|Académies.||Departments depending on them.|
|Montpellier||Hérault, Aude, Gard, Lozère, Pyrénées-Orientales.|
|Nancy||Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Vosges.|
|Poitiers||Vienne, Charente, Charente-Inférieure, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Deux-Sèvres, Vendée, Haute-Vienne.|
|Rennes||Ille-et-Vilaine, Côtes-du-Nord, Finistère, Loire-Inférieure, Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne, Morbihan.|
|Toulouse||Haute-Garonne, Ariège, Aveyron, Gers, Lot, Hautes-Pyrénées, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne.|
|There is also an académie comprising Algeria.|
For the administrative organization of education in France see Education.
Any person fulfilling certain legal requirements with regard to capacity, age and character may set up privately an educational establishment of any grade, but by the law of 1904 all religious congregations are prohibited from keeping schools of any kind whatever.
Primary Instruction.—All primary public instruction is free and compulsory for children of both sexes between the ages of six and thirteen, but if a child can gain a certificate of primary studies at the age of eleven or after, he may be excused the rest of the period demanded by law. A child may receive instruction in a public or private school or at home. But if the parents wish him to be taught in a private school they must give notice to the mayor of the commune of their intention and the school chosen. If educated at home, the child (after two years of the compulsory period has expired) must undergo a yearly examination, and if it is unsatisfactory the parents will be compelled to send him to a public or private school.
Each commune is in theory obliged to maintain at least one public primary school, but with the approval of the minister, the departmental council may authorize a commune to combine with other communes in the upkeep of a school. If the number of inhabitants exceed 500, the commune must also provide a special school for girls, unless the Departmental Council authorizes it to substitute a mixed school. Each department is bound to maintain two primary training colleges, one for masters, the other for mistresses of primary schools. There are two higher training colleges of primary instruction at Fontenay-aux-Roses and St Cloud for the training of mistresses and masters of training colleges and higher primary schools.
The Laws of 1882 and 1886 “laicized” the schools of this class, the former suppressing religious instruction, the latter providing that only laymen should be eligible for masterships. There were also a great many schools in the control of various religious congregations, but a law of 1904 required that they should all be suppressed within ten years from the date of its enactment.
Public primary schools include (1) écoles maternelles—infant schools for children from two to six years old; (2) elementary primary schools—these are the ordinary schools for children from six to thirteen; (3) higher primary schools (écoles primaires supérieures) and “supplementary courses”; these admit pupils who have gained the certificate of primary elementary studies (certificat d’études primaires), offer a more advanced course and prepare for technical instruction; (4) primary technical schools (écoles manuelles d’apprentissage, écoles primaires supérieures professionnelles) kept by the communes or departments. Primary courses for adults are instituted by the prefect on the recommendation of the municipal council and academy inspector.
Persons keeping private primary schools are free with regard to their methods, programmes and books employed, except that they may not use books expressly prohibited by the superior council of public instruction. Before opening a private school the person proposing to do so must give notice to the mayor, prefect and academy inspector, and forward his diplomas and other particulars to the latter official.
Secondary Education.—Secondary education is given by the state in lycées, by the communes in collèges and by private individuals and associations in private secondary schools. It is not compulsory, nor is it entirely gratuitous, but the fees are small and the state offers a great many scholarships, by means of which a clever child can pay for its own instruction. Cost of tuition (simply) ranges from £2 to £16 a year. The lycées also take boarders—the cost of boarding ranging from £22 to £52 a year. A lycée is founded in a town by decree of the president of the republic, with the advice of the superior council of public instruction. The municipality has to pay the cost of building, furnishing and upkeep. At the head of the lycée is the principal (proviseur), an official nominated by the minister, and assisted by a teaching staff of professors and chargés de cours or teachers of somewhat lower standing. To become professor in a lycée it is necessary to pass an examination known as the “agrégation,” candidates for which must be licentiates of a faculty (or have passed through the École normale supérieure).
The system of studies—reorganized in 1902—embraces a full curriculum of seven years, which is divided into two periods. The first lasts four years, and at the end of this the pupil may obtain (after examination) the “certificate of secondary studies.” During the second period the pupil has a choice of four courses: (1) Latin and Greek; (2) Latin and sciences; (3) Latin and modern languages; (4) sciences and modern languages. At the end of this period he presents himself for a degree called the Baccalauréat de l’enseignement secondaire. This is granted (after two examinations) by the faculties of letters and sciences jointly (see below), and in most cases it is necessary for a student to hold this general degree before he may be enrolled in a particular faculty of a university and proceed to a Baccalauréat in a particular subject, such as law, theology or medicine.
The collèges, though of a lower grade, are in most respects similar to the lycées, but they are financed by the communes: the professors may have certain less important qualifications in lieu of the “agrégation.” Private secondary schools are subjected to state inspection. The teachers must not belong to any congregation, and must have a diploma of aptitude for teaching and the degree of “licencié.” The establishment of lycées for girls was first attempted in 1880. They give an education similar to that offered in the lycées for boys—with certain modifications—in a curriculum of five or six years. There is a training-college for teachers in secondary schools for girls at Sèvres.
Higher education is given by the state in the universities, and in special higher schools; and, since the law of 1875 established the freedom of higher education, by private individuals and bodies in private schools and “faculties” (facultés libres). The law of 1880 reserved to the state “faculties” the right to confer degrees, and the law of 1896 established various universities each containing one or more faculties. There are five kinds of faculties: medicine, letters, science, law and Protestant theology. The faculties of letters and sciences, besides granting the Baccalauréat de l’enseignement secondaire, confer the degrees of licentiate and doctor (la Licence, le Doctorat). The faculties of medicine confer the degree of doctor of medicine. The faculties of theology confer the degrees of bachelor, licentiate and doctor of theology. The faculties of law confer the same degrees in law and also grant “certificates of capacity,” which enable the holder to practise as an avoué; a licence is necessary for the profession of barrister. Students of the private faculties have to be examined by and take their degrees from the state faculties. There are 2 faculties of Protestant theology (Paris and Montauban); 12 faculties of law (Paris, Aix, Bordeaux, Caen, Grenoble, Lille, Lyons, Montpellier, Nancy, Poitiers, Rennes, Toulouse); 3 faculties of medicine (Paris, Montpellier and Nancy), and 4 joint faculties of medicine and pharmacy (Bordeaux, Lille, Lyons, Toulouse); 15 faculties of sciences (Paris, Besançon, Bordeaux, Caen, Clermont, Dijon, Grenoble, Lille, Lyons, Marseilles, Montpellier, Nancy, Poitiers, Rennes, Toulouse); 15 faculties of letters (at the same towns, substituting Aix for Marseilles). The private faculties are at Paris (the Catholic Institute with a faculty of law); Angers (law, science and letters); Lille (law, medicine and pharmacy, science, letters); Lyons (law, science, letters); Marseilles (law); Toulouse (Catholic Institute with faculties of theology and letters). The work of the faculties of medicine and pharmacy is in some measure shared by the écoles supérieures de pharmacie (Paris, Montpellier, Nancy), which grant the highest degrees in pharmacy, and by the écoles de plein exercice de médecine et de pharmacie (Marseilles, Rennes and Nantes) and the more numerous écoles préparatoires de médecine et de pharmacie; there are also écoles préparatoires à l’enseignement supérieur des sciences et des lettres at Chambéry, Rouen and Nantes.
Besides the faculties there are a number of institutions, both state-supported and private, giving higher instruction of various special kinds. In the first class must be mentioned the Collège de France, founded 1530, giving courses of highest study of all sorts, the Museum of Natural History, the École des Chartes (palaeography and archives), the School of Modern Oriental Languages, the École Pratique des Hautes Études (scientific research), &c. All these institutions are in Paris. The most important free institution in this class is the École des Sciences Politiques, which prepares pupils for the civil services and teaches a great number of political subjects, connected with France and foreign countries, not included in the state programmes.
Commercial and technical instruction is given in various institutions comprising national establishments such as the écoles nationales professionnelles of Armentières, Vierzon, Voiron and Nantes for the education of working men; the more advanced écoles d’arts et métiers of Châlons, Angers, Aix, Lille and Cluny; and the Central School of Arts and Manufactures at Paris; schools depending on the communes and state in combination, e.g. the écoles pratiques de commerce et d’industrie for the training of clerks and workmen; private schools controlled by the state, such as the écoles supérieures de commerce; certain municipal schools, such as the Industrial Institute of Lille; and private establishments, e.g. the school of watch-making at Paris. At Paris the École Supérieure des Mines and the École des Ponts et Chaussées are controlled by the minister of public works, the École des Beaux-Arts, the École des Arts Décoratifs and the Conservatoire National de Musique et de Déclamation by the under-secretary for fine arts, and other schools