On 20 March 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron presented our French language and multilingualism strategy to the Institut de France. One of its objectives was to double the number of students enrolled in French language schools abroad by 2030.
Currently, 370,000 students are enrolled in 522 French language schools in 139 countries. Some 35% of the students are French nationals living abroad and 65% are foreign students whose families chose a French education for their children.
This broad network is helping to promote France internationally. It also reflects the excellence of French education.
The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry for National Education and Youth have worked together with all of the stakeholders to come up with measures to achieve this doubling of students and higher quality education.
The plan for developing French education abroad has four main thrusts:
- Making teaching and education options more attractive;
- Developing the current network and supporting the creation of new schools;
- Getting families more involved in school life;
- Supporting the network in working for diplomacy more effectively.
1. Making teaching and education options more attractive:
To attract more students, it is important to showcase French high-quality teaching and education opportunities. .
The new baccalaureate is our most attractive point. It is easier to understand and more in line with local education and university systems. It combines the qualities of traditional French education with those of other systems giving students more power to determine their future education. The new graduates in the network of French language schools abroad will therefore be better prepared for their future higher studies in France and abroad.
Language education is a strong point of French language schools abroad, which have long opted for multilingual education. Education options focusing on foreign languages already exist, from pre-school to secondary school. They will now be offered at as many schools as possible. New international, European and Asian sections will also be created in middle and secondary schools.
Schools in French education networks intend to become, even more than today, innovative digital education labs. A “digital technology and computer sciences” option will be offered throughout the network. French digital education resources of high quality are available to all schools on a new France Education platform.
2. Developing the current network and supporting the creation of new schools
Student capacities will be increased by growing the current network and creating new schools.
The school accreditation procedure will be simplified. A school is accredited if it complies with the principles, curricula and teaching strategies of French national education. The establishment of new levels of education and the creation of new schools will be facilitated while maintaining high teaching standards in terms of quality and excellence.
The training of qualified teachers, either with tenure or recruited locally, ensures this excellence. The plan to develop French education abroad establishes new training courses, for example a teacher’s diploma to teach French abroad (CAPEFE), or regional training centres abroad.
3. Getting families more involved in school life and the network
The relationship with families is crucial to school life. It will be strengthened by getting more parents involved in the governance of French education abroad, at local level (in each school) and national level (on the Board of the Agency for French Education Abroad).
4. Supporting the network in working for diplomacy more effectively:
The entire diplomatic and cultural network is a stakeholder in the project.
The Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) is the government agency in charge of French education abroad. It has a Support Service for Network Development to provide assistance to public and private investors who wish to develop education options in compliance with French school curricula. Its role in helping to develop the network will be enhanced.
The embassies will be the local drivers of development of the network. They will implement local development plans for French education abroad that are adapted to the local context. Diplomatic posts will study local education options and demand and will ensure that this development is regulated and smooth, while preserving the quality of education.
A steering committee for French education abroad will meet annually and include the Minister of Foreign Affairs and his or her counterpart, the Minister for National Education and Youth and stakeholders involved in French education abroad.
5. Resources for developing French education abroad
Resources are available to ensure optimal development of the network, quality of education and participating schools.
Increased human resources, with 1,000 additional tenured staff of the Ministry for National Education and Youth seconded from now until 2030 to reach a total of 10,000 staff.
Additional budgetary resources, with €25 million in additional government funds for the Agency for French Education Abroad.