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Culture and arts at the heart of the school system
[anglais] Key policies - Jean-Michel Blanquer -

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Since September 2018, in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of National Education and Youth has striven to offer all pupils, from preschool to secondary school, a coherent programme of culture and arts, above all in music, literature and drama, amongst others.

  • Arts and culture are essential to develop a taste for beauty, creativity, knowledge and self-confidence.
  • The teachers are unrivalled purveyors of culture. To boost their action, partnerships have to be consolidated with cultural institutions and the world of culture.
  • Since September 2018, in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of National Education and Youth has sought to offer all pupils a consistent pathway of culture and artistic practice from pre-primary to upper secondary school.
  • Clear priorities have been identified : music, promoting books and reading, theatre and education in looking.


Back to school with music

Symbolising this ambition, a third Back to school with music will take place on Monday, 2 September. A musical moment is being organised in all primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools to welcome the new pupils and start the year with the joy found in music.

A choir in each primary and lower secondary school by 2020

  • 90 % of lower secondary schools now have their choir thanks to the creation of an optional singing class in 2018
  • 70 % of primary schools have a choir.

A combined committee of authorities, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of National Education and Youth is created in each department and in each region.

The credits dedicated to regional and national projects have tripled, reaching €80,000, added to in equal shares by the Ministry and its partners : Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation, Sacem, MGEN and Maif. This funding is supplemented locally by the Drac and local authorities.

A new national body, the National Committee for Choral Singing, chaired by Sofi Jeannin, musical director of the Maîtrise de Radio France, is tasked to encourage the creation of repertoires for the pupils and joint training for teachers, culture professionals, directors, etc.

Quality training for choir masters is expanding, mainly with the participation of prestigious partners, including the Opéra comique and the Musical Academy of Villecroze, which offer several one-week courses that bring together choir masters and top performing artists.

All education authorities will have a teachers' choir by January 2020.

The 2019 Ecole en choeur Festival ended with the broadcast of a radio concert bringing over one thousand choir pupils and teachers together in the Radio France auditorium on 11 June.

The school system mobilised to promote books and reading

The Ministry is continuing its action to encourage individual reading and the development of a taste for and the pleasure of reading and access to books.

This is based on :

  • an investment plan for school libraries : €4.5 million invested since 2017, with €2 million added in 2019-2020
  • the development of commonplace individual reading times every day - "reading for quarter of an hour" - in schools and establishments
  • the A book for the holidays scheme saw 800,000 Grade 3 pupils given a compilation of 22 La Fontaine fables illustrated this year by the cartoonist Voutch
  • enhanced support for the Petits champions de la lecture a reading aloud competition with a goal of 100,000 pupils enrolled in 2019-2020
  • support for associations that promote reading in pre-primary school, like Lire et faire lire and writing with the Labo des histoires

Development of theater practice

385 establishments (376 lower secondary schools and nine upper secondary vocational schools), in 25 education authorities, are taking part in experiments in public speaking in 2020. The Grade 3 pupils in question have an extra thirty minutes a week to work on public speaking, the art of reading and reciting a text.

Starting to build up the oral skills of pupils in lower secondary school is aiming to prepare pupils for taking the floor, especially during the oral exam in the Baccalauréat and beyond for their personal and professional success.

Education in looking

Une nouvelle ambition pour l'éducation au patrimoine

Education in heritage, be it historical, architectural, industrial or religious, takes part in forming the future citizen and a taste for beauty.

On 20 September 2019, therefore, the Friday before the Heritage Days, the Ministries of National Education and Youth and of Culture are launching the Levez les yeux! (Look up!) operation, a day devoted to education in heritage.

To support the teachers, the Ministry of National Education and Youth is making available a guide, Connaître le patrimoine de proximité (Know your local heritage), prepared in collaboration with the Institut national d'histoire de l'art (Inha - Natural History of Art Institute).

Sharpen critical looking by pupils by promoting their access to cinematic art in the school system

The creation of a cinema club in every lower and upper secondary school is a priority for this year 2019-2020. Launched in October 2018 by France télévisions, with the support of the Canopé network, ciné makes 55 films from the film heritage available free to lower and upper secondary school teachers.

At the same time, with the help of the Centre national du cinéma (CNC - National Cinema Centre), this involves extending Écoles au cinéma, Collège au cinéma and Lycéens et apprentis au cinéma to help pupils develop an interest in cinematographic projections in cinemas.

The second edition of the César des lycéens, in partnership with the Académie des Césars (French film academy) will be held from January 2020 onwards. For three weeks in February, a jury of more than 1,200 pupils from upper secondary general, technological and vocational schools will debate. Last year, the winner of this new César was the movie Jusqu'à la garde by Xavier Legrand.

Launch of an educational channel

The Ministry of National Education and Youth is joining forces with France Télévision and all players in the public audiovisual sector to launch a major educational channel in January 2020. Intended for children and their families, teachers and directors, this new channel will allow the children to enjoy quality educational contents in their different times.

2020, year of Africa and the cartoon strip

The Ministry of National Education and Youth and the Ministry of culture are major players in the African season. Events, class projects and exchanges are a chance for French youngsters to understand contemporary Africa better.

The cartoon strip is taking pride of place throughout 2020. The national education sector wishes to promote drawing and writing techniques.

More key policies

Last updated : nov. 8, 2019

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