A French strategy for education

Education is a keystone of development policy and a priority of French Official Development Assistance (ODA). Since 2002, France has devoted to ODA an average of 14% of its annual funding.

A strategic choice

This is a strategic choice in support of sustainable growth and poverty reduction in all its forms. It is also a condition for demographic transition in developing countries and a factor for improving people’s health. Education enhances people’s skills in all sectors of the economy, whether modern, traditional, urban, rural, private or public. It helps increase the standard of living and facilitate integration into the world economy.

A solidarity-based choice

It is a solidarity-based choice for a certain vision of life in society, where human beings are born free and equal in rights, which they can only exercise through access by all to knowledge, language learning, know-how and ideas. Education is the condition for self-fulfilment, participation in civic life, and access to decent work.

A choice of the international community

This is also the choice of the international community, alongside increased awareness of the key issue of Education for All (EFA) starting in the 1990s, which choice was strongly reaffirmed in 2000 at Dakar and included by the United Nations that same year in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG 2 and MDG 3) for achieving universal primary education and equality in primary education between girls and boys by 2015. The significant progress made in many countries in the past few years has shown that this ambitious goal can become a reality.

But this momentum is fading: enrolment has reached a ceiling for the first time since 2000 (with 57 million out-of-school children in 2013) or even declined as in sub-Saharan Africa (with 31 million out-of-school children in 2010 as against 29 million in 2008).

A choice of the French-speaking community

Finally, this is the choice of the French-speaking community, which has established a crucial link between education and French as a language of openness and development. France, which plays a driving role in the dissemination of the French language which is spoken by more than 200 million people, has a special responsibility in this regard within the international community, alongside the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF).

To be effective, investment in education should come within the scope of a comprehensive vision of development, adapt to the different linguistic areas and to population needs, interface at all levels – from primary to higher education – with vocational training for economic integration, and meet the special training needs of executives. Education and training policy is an essential complement to national strategies for job creation and enhancement, as it encourages economic integration and places human capital at the heart of development.

The five French education goals

France’s education efforts are designed to enhance the complementarity between bilateral interventions and multilateral partnerships through five goals:

  • supporting reforms;
  • promoting quality;
  • capacity-building;
  • working in partnerships;
  • targeting French assistance.


Education in developing countries (2010-2015)

France Education for All

France Innovative Financing for Education [In French only]

France and higher vocational education abroad

Gender-based violence at school in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa

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Updated : May 2014