The organisation of the school system

Devolved powers [anglais]

Since the 1980s the State has been devolving powers in order to strengthen the role of local authorities in the management of the school system.

The French National Ministry of Education and the decentralised services

The state formulates the educational policy for the whole country. This educational policy must then be applied at regional and local level.
Rectors represent the Minister of Education at local level, in each academic district. Each regional district also has a Rector who ensures the consistency and coherence of the word of the state at this level.

Directors of local services under the Ministry of National Education (DA-SEN) and Deputy directors of local services under the Ministry of National Education (DAA-SEN) are responsible for the implementation of the educational policy in the départements.





During the 1980s, the French government went through a process of decentralising some of its powers in order to strengthen the role of local authorities in the management of the school system. Depending on the level of education, a different authority is in charge of the organisation and funding of the schools:

Overview of competencies Primary SchoolsLower SecondaryUpper Secondary
Investment (construction, reconstruction), infrastructure, running costs Municipality Département Region
Pedagogical costs Municipality Département Region
Teaching staff (recruitment, training, allocation, pay) State State State
Curriculum State State State
Approving diplomas N/A State State

France is composed of 13 regions. Each of these regions is divided into départements. There are 101 départments in France. Within each of these départments, are multiple municipalities who are specifically responsible for the operation of local education (35, 885 municipalities total). As noted in the chart above, each level of governance is responsible for the funding and oversight of different levels of education. The French National Ministry of Education provides the curriculum and payments to all teachers and educational staff, as well as approval of diplomas. The upkeep of schools, infrastructure, and pedagogical cost are all the responsibilties of the regions, départements, and municipalities - depending on the level of schooling.


Last updated December 08, 2017
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