France is a nation focused on culture. It is in many ways the “cultural capital of the world” (Lect. Notes #7 Sp. 99). France has always been an inspiration for many artists. Due to its strong culture and other moral factors, France is a country afraid of change and its education system is subject to this fear (Whitney 4). In France today, the education system is very similar to what it has been in the past. As other nations take steps to reform and improve their educational facilities France must be willing to follow or they will be left behind.
In France the education system is run by the state, it is supported by the state and is therefore basically free (Lect. Notes #4 SP. 99). During a French education, emphasis is placed on the transfer of knowledge. This approach is different from the U. S. where the emphasis is placed on showing the excitement of learning and how the child can find information for him or herself (Lect. Notes #4 Sp. 99). As in the U. S. , education is separated into levels that must be passed in a sequence to go on. There are 5 levels of education in France.
The first level is called Creche. The Creche is the equivalent of daycare in the U. S. The age range for the Creche is from birth to 3 years (Lect. Notes #4 SP. 99). The Creche’s purpose is to prepare young children for the next level of education. After students complete their last year in the Creche they move on to the Maternelle. The Maternelle is the second level of education and is for children 3 to 5 years old. It is comparable to preschool in the U. S. (Lect. Notes #4 Sp. 99). This level of education is when students are first introduced to education.
After students successfully complete Maternelle they will move on the next step in their education called the Elementaire. The Elementaire lasts for 6 years so basically from the time children are 5 until they turn 11 they are in Elementaire. This level of education is similar to elementary school in the U. S. (Lect. Notes #4 Sp. 99). This is when students form bonds with other students and begin to learn what it takes to go forward in their education. After completing Elementaire students move on to the next level called Secondaire.
Secondaire consists of two stages first is College and then Lycee (Lect. Notes #4 Sp. 99). College is the same as middle school in the U. S. and students attend for 4 years (Lect. Notes #4 Sp. 99). This is when students begin to form their personality and start noticing the opposite sex. Students also begin to explore their options for the future. This can be a confusing but rewarding time for the students. After completing the College level of education, students move on to the Lycee. The Lycee is the equivalent of the U. S. igh school except students attend the Lycee for 3 years not 4 (Lect. Notes #4 Sp. 99). The Lycee is the time when students must decide their future educational plans. During the first year in the Lycee which is called the seconde, students are required to take mathematics, physics, biology, French, history, geography, physical education, and two foreign languages (Lect. Notes #4 Sp. 99). During the second year or the premiere of the Lycee, students may spend no more than 2 hours on electives, and must spend no less than 25 but no more than 35 hours per week in the classroom.
A typical week in a French school runs from Monday to Saturday (Lect. Notes #4 Sp. 99). In the final year of the Lycee called the terminal, students are required to study philosophy and prepare for the bac which is the only way to move on to higher education (Lect. Notes #4 Sp. 99). For a student to go onto higher education they must first pass the Baccalaureat. This is similar to the SAT or ACT test in the U. S. There are 8 types of Baccalaureat tests, labeled A-H. Baccalaureat A tests the student in Languages, Law and Psychology. The Baccalaureat B tests the students in Economics.
Baccalaureat C tests the students in Mathematics and Physics; Baccalaureat D tests the students in Biology; Baccalaureat E tests the students in Engineering, Baccalaureat G tests the students in Business Administration and Baccalaureats F and H test the students in Technical Fields (Lect. Notes #4 Sp. 99). The Baccalaureat C is called the Super Bac. It is the most influential and useful Bac. After passing the Baccalaureat students have two choices to make about higher education. They may choose to go to a Universitie or les Grandes Ecoles.
The Universities are usually accessible to any student who passes the Baccalaureat. The Universities are under-equipped compared to les Ecoles. They offer higher education that can lead to jobs but not the high paying professions. The students who choose to take the Baccalaureat C usually attend the les Ecoles. They are the best-equipped schools available and graduates of les Ecoles usually go on to the high paying careers. There are no other countries in the world that place higher values on education than France. A degree in France is what carries people through to retirement (Lect. Notes #4 Sp. 99).
If you want to be successful in France the only way to achieve your goal is to earn a degree (Lect. Notes #4 Sp. 99. While education is important in France, it must be reformed to stay competitive with other nation’s educational systems. France now boasts the highest young unemployment rate among all other European countries (Whitney 4). For this reason France must reform its current education system. In order for France’s education system to be reformed, it must change. This is a problem for a nation who doesn’t accept change very often. In 1998 France’s minister of education found a way to fix the dated educational system.
He allocated 730 million dollars to improve the educational system over the next four years (Coleman 12A). The minister hopes this money will lower the young unemployment rate in his country. Overall France’s education system is very similar to the US’s. The major difference is that France places much more emphasis on the transfer of knowledge while the U. S. tries to teach children how to learn on ones own and the excitement of learning. As education has advanced throughout the world, France’s fear of change has caused this nation to fall behind. With new improvements France’s educational system will regain its power and integrity.