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France

French ‘less educated than other Europeans’

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-02-26

The French are less well educated than many of their European neighbours, according to a new study.

Just 72.5 percent of French adults aged 25 to 64 have completed high school, the study by France’s national statistics body Insee found, compared to an average of 74.2 percent across the European Union.

And the country lags far behind some of the best European performers. In Lithuania, some 93.3 percent are educated to at least high school graduate level – the best rate in the EU – while the Czech Republic is not far behind, at 92.5 percent.

Nevertheless, France is a long way from bottom of the class, an honour that goes to Portugal, where just 37.6 percent of 25 to 64-year-olds have completed high school.

The figures also suggest a rapid improvement in education levels for France in recent years. More than three-quarters of French adults have achieved some type of baccalauréat-level (or high school diploma) qualification, according to Insee, three times more than the figure in 1980 (25.9 percent).

“This strong growth is mainly due to an increase in the number of general baccalauréats and significant growth in the vocational baccalauréats", created in the mid-80s, said Insee.

Early education levels slipping

On the other hand, a lack of education in pupils’ early years could be a growing problem for the country, the figures suggested.

As of September 2011, just 11.6 percent of two-year-olds in France were enrolled in some kind of formal schooling, compared to one in three in the early 2000s.

It is not the first time concerns have been raised over the quality of the French education system.

Last year, a poll carried out on behalf of radio station RTL found that 58 percent of French people are unhappy with the standard of education in France, while six in ten said teachers do not receive enough training.

Finding a solution to France’s schooling problems has proved more divisive, however.

Reforms introduced by François Hollande’s Socialist government last year, including adding half a day to the school week for primary school children, were met by a series of strikes and protests both by teachers and parents.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-02-25

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