|Last updated: January 2010; Last revised: May 2010|
|Contact: Nathalie Terrades, SDTICE, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education and Research|
1. The Education Context
1.1. Education reform
A reform of upper secondary schools will be launched in September 2010. The reform aims at providing more guidance to students in their three years of upper secondary school. In their first year (age 15), along with basic compulsory subjects, all students must follow an economics course and can choose an extra subject. They also have two hours of guidance and two hours of tutored work. Languages and cultural knowledge are also emphasised. More information on the reform can be found at: www.education.gouv.fr. 1.2. Key challenges / priorities for education The following initiatives can be regarded as top priorities for education: Common base of knowledge and skills The common base of knowledge and skills was launched in July 2006. It has been defined as the body of knowledge and skills which the French system is committed to imparting to children in the course of compulsory education. The text is based on seven major skills or pillars. Each pillar is divided into knowledge, abilities, and attitudes. The seven pillars are:
1.2. Key challenges / priorities for education
The following initiatives can be regarded as top priorities for education:
Common base of knowledge and skills
The common base of knowledge and skills was launched in July 2006. It has been defined as the body of knowledge and skills which the French system is committed to imparting to children in the course of compulsory education. The text is based on seven major skills or pillars. Each pillar is divided into knowledge, abilities, and attitudes. The seven pillars are:
Deployment of virtual learning environments
France aims to provide 100% of French teaching institutions with internet connections and to give all members of the educational community access to a virtual learning environment.
Plan for the development of ICT in rural schools
A new plan for the development of ICT in 6,700 rural schools was launched in February 2009. 67 million euros are being allocated to schools in rural communes (with fewer than 2,000 inhabitants) for the acquisition of laptops, interactive whiteboards and software. This measure aims to reduce the digital divide between rural and urban schools. The 6,700 “rural digital schools” will be equipped with high-speed internet access. Teachers will be trained to use digital resources from a national platform to which they are also expected to contribute1.
The 6,700 schools will receive €1,000 each to buy digital resources. A dedicated portal provides information on the digital resources, that can be ordered from a portal2.
The “Digital textbooks available on virtual learning environments” experiment
Since September 2009, the Ministry of Education has been carrying out an experiment in 12 académies (local education authorities – there are 30 académies in France). Digital textbooks have been made available on virtual learning environments in order to reduce the weight of pupils’ schoolbags, develop the use of ICT, and help create tomorrow’s multimedia digital textbooks.
The project has been established in partnership with textbook publishing companies who have developed new online textbooks. Ten publishing companies now offer full web textbooks on two platforms.
The 65 lower-secondary schools that are concerned by this experiment are already equipped with a virtual learning environment and have access to online teaching resources. More than 8,000 pupils in 6ème (age 11) and their teachers, from 21 départements (county-size local authorities) and 12 académies, have online access to the new digital textbooks via six different virtual learning environments and pupils leave their traditional paper textbooks at home.
The départements, which already finance the ICT equipment of lower secondary schools, are completing it and ensuring that internet connection speeds are high enough to allow the use of such online textbooks in class.
The state, which finances paper textbooks for all lower secondary schools, also contributes €430,000 towards the cost of acquiring the 4-year rights to use those digital textbooks. The académies, through their bodies of inspectors, help ensure the success of the experiment which is to be carried on to the next school level of 5ème (age 12) and is to last five years.
The PrimTICE portal (November 2009)
The portal presents and advertises digital resources and pedagogical scenarios for primary education. It integrates the contents already available on the PrimTICE platform (a directory of several hundred teaching scenarios involving the use of ICT, from reception classes to Cycle 3 – the third stage of primary education in France) on the USB keys given to all new teachers and on SIALLE, the educational software information and analysis service. It also provides information on other aspects of ICT actions at the primary level of education such as training, equipment, the C2i (ICT certificate) and the ENR plan (plan for the development of ICT in rural schools): http://primtice.education.fr/
2. ICT Policy
Responsibilities of ICT integration
The Department of Information and Communication Technology in Education (SDTICE) is in charge of coordinating IT development in education. The mission of the department is:
The académies, regional structures of the Ministry of Education, are in charge of implementing national directives and policies. The regional education authority gives impetus to the development of Information and Communication Technology. It coordinates the different levels of teaching and establishes partnerships with local and regional authorities, companies, other administrations and organisations.
The ICT advisor (CTICE) oversees the actions related to ICT in regional education authorities and coordinates the various networks of people and partners involved in educational policy, notably the network of subject leaders and the network of persons dedicated to primary education. The ICT advisor is engaged by the recteur, who has the overall responsibility for the académie. Each académie covers several départements.
ICT in schools
In France, primary schools (for age 2 to 11) are linked to the town council, whereas lower secondary schools (age 11 to 15) are dependent on the department council and upper secondary schools (age 15 to 18 plus some post-baccalaureate sections) come under the regional council’s authority. Primary school buildings, equipments, and digital services are funded by town councils. “Colleges” (lower secondary schools) and “lycées” (upper secondary schools) buildings and equipments are respectively funded by départments (territorial subdivisions) and “regions” (territorial divisions). As concerns digital services, the responsibilities are shared between local governing authorities and the central government.
2.2. ICT policies for schools
Overall ICT policy in education:
Current national programmes
The SDTICE (Department of Information and Communication Technologies) belongs to both the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research. It runs the following programmes:
“Infrastructure and Services” Programme
The programme aims to provide the educational community with the infrastructures and services necessary for supporting the development of ICT practices. Its objective is to ensure that everyone, and in particular every student and teacher, can benefit – whether in teaching or learning – from a work environment adapted to their needs (virtual offices or electronic school bags) and within the scope of their activities, and can receive assistance as and when required. To reach these objectives, local education authorities (académies) and local governing authorities (“communes”, “départements”, “régions”) are invited to establish partnerships and adopt a global approach taking into account all the actions deemed necessary to ensure the development of the use of ICT, and set up agreements defining their respective parts and responsibilities. The education authorities retain full responsibility for and control of learning contents and teacher ICT training.
“Digital Resources for teaching and learning in schools and in higher education” Programme
This programme supports the production and distribution of quality digital educational content for pupils, students and teachers. Its aim is to strengthen the place of France – and by extension, that of Europe – in the knowledge industries.
“ICT Uses in Education” Programme
The objectives of this programme are to:
“ICT Training and Support” Programme
This programme aims to broaden and systematise ICT training, and to support actions targeting the entire educational community: trainers, teaching staff and support staff. These actions are also directed at young people through the general adoption of the IT and Internet Proficiency Certificate (the B2i) in schools and the introduction of the C2i in higher education.
The aim is a real integration of ICT in different subject areas and educational activities, which presupposes acquiring a command of both the ICT tools and the proficiencies specifically linked to the new professional skills that are being developed.
This programme is intended to experiment with and promote new training environments, thereby allowing the individual or group projects organised by teachers to be more readily and effectively implemented.
“Quality, Awareness and Promotion” Programme
This is a cross-sectional programme designed to support the management of projects and to assist the initiatives launched by the SDTICE.
3. The Curriculum and ICT
3.1. The curriculum framework
The general national curriculum framework in France is centralised. It is defined at central level and it is goal oriented. It is defined for study cycles (2 years for instance).Within the curriculum framework, teachers are relatively free to choose their own pedagogical approach. 3.2. ICT in the curriculum ICT is not taught as a separate subject. It is embedded in all subjects, at both primary and secondary levels3. 3.3. Students' ICT competence See 3.4 3.4. Assessment scheme ICT skills assessments have been part of final examinations for lower-secondary schooling since 2007-2008: B2i level 2 (brevet des collèges). ICT skills assessment will be part of final examinations for upper-secondary schooling: B2i level 3 in final exams (baccalauréat). The IT certificate C2i (level 1) at bachelor level is mandatory to enter teacher training institutes. ICT competence targets for students The B2i (IT and Internet Certificate) was created by an official memorandum issued by the Ministry of Education’s directorate for primary and secondary education to test students’ competence in ICT use ((BOEN no. 42 of 23/11/2000, updated in 2006: (BOEN no. 42 of 16/11/2006). It certifies:
3.2. ICT in the curriculum
ICT is not taught as a separate subject. It is embedded in all subjects, at both primary and secondary levels3.
3.3. Students' ICT competence
3.4. Assessment scheme
ICT skills assessments have been part of final examinations for lower-secondary schooling since 2007-2008: B2i level 2 (brevet des collèges). ICT skills assessment will be part of final examinations for upper-secondary schooling: B2i level 3 in final exams (baccalauréat). The IT certificate C2i (level 1) at bachelor level is mandatory to enter teacher training institutes.
ICT competence targets for students
The B2i (IT and Internet Certificate) was created by an official memorandum issued by the Ministry of Education’s directorate for primary and secondary education to test students’ competence in ICT use ((BOEN no. 42 of 23/11/2000, updated in 2006: (BOEN no. 42 of 16/11/2006). It certifies:
3.5. ICT based assessment
The ASSR School Road Safety Certificate – Highway Code test) level 1 (age 14) and level 2 (age 16) is compulsory. Pupils take the exam on a computer with the ASSR software. A few science exams (biology and physics) for the baccalaureate can be taken on computers.
3.6. Quality assurance of the use of ICT in schools
ETIC (Enquête sur les Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication) is a regular annual national survey of ICTE (SDICTE). It is conducted in primary and secondary schools. It aims at providing indicators on equipment, infrastructure, human resources, digital services, safety, teacher training, and more. The indicators are used:
A report commissioned by the government to help schools enter the digital age was published in February 2010: http://www.reussirlecolenumerique.fr/
3The curriculum framework for primary and lower secondary schools: http://eduscol.education.fr/pid23391/programmes-ecole-college.html and for upper secondary schools: http://eduscol.education.fr/cid46464/presentation.html
4. Digital Learning Resources and Services
4.1. Content development strategies
In France there are agreements with publishers to license the development of commercial products. The Ministry of Education has adopted a policy of support for the development of multimedia educational resources with the aim of providing the educational community with quality products that meet their needs and the aims of the education system. A system designed to support the production of digital content for teaching was subsequently outlined in the Official Education Bulletin (BOEN) of 10 September 1998 and updated in BOEN no. 9 of 10 August 2000.
The procedures provide for the establishment of a multimedia commission to advise on projects eligible for Ministry support and products submitted for consideration for “Recognised as having educational value by the Ministry for Education“ (RIP) status.
Since the system was set up in September 1998, 225 digital resources and service development projects have been provided with assistance (for schools and for higher education). The average grant per project was €75,000 in 2008. More than 750 products were recognised as having educational value and subject to targeted distribution activities.
16 products received the RIP label in 2009 (31 in 2008 and 36 in 2007). 6 projects were provided with assistance in 2009 (12 in 2008, 6 in 2007). As regards open-source initiatives, the Ministry has set up a website called SIALLE5.
This website gives information on open-source software. First, it is analysed by a commission of experts. Then, teachers can download the software, use and test it, and give it a mark (based on pedagogical and technical aspects and content). Finally, only the software products that have obtained a good mark are integrated into the information system of the Ministry, together with a tutorial.
4.2. E-content development
EDUbases6 are resource banks for secondary education, containing pedagogical scenarios. They are dedicated to disciplinary and multi-disciplinary teaching. The scenarios are written by teachers, for teachers. Before publication, they are validated bythe Inspectorate.
The primTICE portal is dedicated to primary education. Teachers can find pedagogical scenarios on this portal: http://primtice.education.fr/
4.3. User-generated content
There are blogs/spips (Système de Publication pour l’Internet Partagé or Participatif) in some schools. These arise from schools’ initiatives and are encouraged by the local education authorities. Blogs and their rapid expansion are seen as having educational value, allowing young people to express themselves on a multimedia basis and also exchange information using RSS channels.
4.4. Web 2.0
4.5. Content sharing
4.6. Learning platform
The Ministry promotes the deployment of digital workspaces or “virtual offices” that offer a consistent set of digital services: collaborative work, school and student life issues, the provision and management of digital resources, and more.The deployment is based on a public-private partnership.
Since the start of the 2009 school year, all the académies have had a Virtual Learning Environment project. The projects are more or less advanced and they include: feasibility study, experiment, or generalisation (organised deployment over a determined period). About 2/3 of the académies are now deploying. The most important initiatives to make projects successful are to encourage partnerships with local authorities, and the management of change. These partnerships are based on the sharing of responsibilities between local education authorities (académies) and local governing authorities concerning the funding of solutions, the hosting, maintenance, support and management of change.
5. Teacher Education for ICT
5.1. ICT competence targets
Distance- and self-training are to be used along with on-site training to help achieve the objective of ensuring that existing school staff, including teachers, management and supervising staff, become ICT literate with minimal disruption to the school. The main goals for teacher training are:
The “C2i level 2” for teachers, published in the BOEN of 11 March 2004, aims to validate the professional skills required by all teachers for performing the pedagogical, educational and societal aspects of their job7.
5.2. Assessment scheme
The IT certificate C2i (level 1) at bachelor level is mandatory to enter teacher training institutes. ICT is also part of all initial training, which is provided by IUFM (Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maîtres – Academic Institute for Teacher Training). The government sets training areas and framework, while Rectorat and Inspection Académique are in charge of in-service training, sometimes together with IUFM. ICT training is cross-sectoral, and is provided as distance- and self-training along with onsite training in order to ensure minimal disruption to the school. There are several levels of action:
5.3. ICT IN TEACHER EDUCATION
ICT is fully integrated in initial teacher education; it is compulsory.
5.4. Training the teacher trainers
The goal of the Pairform@nce scheme is to promote the development of the use of ICT in schools and, more generally, to foster the development of professionalism in teaching based on personal experience and that of teaching colleagues. This scheme is aimed both at primary and secondary teachers.
The Pairform@nce scheme is based on the collaborative production of teaching sequences and activities using a variety of resources. This approach is implemented via a dedicated national remote working platform offering a variety of tools and resources (http://national.pairformance.education.fr).
A USB key for teachers
A project called “a USB key for teachers”: six thousand keys were produced during the first year of the project (2006-2007) in three subject areas (History & Geography; Physical & Chemical Sciences, Basic & Applied Sciences; Life and Earth Sciences) and for primary teaching in several départements on an experimental basis. For 2008-2009, other subject areas were covered (technology, maths, languages, etc.) and all the départements were concerned for primary education. These keys were offered to the teachers in their first year of work. They contain: institutional links, teaching resources, examples of uses, a personal space, a toolbox. USB keys are no longer provided but the contents are available on a website8.
Ministries of Education are asked to update their country report on the basis of the 2011 questionnaire.
Timeline: March - June 2011
- Download the 2011 questionnaire (doc)
- Download the guidance sheet for Ministries (pdf)
COUNTRY REPORTS 2009/2010
Reports (pdf) available here
Previous reports (pdf) available here