The French Educational System .
Lycée du Parc
The French educational system is quite unique, and might need some explaining.
Modern French education is created by Jules Ferry, a French Minister of Public Instruction in the 1880s. Thanks to him, public education becomes mandatory, free, and secular to all French citizens.
From 1914 to the end of the 50s
Boys and girls aged 6 to age 12 must attend Elementary School.
After Elementary School, students are expected to take the Certificat d'Etudes. Only those passing the Certificat d'Etudes (about 50% of the students) can go on to Secondary School.
After passing the Certificat d'Études, students are required to take an exam before entering Secondary School (grade 6 to grade 9). Those judged not gifted enough by their teachers to pass the exam won't even be allowed to try it, and won't go into Secondary School. Instead, they will go to "Cours Complémentaire", a continuation of Elementary School with an easier cursus that Secondary school.
The end of "Cours Complémentaire" is sanctionned by a diploma (BEPC), required to enter a fair number of carreers.
For those lucky enough to enter Secondary School (grade 6 to 9), another diploma (Brevet) is required before continuing on to High School (grade 10 to 12).
The Baccalauréat is the diploma required at the end of grade 12 before entering any college. It is worth noting that only 10% of a generation were entering Terminale (grade 12) at the end of the 50s, and that only 6 % of a generation had passed the Baccalauréat.
From the 60s to Today
School is mandatory until 16 years old since 1959.
The French Educational System has been modified by a serie of laws and reforms since the 60s, as well as by the number of students.
Because of the mandatory age to attend school, more students go to highschool and more pass the Baccalaureat (59 000 in 1960, 139 000 in 1970).
Meanwhile there is no more exam required to enter 6th grade, and the Certificat d'Etudes does not exist anymore.
Cours Complementaire has been abolished, since all students from 5th grade can enter 6th grade.
The Brevet at the end of 9th Grade still exists, but is not conditional to the passage in 10th grade.
The Bacalaureat still exists, and is still mandatory before going to Superior Education.
In 1960, 50% of a generation had passed the Certificat d'Etudes
In 1975, 50% of a generation had passed the Brevet
In 1990, 50% of a generation had passed the Baccalaureat
In 2004, 50% of a generation had at least 2 years of college.