The French educational system is highly centralised, organised, and ramified. It is divided into three different stages...

Primary and secondary education is predominantly public (private schools also exist, in particular a strong nationwide network of primary and secondary Catholic education), while tertiary education has both public and private elements.

Primary Education

Parents start sending their children earlier though, around age 3 as kindergarten classes (maternelle) are usually affiliated to a boroughs primary school. Some even start earlier at age 2 in pre-maternelle classes, which are essentially daycare centres. After kindergarten, the young students move on to primary school.

Secondary Education

French secondary education is divided into two schools...

The completion of secondary studies leads to the baccalauréat

Brevet

The brevet is the first official diploma a pupil has to sit. It is now required in order to enter high school (lycée).

Baccalauréat

The baccalauréat (also known as bac) is the end-of-lycée diploma students sit for in order to enter university, a classe préparatoire, or professional life.

Territory or College Education

A striking trait of French higher education, compared to other countries, is the small size and multiplicity of establishments, each specialized in a more or less broad spectrum of disciplines.

A striking trait of French higher education, compared to other countries, is the small size and multiplicity of establishments, each specialized in a more or less broad spectrum of disciplines.

Two options: Universities or Grandes écoles

Higher Education in France offers the following two options...

General Courses

These are divided into 3 cycles. Each cycle leads to a national degree... 1st cycle 2 years undergraduate studies 2nd cycle 2 to 3 years graduate studies 3rd cycle 1 to 3 years post graduate studies.

Professional Courses

These are offered at Instituts Universitaires Professionnalisés (IUP). The curriculum consists of 3 years of technical courses with a 6 month vocational training and practice in an international firm.

Art, Architecture, Agriculture, Law, Public Administration

These are offered in specialised schools. The duration of the courses varies from 3 to 7 years.