At the heart of France’s educational, cultural and economic policy, the network of French schools abroad supports the growth of French communities and businesses in the world. It also helps promote the French language and culture welcoming more than 244,000 foreign students (65% of the total number of students). The excellence of French schools abroad explains why they are so popular (their enrolment has increased by 50% in 20 years).
- 522 schools
- 139 countries
- 370,000 students
These schools form the French education network, accompanied by the Agency for French Education Abroad. Moreover, some of them are run by associations (for example, the Mission Laïque Française) or private investors. Their compliance with the curriculum, educational objectives and fundamental principles of the French education system is ensured by its official approval, issued by the Ministry of National Education and Youth. Their students include French children living abroad, but also foreign children.
Approximately 25,000 French students received needs-based scholarships for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Agency for French Education Abroad
The Agency for French Education Abroad, which is attached to the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, supports schools in the network. A tool for exerting influence, it helps to make France more attractive in the educational, cultural, scientific and economic fields.
Learn more about the AEFE
Mission Laïque Française
Among the many private sector actors of French education diplomacy, the Mission Laïque Française has long managed educational, cultural and academic institutions. A state-approved association, the MlF coordinates its action with the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Education and Youth and with the Agency for French Education Abroad. Recognized for its innovative teaching solutions and its action to promote multilingualism, the MlF puts forward many ideas throughout the network.
Beyond the French-speaking world, France wishes to see the French language more present in education systems of its European and international partners where it is the most taught language after English.
Bilingual education abroad
Some 50 countries propose bilingual Francophone education, of which nearly two million students benefit. Bilingual education includes one or several other subjects in addition to the French language, such as science, history, math and geography.
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The LabelFrancÉducation, created in 2012, is granted by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs to outstanding bilingual programmes offering reinforced teaching of French and at least one non-language subject in French, in accordance with the local official curriculum. In October 2019, this network included 393 bilingual schools in 58 countries, with nearly 130,000 students enrolled in primary and secondary education.
The International Federation of French Teachers
The International Federation of French Teachers is a non-governmental international association created in 1969. It runs a network of 200 national associations and 6 federations of French teachers in 120 countries, bringing together 80,000 French teachers. It receives support from the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sport, the Ministry of Culture, and the International Organisation of La Francophonie.
Degrees with international value
In foreign countries, Instituts Français and Alliances Françaises are the best places for disseminating and teaching the French language, especially because of the courses and certifications they offer. Some of their certifications are equivalent to official degrees. This is the case with degrees in French language studies (DELF) and advanced French language degrees (DALF) which are both awarded by the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sport and valid for life. Some 480,000 DELF-DALF degrees are awarded per year worldwide.
French vocational degrees (DFP) were designed and developed by Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris île-de-France and recognize the ability to work in French. They recognize the command of French in business, international relations, tourism, hospitality, with levels ranging from A1 (beginner) to C1 (advanced).
The major advantage of these certifications lies in their international recognition and their broad network of examination centres around the world.
The certifications are also offered in foreign education systems as part of French cooperation in the field of education in order to determine the level of French of language teachers and to recognize the studies of students.
France boasts a vast network for teaching and learning French: 93 multidisciplinary Instituts Français. Placed under the auspices of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Culture, Instituts Français contribute to promoting and spreading the use of the French language abroad and supports the cultural cooperation and action network by proposing French language education and welcoming more than 600 learners a year. Instituts Français have also developed systems in the form of digital platforms such as IFOS, IF Classe, IF Profs and Culturethèque, which can be used to support teacher training projects.
In the scientific and academic fields, Instituts Français promote higher education studies in France in the 281 Campus France offices in 133 countries, but also manage scholarship programmes co-funded by public and private partners.
The 832 Alliances Françaises, whose network complements that of Instituts Français, are working in 131 countries and are important partners when it comes to disseminating our language. They welcome more than 500,000 students a year and also help to promote French culture and cultural exchanges.
The French Maternal Language Programme was created in 2001 by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and aims to help French expatriates from 5 to 16 years old establish and maintain regular contact with the French culture and language through extracurricular activities.