Teaching and learning French


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Teaching and learning French around the world

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 around the world. It also helps promote the French language and culture welcoming more than 213,000 foreign students (60% of the total number of students). The excellence of French schools abroad is recognized, which explains why they are so popular (their enrolment has increased by 50% in 20 years).

French schools

  • 496 schools
  • 137 countries
  • 355,000 students

These schools are attached to the Agency for French Education Abroad or the Mission Laïque Française. Their compliance with the curriculum, educational objectives and fundamental principles of French national education is verified by the Ministry of National Education and Youth. Their students include French children living abroad as well as foreign children.

More than 25,000 French students received needs-based scholarships for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Agency for French Education Abroad

The Agency for French Education Abroad, which is attached to the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, runs the French education network. Using its influence to promote international diplomacy, it helps to make France more attractive in the educational, cultural, scientific and economic fields.

Mission Laïque Française

The Mission Laïque Française participates in furthering French education abroad by managing and providing support to schools, cultural institutions and universities. A non-profit association, the Mission Laïque Française is the main non-public actor in the French education network around the world. It 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 Mission also works to further educational cooperation and puts forward many ideas throughout the network.

The teaching of French and in French in foreign school systems

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 offer bilingual French language education with nearly two million students enrolled in their schools. In addition to French language, students in these countries can study other subjects in French, for example, science, history, math and geography, depending on the national curriculum.

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Created in 2012, LabelFrancÉducation is awarded by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs to excellent bilingual schools offering advanced French language programmes and at least one other subject taught in French, in compliance with the official curriculum of the host country. In October 2018, this network included 285 bilingual schools in 53 countries with nearly 110,000 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.

French-as-a-foreign language teaching around the world

Degrees with international value

Abroad, 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 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 and Youth and valid for life. Some 450,000 DELF-DALF degrees are awarded a year worldwide.

French vocational degrees (DFP) were designed and developed by the 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 French 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.

Instituts Français

France boasts a vast network for teaching and learning French: 98 multidisciplinary Instituts Français offer French-as-a-foreign-language courses and welcome more than 600,000 students a year.

In the scientific and academic fields, Instituts Français promote higher education studies in France in the 236 Campus France offices in 120 countries, but also manage scholarship programmes co-funded by public and private partners.

Alliances Françaises

The 834 Alliances Françaises, whose network complements that of Instituts Français, are working in 132 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.

FLAM associations

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.

Updated: February 2019

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