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Living in the Languedoc:    Education:    Teachers and Teacher Training

France has a strong, centralised, republican tradition and has (as it freely admits) built and consolidated its identity through a school system tasked with educating her future citizens; consequently, its education system is largely the responsibility of the State.

Teachers are (like over 50% of the working population) state employees - functionnaires. They have jobs for life, and can be moved around the country like any other functionnaires.

Central government retains fundamental powers in defining and implementing education policy and national education curricula. It is responsible for the recruitment, training and salaries of teachers, most of whom are trained at university-level schools of education, the Instituts universitaires de formation des maîtres (IUFM). Established in 1991, these Institutes train primary and secondary school teachers, including those of the latter who are aggrégés, who, when fully trained, will all have completed five years of post-baccalauréat study. (Teachers who are aggregés hold the high-level professional teaching qualification achieved through a competitive aggrégation examination.) Since 1808, the baccalauréat has crowned the successful completion of secondary education and provided a passport into higher education.


Home Schooling in France. Homeschooling or home education is an increasingly popular alternative to school in many countries, including France. Indigoextra provides useful information and links on home schooling.

From the beginning of the twentieth century, France has also been developing State vocational education by "scholarising apprenticeships", establishing vocational qualifications which can be attained at school: the CAP and the BEP (brevet d'enseignement professionnel) which marks the completion of training in a range of technical skills required in a particular trade, or industrial, commercial, administrative or social field.

The State provides about two thirds of the total funding (EUR 90 billion) for the education system, principally because it pays the teachers, but it also disburses various forms of financial assistance, such as scholarships and New School Year Allowances. (The New School Year Allowance is means-tested and paid once a year to compensate for the expenses incurred at the start of a new school year.)



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