of elaborating new nomenclature on levels of certification liable to match up with the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong education and training (EQF).
In 2010, the CNCP particularly focused its efforts on building a new nomenclature that will better differentiate levels of higher education, in compliance with the Bologna Process and better take into account changes having occurred in recent years in the vocational certification field.

Two types of problems have been raised during this work:

  • Certifications raise problems in terms of matching in view of the difference between their notification on the employment market and their level in the RNCP;
  • The Bologna process (installation of the Bachelor-Master-Doctorate structure, matching of university certifications within Council of Europe countries) encourages a "relaxation" of level I and II of the current nomenclature and between several levels: it is envisaged to take levels I and II higher education diplomas towards 3 levels of certification scheduled by the EQF (levels 6, 7 and 8). The 5 levels of the current nomenclature do not seem to be sufficient to establish effective matches with the 8 EQF levels.