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France:Types of Higher Education Institutions

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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

The French higher education system is characterised by the coexistence of a plurality of institutions which share the dispensing of higher education. They belong to different legal categories, defined in the French Code of Education (book VII). Distinctions can be made between:

  • Universities
  • Schools and institutes outside of universities
  • Higher education institutions, French schools abroad and "grands établissements" (major institutions)
  • "Communautés d’universités et établissements" (COMUE - Communities of Universities and Schools)
  • Universities

    Universities are scientific, cultural and professional public institutions (E.P.S.C.P.) as defined by the 1984 Savary Law and in the tradition of the Faure Law (1968) which already defined the concept of the "scientific and cultural public institution".

    Organised since 1984 into training and research units (U.F.R.), they also include internal institutions and schools that dispense technical and short-term training: these are instituts universitaires de technologie (IUT - technological university institutes) providing short higher education.

    Since the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year, the IUFMs have been replaced by the Écoles Supérieures du Professorat et de l’Éducation (ESPE - Higher Schools for Teaching and Education) to ensure the training of all teachers, pedagogical education advisers, as well as students who have decided to go into other education professions and those who wish to develop skills in the field of teaching, education and training. The ESPEs are parts of universities attached to one or several Public Institutions of a Scientific, Cultural and Professional Nature (EPSCP), to a Research and Higher Education Hub (PRES) or a future Community of Universities (COMUE).

    Grands établissements publics (Major public institutions)

    "Grands établissements" are higher education institutions mainly admitting on the basis of an entrance exam taken by students in “classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles” (CPGE -classes preparing for admission to Grandes Ecoles). They are governed by the provisions of chapter VII of the Education Code and their statutory decrees. The following fall under this category: Collège de France, Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (CNAM), Ecole centrale des arts et manufactures (ECAM), Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), Ecole nationale des Chartes (ENC), Ecole nationale supérieure d’arts et métiers (ENSAM), institut Polytechnique de Bordeaux (IPB), Ecole nationale supérieure des sciences de l’information et des bibliothèques (ENSSIB), Ecole pratique des hautes études (EPHE), Institut d’études politiques de Paris (IEP), Institut de physique du globe de Paris (IPG), Observatoire de Paris, Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (INALCO), Muséum national d’histoire naturelle (MNHN), Palais de la découverte, Institut national d’histoire de l’art (INHA), Université de technologie en sciences des organisations et de la décision de Paris-Dauphine, Ecole des hautes études en santé publique (EHESP), Institut polytechnique de Grenoble.


    Higher schools and institutions outside universities

    These schools and institutes outside of universities have an administrative board, assisted by a Scientific Council and a Council for Studies and Student Life. Universities of Technology, National Institutes of Applied Science and "Écoles Centrales" (outside of Paris) fall within this category.

    Écoles Normales Supérieures, Grands Établissements and French schools abroad

    The Écoles Normales Supérieures (ENS - Normal Higher Schools) are part of the “Grandes Écoles”, which are characterised by a very selective admissions policy and the high level of training and qualifications dispensed.

    "Grands établissements" are higher education institutions mainly admitting on the basis of an entrance exam taken by students in “classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles” (CPGE -classes preparing for admission to Grandes Écoles). The following fall under this category: l’Institut d’études politiques de Paris (IEP), l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), l’École nationale des Chartes (ENC), l’Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (INALCO), le Muséum national d’histoire naturelle (MNHN), le Palais de la découverte, l’Institut national d’histoire de l’art (INHA), l’Université de technologie en sciences des organisations et de la décision de Paris-Dauphine, l’École des hautes études en santé publique (EHESP), l’Institut polytechnique de Grenoble.

    There are also institutions whose purpose is to carry out traditional tasks of sovereignty, placed under the supervision of various ministries, such as the École Nationale d’Administration (ENA - National Administration School) which depends on the French Prime Minister, or the École Polytechnique and the Special Military Academy of Saint-Cyr which depend on the Ministry of Defence.

    French schools abroad (the French School in Athens, the French School in Rome, the French Institute for Oriental Archaeology in Cairo and the Casa de Velásquez in Madrid) are in charge of carry out basic field research and research training.

    Communautés d'universités et d'établissements (COMUE - Communities of Universities and Schools)

    Since the planning law for research of the 18th of April 2006 and the 2013 ESR Law, higher education institutions can decide to pool together their activities and resources by creating "Communautés d’Universités et d'Etablissements" (COMUE - Communities of Universities and Schools), which replace the former "Pôles de recherche et d'Enseignement supérieur" (PRES - Higher Education Research Hubs). Their aim is to create a momentum between the different types of institution (universities, grandes écoles or research organisations) and propose a more consistent and legible research and training system.

    27 COMUE currently exist in France, 7 of which were created on the 29th and the 30th of December 2014. The development of COMUEs is accompanied by the autonomy of universities. These two processes are currently redefining the map of universities in France.

    Outline of the French higher education system in 2014(Source: ONISEP, 2014)