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France:Short-Cycle 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

Branches of Study

These two-year courses, corresponding to a first cycle level, mainly concern the industrial, service and paramedical sectors.

Courses leading to the following diplomas may be cited:

  • Diplôme universitaire de technologie (DUT - technology university diploma) prepared in two years in instituts universitaires de technologie (IUT - technological university institutes). There are currently 24 specialisations, 16 of which are in production and 8 in services. Teaching units (UEs) acquired by students can now be added up and lead to the attribution of European credits (ECTS). It takes 120 credits to obtain the DUT, at a rate of 30 European credits per validated semester.
  • Diplôme d'études universitaires scientifiques et techniques (DEUST - university and technical studies diploma), prepared in two years, allows students to enter professional life directly. The number of these courses has tended to drop owing to the development of IUTs and STS (advanced technical institutions). Some universities, as well as schools supervised by the Department of Social Affairs, also run paramedical courses leading to a diploma qualifying for the following professions: speech therapist, orthoptist, hearing aid specialist, midwife, social worker, etc. Some of these courses are jointly organised with the Department of Health: masseurs - physiotherapists, nurses. This diploma will be phased out with the introduction of the new university diploma structure, LMD.
  • Brevet de technicien supérieur (BTS - Advanced Technician's Diploma), prepared in advanced technician sections (STS) open in more than 2,000 lycées (public, private under contract and private non-contract). The course lasts two years, is more specialised than courses leading to the DUT (see above) and corresponds to precise functions. BTS tracks are broken down into domains: Art and applied art, Agriculture-food processing, mechanics, chemistry, electronics, electricity, Services/Business… The integration of BTS courses within the framework of the European higher education area was confirmed by decree 2007-540 of 11 April 2007. The BTS has thus been integrated within courses leading to the "licence" (bachelor degree) and it has been confirmed that passing the diploma earns the holder 120 ECTS credits.
  • The “Licence professionnelle” (vocational bachelor degree) satisfies European commitments to set up a course to obtain a diploma adapted to the requirements of the European employment market as well as demand for new qualifications between the advanced technician and engineer-executive manager. It should enable students to rapidly acquire a professional qualification satisfying clearly identified requirements and professions. In initial training, the course is open to diversified groups of students coming from STS or IUT but also second year of general "licence". Differentiated courses lead young people from different backgrounds to the same qualifications. The professional "licence" is prepared in one year (or two semesters) after the DUT, BTS or 2 years of general "licence" (bachelor degree) and leads to the awarding of 18 European credits (ECST). It is also open to continuing training and thus offers working technicians the possibility of developing their career. It also accepts the validation of experience acquisition (VAE). At the start of the 2015-2016 academic year, 173 titles of professional Bachelor's degrees will exist instead of the 1844 previously offered.
  • The Classes Préparatoires aux Grandes Écoles (CPGE – Class preparing for admission to the Grandes Écoles) are accessible with a baccalauréat or an equal degree, after the review of the application by the selection commission (comprised of CPGE teachers). The admission process is highly selective. The two-year training does not provide a diploma, unlike the BTS or the DUT. Such courses are meant for student with a good school record, able to provide a high and sustained level of effort to deal with a significant workload and academic requirements. The best vocational baccalauréat students are awarded specific spots in classes préparatoires. All Classes préparatoires, mostly found in lycées but in universities as well, provide training that corresponds to the first cycle of higher education. Finally, the teachers are not higher education professors, but secondary school teachers who passed the Agrégation).

Admission Requirements

Admission main depends on institutions and the diplomas prepared. Nevertheless, all institutions demand that the applicants hold the baccalauréat or an officially accepted equivalent or dispensation. For instance, access to instituts universitaires de technologie (IUT - technological university institutes) is selective, based on an application dossier and interview with baccalauréat holders.

The law on higher education (ESR) gives priority access to STS to vocational baccalaureate graduates and priority access to IUT to technological baccalaureate graduates. In 2013, the acceptance rate for professional baccalaureate graduates to STS increased by 8% and by 3% for technological baccalaureate graduates to IUT.

Tackling social determinisms is a major objective in integrating students during their tertiary education. To this end, a measure in the order n°2014-610 of the 11th of June 2014 allows the best 10% of baccalauréat graduates of each branch from each lycée to benefit from an admission rights to the selective branches of higher education. This is valid even if the student’s application was denied during the registration on Admission Post-Bac (APB).

Access to the different levels of post-baccalauréat training dispensed by an institution supervised by the Department of Higher Education and Research (whether a university, institute or public-sector school) can also be authorised after validation of acquired experience. Holders of foreign qualifications or diplomas may apply for their validation. The president of the university or head of the institution decides on that validation after recommendation by the teaching commission.

The Classes Préparatoires aux Grandes Écoles, highly selective themselves, train baccalauréat-holding students for two years to take competitive examinations for admission to institutions and Grandes Écoles that recruit students starting the third year of higher education. If the trainee fails the prepared exams, there is a possibility of repeating the second year if the student’s level justifies it. These classes have seen, on average, 1.5% growth of the number of students since 2004, and they represented about 83 500 students for the 2013-2014 school year (RERS 2014, p. 187).

They are broken down into three categories:

  • literary classes preparing for entrance examinations to Écoles Normales Supérieures, École Nationale des Chartes, business and management schools and Instituts d'Études Politiques (IEP - political studies institutions). Students of literary tracks make up about 15% of all CPGE students;
  • economic and business classes preparing for business and management schools and Écoles Normales Supérieures. Students of business tracks make up about 24% of all CPGE students;
  • scientific classes preparing for entrance examinations to engineering colleges, Écoles Normales Supérieures and national veterinarian colleges. Students of scientific tracks make up more than 61% of all CPGE students.

No diplomas are awarded at the end of these preparatory years, but the students who fail to gain admission in the schools of their choice may obtain dispensations from a university by decision of the university president. Agreements signed between each lycée and a university allow them to validate acquired knowledge to obtain a 1st cycle diploma described in the form of ECTS (European credit transfer system) credits.

The decompartmentalisation between lycées and universities will be implemented in 2015. In the framework of the 2013 law on Higher education (ESR), conventions between lycées with CPGE and universities will be signed. These agreements aim to bring the classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles (CPGE - classes preparing for admission to the grandes écoles) closer to universities. Students in CPGE must automatically be enrolled in university. If a CPGE student wishes to suspend his or her CPGE schooling, he or she will, subject to approval of the branch head, be able to return to university, even in the course of the year. At the end of his or her 3rd year of CPGE, if the student is also enrolled at the same time in the 3rd year of a Bachelor's degree, he or she will be able to obtain a Bachelor's degree, following further tests. The validation of the three years of the Bachelor's degree will enable him or her to enrol in a Master's degree.

Curriculum

The order of 22 January 2014 structures studies into six semesters and organises it into domains in the form of standard initial and continuing training tracks.

The training combines theoretical, methodological, practical and applied teaching, to various degrees depending on the courses. Depending on training objectives, while ensuring that students acquire general culture, it can include elements of pre-professionalization, professionalization, individual or collective projects and one or several work placements. The law of 31 March 2006 on equal opportunities provided a compulsory work placement agreement, a limitation in the length of work placements outside educational courses to six months and compulsory remuneration for courses longer than two consecutive months.

Signed on 26 April 2006, the "Charter of student placements in companies" clarified the role of the higher education institution, the host company and the student required to put his or her knowledge into practice. The placement charter also provides three new guarantees aimed at securing work placement: statutory mentoring by a teacher and a member of the company; a standard agreement binding the three signatories: the teacher, the member of the company and the student; the introduction of assessment and monitoring methods.

Pursuant to the principles of the placement charter, each teaching institution, within the framework of its training policy, elaborates a placement policy that will be assessed as part of the contract binding the State and the institution. More recently, law no.2014-788 of 10 July 2014 brings a further guarantee to the work placements framework and to the improvement of the "stagiaire” (trainee) status.

Curricula include teaching of university work methods and documentary resources. The courses are organised as compulsory teaching units (UE) chosen freely by the student and optional teaching units if applicable. Training includes appropriate modern languages and the use of IT tools.

The Certificat de Compétences en Langues de l’Enseignement Supérieur (CLES - Higher Education Language Competence Certificate), created by the order of 22 May 2000, is a certificate accredited by the Department of Education and endorsed by the Common European framework of reference for Languages (CECRL). It evaluates students' operational communication skills in several languages. The CLES is a complete certification system as it directly assesses 5 competences:

  • oral comprehension;
  • written comprehension;
  • written production;
  • oral production
  • oral interaction.

It is currently available in 9 languages: English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Polish, Modern Greek and Russian. The offer is progressively enriched by new languages.

The CLES is aimed at students in initial training: all students enrolled in any type of higher education institution, regardless of their year, as long as they are not specialists in the CLES certification language that they want to take. For example: an English student cannot take an English CLES (regardless the CLES level) but can take a Spanish CLES to certify his/her skills in this language which is not his/her specialist language. Finally, students can take any CLES level exam at any time in their university career.

Moreover, the circular dated 30 April 2002 introduced the IT and internet certificate (C2i® level 1) to give students the skills needed to continue higher education and to assess their skills according to technological developments. All universities have now set up C2i® level 1. In view of the increasingly important role played by information and communication technology in society, the provisions of circular no. 2011-012 of 9th June 2011 specify the approved institutions, relevant target groups, preparatory training to be taken by students enrolled in an institution, certification conditions, follow-up and transitory provisions.

According to these provisions, the preparation for certification should, whenever possible, start in the first year of the "licence" (bachelor degree) cycle, in particular, in the course of the first semester and be integrated into institutions' LMD models.

The skills targeted by the C2i® level 1 are developed in the referential that covers 20 skills divided into 5 domains, i.e.:

  • Working in a changing digital environment;
  • Being responsible in the digital era;
  • Producing, using and broadcasting digital files;
  • Organising information searches in the digital era;
  • Working in a network, communicating and cooperating.

These skills are to be acquired through teaching activities involving one or several or cross-cutting through different disciplines. The aim is to pass the C2i® level 1 before the end of the first cycle of higher eudcation.

Teaching Methods

As for the curricula, each institution is responsible for its teaching organisation. For university teaching, there are nevertheless national regulations setting the general provisions for the organisation of teaching. Training is mainly dispensed in the form of lectures, tutorials and practical work which the university is required to balance according to the purposes of each course.

In the framework of the ESR Law, teaching in a foreign language is now authorised. Moreover, digital support has been implemented as a cornerstone for student success. On December 16th 2013, the "France Université Numérique" (FUN – France Digital University) action plan was launched, followed by the opening of the MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) France Université Numérique platform in January 2014.

Progression of Students

To ensure consistent teaching, institutions define the rules of progress within the framework of courses they organise over a period of two years. Generally speaking, admission to the second year depends on the student's results in continuous assessment during the year.

Employability

All short higher education diplomas are designed with the aim of the student's integration in the employment market. Curriculum content is defined by taking into account the needs of the economy. Consultation are organised nationally and regionally to define this content and the location of courses.

The law of July 10th 2014 on the supervision of placements aims to simplify legislation, improve the status of trainees and reinforce the pedagogical and professionalising role of placements. Furthermore, the implementation of a “Sup’Emploi” committee to include the professional sphere in training strategies and to respond to fields under stress and emerging fields (digital and energy transition) has enabled the development of work-linked training in higher education. By 2020, the objective is to double work-linked training tracks and to improve professional insertion.

Students Assessment

Diplomas are awarded by successfully passing written and oral tests on the course content. In non-university institutions - for example in lycées teaching BTS - a continuous assessment system or annual examinations may assess students' progress from the first year of studies, until the end diploma is completed. Usually, training includes a practical placement which results in a placement report, taken into consideration in the assessment of the diploma.

Certification

Short higher education leads to the following national diplomas:

  • diplôme universitaire de technologie (DUT - technological university diploma);
  • brevet de technicien supérieur (BTS - advanced technician diploma);
  • diplôme d'études universitaires scientifiques et techniques (DEUST-university and technical studies diploma).

Authorisation to attribute university diplomas is granted or renewed by the Secretary of State for Higher Education on the basis of an application presented by the institution, assessed by the scientific and technical mission composed of experts and examined by a Comité d'expertise pédagogique des projets d'établissement (CEPPE - teaching expert committee on the institution's projects) or a national committee, after approval by the Conseil national de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche (CNESER - National Council for Higher Education and Research).

Organisational Variation

There is no organisational variation for this level of studies.