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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

Last update: 31 January 2024


The education and training of young people are major recurrent concerns in the eyes of the public authorities and, more generally, French society as a whole, whose expectations in this regard are many and varied, and go beyond the simple issue of education itself.

The French educational model has undergone far-reaching changes enabling it to be characterised by the ongoing spread of mass education since the 1950s, accompanied by a lengthening of the duration of schooling and a form of “democratisation” expressed by access to high levels of qualification on the part of a significant percentage of the population, the less privileged social categories in particular.

However, as shown by several national studies (a study of Avise in 2023 and a study of the Observatory of inequalities in 2022) as well as international studies (in particular the PISA study 2022 – last data available) – inequalities in acquired knowledge, and social/school trajectories between pupils and students are important and persistent. Success in school is strongly conditioned by the socio-economic level of their families.

Accord to the 2022 PISA study, France is among the OECD countries where school inequalities between pupils are the most significant.

The study also highlights a 107 points gap in written comprehension between pupils from more or less priviledged backgrounds[1]. This gap is “significantly higher” than the OECD average.

The reduction of inequalities and academic success of all students, including pupils, are major challenges of school and higher education.

More generally, the reinforcement of the education system constitutes a crucial stake for public authorities.

[1] Note d'information n° 19.49 « PISA 2018 : Stabilité des résultats en compréhension de l’écrit », 2019, direction de l’évaluation, de la prospective et de la performance (DEPP)