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Opening French schools to Europe and the world
[anglais] Key policies - Jean-Michel Blanquer -

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The mastery of modern languages is an asset that helps young people gain access to employment, export French know-how to Europe and around the world and attract talent to France.

  • The mastery of modern languages is an asset that helps young people gain access to employment, export French know-how to Europe and around the world and attract talent to France. The President of the Republic, in his speech of March 20, 2018, emphasized the need for plurilingualism for the future of Europe.
  • According to a National Education survey, since 2010, French students' fluency in oral and written foreign languages, particularly English, has progressed. However, French students are still not among those who achieve the best results in Europe.
  • The Minister of National Education has entrusted Chantal Manès, Inspector General of National Education, and Alex Taylor, journalist, with a report whose conclusions were made public during the month of September.
  • The aim is to improve the level of students in English and at least one other modern language. The mastery of oral expression is a key issue.

Increase the instruction of modern languages

In lower secondary school, instruction in two foreign languages continues to increase.

  • In September, 67 % of lower secondary schools will offer instruction in a second modern language in sixth grade compared to 47 % in 2016.
  • The second language is German for 55 % of sixth-graders who have the ability to study two languages, English for 19 % and Spanish for 14 %.

European sections, which offer reinforced language instruction, continue to increase : 30 % of lower secondary schools offer or plan to offer at least one European languages and cultures course in September 2018.

The upper secondary-school reform strengthens modern language instruction :

  • two modern languages are planned for in the general coursework
  • one major, foreign languages and literature, includes four hours of instruction in eleventh grade and 6 hours in twelfth
  • optional courses enable students to choose a third language.

In this new framework, the European, binational and international sections will increase, as will foreign-language teaching (for example, history taught in English).

The place of modern regional languages has also been strengthened with the new baccalauréat. It is still possible to take such a course as a Modern Language B (with an increased coefficient) or C, which makes it possible to validate regional languages even more in the baccalauréat.

Strengthening student assessment

In concert with Higher Education, international certification of modern-language proficiency will gradually increased. Certifications are based on international bodies such as Cambridge Assessment English, the Cervantes Institute or the Kultusministerkonferenz.

Beginning in September 2019, twelfth-graders who are enrolled in a specific language track (international sections, European and Asian language sections), as well as higher vocational diploma (BTS) students in international trade, will pass certification tests.

In view of the implementation of the new baccalauréat in 2021, the assessment method for modern language for this examination will be revised to strengthen their link with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Opening schools to Europe and the world

More international and European courses

1,000 additional places available in public and private primary and secondary schools

In the Île-de-France region, in accordance with the Prime Minister's commitments, the development of binational and international educational tracks, as well as the creation of new bilingual classes, have made it possible to strengthen our international educational offerings and better meet the expectations of families who wish to settle in France.

For the start of the 2019 academic year, France will present the candidacy of two new European schools, in Lille and Courbevoie, to European authorities.

The creation of a certification for schools and educational establishments of Europe

The engagement of schools and educational establishments in numerous European projects, in the organization of travel for their students and staff, and the reception of European students are conducive to language practice, the discovery of other cultures and new professional environments. These establishments thus participate in the construction of European citizenship.

A certification recognizing this commitment will be put in place during the first half of 2019, in line with their engagement in European projects and in partnership with local authorities.

More key policies

Last updated : nov. 8, 2019

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