France Education and Media

France Education and Media


School attendance is compulsory from 6 to 16 years of age. The school system is divided into the voluntary, free public pre-school (École maternelle), the primary school (École primaire, also called École élémentaire) as well as the secondary levels I (Collège, four school years) and II (Enseignement du second degré; various forms of lycée: two or three school years). The École maternelle is an all-day facility that introduces reading, writing and arithmetic and is attended by around 25% of two-year-olds and almost all three to five-year-olds. The École primaire, also a full-time facility, is divided into three successive cycles: Cycle préparatoire (which includes the last year of pre-school and the school entry year), Cycle élémentaire and Cycle moyen (two years each). Then all children enter the Collège, an all-day comprehensive school; The observation level (two years) is followed by the orientation level, in which an initial differentiation can be made through additional elective subjects. The qualification enables vocational training in a vocational training center (Center de formation d’apprentis, CFA) or transfer to the Lycée. The three-year Lycée classique with general higher education entrance qualification and Lycée technique as access to technical training at university level as well as the two-year professional Lycée (Lycée d’enseignement professionnel, LEP) will be abolished from the 2019/20 school year in favor of final classes with focus subjects. In addition to the free public school system, there is the Enseignement libre (private teaching system), which consists mainly of Catholic private schools. Numerous universities are also part of the Enseignement libre.

In the higher education sector, according to Topschoolsintheusa, the framework law of 1968 brought about fundamental reforms in the organization and course of study. The faculties have been replaced by the system of departments (Unité d’enseignement et de recherche), which have greater financial, didactic and administrative autonomy. There are also technical universities (Institut universitaire de technologie, IUT) with mostly two-year courses and the 30 university teacher training institutes (Instituts universitaires de formation des maîtres, IUFM). The European degrees were introduced in all state universities from 2000. The higher education (Enseignement supérieur) includes, in addition to the approximately 90 state and equivalent universities, other universities, in particular the state or private grandes écoles including the écoles supérieures, elite schools with strict entrance exams. There are also numerous specialized universities (École spécialisée) of different levels. About 25 universities offer distance learning courses.

Administration and control of the state schools and colleges are in the hands of the Minister of National Education. Public spending on education represents (2010) 2.3% of gross domestic product (GDP). State research promotes and coordinates in particular the Center National de la Recherche Scientifique; Scientific institutions steeped in tradition include the Institut de France and the Collège de France.


Freedom of the press was enshrined in the constitution in 1881.

Press: The French newspaper industry is under pressure. The free press (including »Metro«, »20 minutes«), the competition from free news portals on the Internet, falling circulation and reader numbers as well as lower advertising income lead to high financial losses for newspaper publishers, which could only be partially absorbed by state press subsidies. Cooperations, mergers and takeovers by companies from outside the industry were the result of this structural change.

Unlike z. For example, in Great Britain, Sweden or Germany, daily newspapers are less widespread in France, while newspapers and magazines, on the other hand, have a high circulation and reach; The regional daily press also has a strong position.

The most influential papers include the internationally renowned newspaper »Le Monde« (founded in 1944), the conservative »Le Figaro« (founded in 1828) and the left-wing liberal »Liberation« (founded in 1973). Other important titles are the sports newspaper “L’Équipe”, the business papers “Les Échos” and “La Tribune” (since 2012 only online edition) as well as the Catholic newspaper “La Croix” and the communist “L’Humanité” the tabloid “Le Parisien” / “Aujourd’hui en France”. The regional newspapers with the highest circulation include “Ouest-France” (Rennes), “Sud-Ouest” (Bordeaux), “La Voix du Nord” (Lille), “Le Dauphiné Libéré” (Grenoble) and “Le Progrès” (Lyon). The most important news magazines are “Le Nouvel Observateur” (from 2014 “L’Obs”), “L’Express”, “Le Point” and the business magazine “L’Expansion”; The magazine »Paris-Match« also has a high reach. One of the largest weekly newspapers is the independent satirical newspaper »Le Canard enchainé«, which is dedicated to investigative journalism. In contrast, “Charlie Hebdo” only reached a tenth of the circulation until the terrorist attack on January 7, 2015.

News agency: The worldwide Agence France-Presse / AFP, founded in 1944, is a public corporation.

Broadcasting: In 1974 the French public service broadcaster (ORTF) was divided into a radio company, three television stations and three public institutions. Public radio is combined in the Radio France company and broadcasts seven programs (including “France Inter”, “France Bleu”) and the foreign stations “Radio France Internationale” (RFI) and “RMC-Moyen-Orient”. With the amendment to the Broadcasting Act 2000, all public television programs were brought together in the state holding company France Télévisions. These include the nationwide full program »France 2«, »France 3« with 18 regional programs and the educational channel »France 5«. The German-French cultural channel »La Sept / ARTE«, launched in 1992, since 2000 under the name »ARTE France«, however, remained independent. Public broadcasters are also the overseas broadcaster RFO, the foreign broadcaster “Canal France International” (CFI) and – as a joint product of the French, Belgian, Swiss and Canadian public broadcasters – the international French-speaking broadcaster “TV 5 Monde”. Like the press, radio and television are subsidized by a state aid fund made up of levies from commercial broadcasters. The first French commercial broadcaster and at the same time the market leader in the free TV sector is the former state broadcaster TF 1, which was privatized in 1987). The station M 6 (RTL Group). The most popular private radio stations include, among others. »RTL« and »Europe 1«. There are also numerous specialty TV channels, private cable programs and commercial local radio stations. As early as 1984, the pay-TV channel “Canal plus” (Canal plus S. A.), a subsidiary of Vivendi S. A., started operations. In 1996 digital television was introduced. Digital terrestrial television (DVB-T) has been offered since 2005.

France Education and Media