A new year for French schools abroad (Sept. 1) [fr]
On September 1, more than 340,000 students attending nearly 500 French schools in 136 foreign countries head back to class. These schools range from the elementary level through high school.
This network is run by the Agence pour l’Enseignement Français à l’Etranger (AEFE), an entity that falls under the control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development. It is staffed by more than 1,000 employees sent from France as well as 5,000 residents and 15,000 local hires. This year’s success rate for the baccalaureate was a record 96%, with 72% of those who passed receiving honorable mentions.
French schools in foreign countries offer a place for different cultures to come together, and are a major vehicle in promoting France’s influence abroad. Nearly two-thirds of the students are not French, and more than half of those who pass the baccalaureate continue their higher education in France. The Foreign Ministry funds a special merit scholarship program that has benefited some 800 students of 80 nationalities. Some 25,000 French students will also receive tuition assistance this year.
This year’s priorities include developing digital programs to enhance education, educational programs on sustainable development to coincide with the Paris Climate Conference chaired by Laurent Fabius, and increasing solidarity among students, whether currently enrolled or alumni.
Laurent Fabius, minister of foreign affairs and international development, and Matthias Fekl, minister of state for foreign trade, the promotion of tourism and French nationals abroad, wish these students and their families, as well as all the personnel of these establishments, an excellent year.