The French school system abroad (AEFE)


The AEFE school network is made up of 580 educational establishments with almost 392,000 students from nursery school to the end of secondary school in 139 countries.

A unique, global academic network

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French school in Nairobi
Photo: MEAE / F. de La Mure

The Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) is a public establishment under the authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that was created by the Act of 6 July 1990. It coordinates and manages the French education network abroad and has two missions: to ensure that there is continuity in the public education service for French children outside of France and to help spread French language and culture abroad. This school network, which is unique in the world, is made up of 580 educational establishments with almost 392,000 students from nursery school to the end of secondary school in 139 countries. The quality and uniformity of the teaching provided in these schools as well as their values are what makes this network, which is the largest of its kind in the world, so unique.

Excellence, sharing, influence

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French school in New Delhi
Photo: MEAE / F. de La Mure

The education provided in French primary and secondary schools is innovative, open to the culture and language of the host countries, and provides enhanced foreign-language teaching from nursery school onwards. It prepares students for their future as multilingual and multicultural citizens and actors in open societies. The schools in the network must thus reconcile a French-style education with international-standard teaching, promotion of the French language with the development of multilingualism, and teaching which focuses on success for all and achieving excellence. The results are a testament to this excellence, with a baccalauréat pass rate of 97%, two-thirds of which are with honours.

An asset for France

This educational system, which can be found in almost all countries and capitals of the world, is acknowledged as a major factor in French presence abroad. By taking in and teaching foreign students, who account for almost 65% of the enrolment, it continues to play a key role in spreading the culture, language and values of France. The French school network abroad also helps to strengthen cooperation between French and foreign school systems. Furthermore, it plays an active role in promoting French higher-level education and more broadly, France’s overall appeal. Finally, it is a valuable asset in the policy of supporting the mobility of French communities and the international development of companies.

A network of approved teaching centres

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French school in Pondichery
Photo: MEAE / F. de La Mure

The AEFE network is made up of primary and secondary schools approved by the French Ministry of Education, with almost 60% of the enrolment comprising foreign nationals. Approval confirms each centre’s compliance with the French education system and its curricula. It also guarantees the continuity of teaching regardless of the host country. This principle of educational continuity allows students from French lycées all over the world to have a consistent high-quality education, which can begin in one country and be continued in other, based on the mobility of their family. The network thus allows foreign students to take advantage of the French and French-speaking culture while remaining in touch with their own culture.

The AEFE network emphasizes multilingualism, citizenship education, playing sports, teaching science, philosophy and the culture of engagement.

French teaching centres abroad, by teaching students from many different nationalities and cultures, have a deep sense of respect for others and inclusion. The AEFE supports greater consideration for students with special educational needs and is committed to enforcing the concept of inclusive schooling.

Former students, a stake in the future

The French educational system abroad is extended through a French alumni network (AFLM) which aims to maintain bonds of friendship and solidarity between all the people who have passed through it. This network is estimated to contain 600,000 alumni and has the potential to be hugely influential, as many alumni, both French and non-French and across the generations, hold distinguished positions in a wide variety of activities around the world: politics, the economy, higher education, the media and culture. These people are the best ambassadors for our educational model and often forge strong links with the French language and culture. Some well-known alumni include Carlos Ghosn (Lebanon), Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Egypt), Ingrid Betancourt (Colombia), Jodie Foster (United States), Marjane Satrapi (Austria), Jonathan Littell (United States) and Atiq Rahimi (Afghanistan).

Map of AEFE’s network

AEFE contact details

23 place de Catalogne
75014 Paris
Tel: +33 (0)1 53 69 30 90
Fax: +33 (0)1 53 69 31 99

Updated: December 2023