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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures


6.Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

6.13Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures

Last update: 27 November 2023

Several types of alternative structures exist in France in elementary and secondary education.

Local public international education institutions

Established by law no.2019-791 of July 26, 2019, the local public international education institutions (EPLEI) are made up of first and second degree classes and provide teaching in French as well as in a modern foreign language throughout the school life of the pupil. They prepare either for the international option of the Diplôme National du Brevet and the international option of the baccalaureate, or for the European baccalaureate. The EPLEI preparing for the international option of the baccalaureate can also prepare, within a binational section, for the simultaneous delivery of the baccalaureate and the diploma or the certification allowing access to higher education in a foreign State in application of agreements with that state.

Admission of pupils to the EPLEI is subject to verification of their ability to follow the courses taught in the language of the section, under conditions appropriate to their age. The authority responsible for education assigns students in EPLEI who have passed this aptitude check, taking care to ensure the social mix of the public schooled there.

Student progress and assessment, instruction times and activities are the same in these schools as in a traditional school.

Experimental institutions

Educational research may take place in public or private institutions under contract. This work may also be carried out in an institution providing adapted education for students with disabilities. These experimental arrangements have also been reinforced by Law No. 2019-791 of July 26, 2019.

Subject to the prior authorization of the academic authorities and after consultation with the teaching teams, the school project may provide for the carrying out of educational experiments relating to all or part of the school or establishment, for a period limited to five years. These experiments may relate to:

  • pedagogical organization of the class, school or establishment;
  • link between the different levels of education;
  • cooperation with the partners of the education system;
  • education in a modern foreign or regional language;
  • exchanges with foreign educational establishments;
  • use of digital tools and resources;
  • distribution of teaching hours over the entire school year;
  • student orientation procedures;
  • participation of the parents of pupils in the life of the school.

Consequently, the diversity of the existing devices does not allow by an inventory of the modalities such as the times of instruction, the selection of the pupils, their evaluation or their progression in the various levels of the school education.

National Center for Distance Learning (CNED)

The National Center for Distance Education (CNED) is the public operator of distance education and ensures on behalf of the State the continuity of education of students who cannot go to class for various reasons (long illness duration, roaming, etc.). The methods of selecting students, their evaluation or their progression are therefore the same as in traditional school education. Distance learning does not allow students to be assigned a defined instruction time.