- Basic information about the main systems or policies currently implemented, plus any points of interest specific to this country.
Lifelong learning and adult education are currently managed by public and private institutions in France
. The biggest provider is the Ministry of National Education
(Ministère de l´Éducation Nationale), whereas other departments give a smaller contribution (e.g. In rural places, until 2009, the Ministry of Agriculture gave subventions to NGOs and associations within a budget line called "animation rurale" ; also the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Youth and the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Development include a small contribution in their budget for the implementation of specific actions in the socio-cultural field.
However, the process of decentralization empowered regional governments and provided some powers to local authorities, which are now charged with adult education issues and professional training. During the last few years several reforms about adult education were enacted, with the introduction of the "validation of competences via the experience" system (validation des acquis de l´experience - VAE) and a series of acts concerning the general theme of social modernisation, from 2002.
On the other hand, private actors also contribute in the adult education field by organising courses and other kinds of activities with the support of the government. According to the data provided by the Ministry of National Education, private associations and organisations such as tgis represented around 80% of educational activity.
Politics and Law
- Basic overview of the political background for the country's attitude towards Adult Education, including key legislation, any legal issues or political directives etc, and any points of interest specific to this country.
Two departments are particularly concerned with lifelong learning. The Ministry of Economy, Industry and Employment
manages lifelong learning policies
improve the opportunities for employment. It is not strictly involved in financing adult education projects and institutions, but it contributes to helping specific target groups, like migrants or prisoners, with the specific aim to encourage and abable them to find employment. The Ministry of National Education
concretely organises and promotes lifelong learning,
which is realised through the so-called GRETAs, specific centres designed to promote vocational training courses.
Regions have the power to promote policies concerning adult education, according to local priorities. After the process of decentralisation Regions have a general competence in vocational training of young and adult people and they enact the "regional plan for the development of vocational training" (plan régional de développement des formations professionnelles). The statute concerning lifelong learning and vocational training, published in November 2009, gave Regions the power to organise every single regional development plan.
On the other hand, enterprises also have a special duty towards adult education and vocational training; for example a small proportion of the worker's wage should be dedicated to lifelong learning (at least 1,6%). In 2009 the reform of education introduced some innovations; firstly the right to information and professional orientation for everyone, and also the use of funds to improve the rights of employees.
The education of each employee grows through three different strategies.
The first is the education plan (plan de formation) of the enterprise, which is a sort of on-the job training, which is paid and organised by every single company, and provides the necessary education to employees.
The second type of education is known as the individual right to education (droit individuel à la formation - DIF), which gives employees 20 hours per year for educational purposes. Since this amount of hours can be acumulated during 6 year periods, the employee can eventually take up to 120 hours for education.
Finally, two different special permissions exist: individual permission for education (congé individuel de formation - CIF), which allows employees to choose and attend a course; and also 'congé de bilan de competences', a special permission through which each employee can self-evaluate their professional and academic skills and define a personal plan of education .
The reform of the French vocational training system started with the creation of the "validation des acquis de l´experience" - VAE, within the social modernization act in 2002 . This statute only came into force in 2004 thanks to an agreement between all the social partners. The act concerning lifelong vocational training and social dialogue (2004 - formation professionnelle tout au long de la vie et le dialogue social) dramatically changed the education system, originally organized on the basis of a statute approved in 1971. The principal aim of this reform was to make employees aware of the education they need, without any interference by the employer. The VAE system in fact consists of obtaining a school degree through the validation of professional experiences. According to the procedure, the candidate should fill in a form, which is evaluated by a jury. This jury will decide whether to validate the professional experiences of the candidate, giving them the respective diploma (usually a certificate of professional aptitude - CAP, certificate d´aptitude professionnelle) . This system is not very easy to understand and the number of applications are very low because of the lack of information and the complexity of the system.
An important role is also played by the National Agency against Illiteracy (L´Agence nationale de lutte contre l´illettrisme - ANLCI), established in 2000. The role of ANLCI is to promote initiatives which aim to prevent and fight the illiteracy. In 2001 the regional plans against illiteracy were introduced, whereby in 2003 a national framework of reference for the equal access to basic literacy was created.