AEFE is a public actor, which, under the auspices of the French Ministry for European and Foreign Affairs, coordinates the network of French educational establishments abroad, commonly known as “Lycée Français”. This network consists of over 540 accredited schools whose list is set by an annual joint arrangement of the Ministry of National Education and the Minister for European and Foreign Affairs. This unique school network, with approximately 370 000 students in 138 different countries, provides a great asset for France and its influence.
Education: a great challenge
France is the country that has the largest school network outside its own borders. The network supports the growing mobility of French families abroad. It is also a tool that makes France radiate, thanks to its reception of foreign students (60%). The network thus fulfils its mission by educating children from French families established outside France, as well as some of all children with different origins in 138 countries.
Through this dual mission, the school network participates in the image of France, its presence and influence in the world and contributes everywhere with the universal humanistic values underlying the French Republic’s model.
School authorization: a guarantee of quality
The authorization issued by the French National Ministry of Education certifies the education’s compliance with the requirements, programs, training objectives and organizational rules of the French education system. It allows all pupils from an authorized school to continue their education in another French school (subject to free space) without admission examination. Schools are required to demonstrate on a regular basis that they meet the requirements for approval (reception of children of French nationality and foreign children, preparation of students for French examinations and degrees, possession of qualified French staff).
An attractive school network with rational development
Over a period of 20 years, the number of students in the AEFE network has increased by more than 50%. As a sign of the quality of the education offered, this development must also meet the challenge of economic equilibrium.
France is the only country that has chosen to have an education system of this size abroad, which is largely financed by public funds. The remainder is financed by school fees. The French State’s contribution to the financing of the French education network abroad is based on the European and Foreign Ministry granting two grants within the mission “Activities outside France”:
- Program 185 for “cultural diplomacy and influence” amounting to EUR 402 million (in 2015) to finance the institutions’ activities.
- Program “151 for” French Abroad “amounting to EUR 106.5 million (in 2015) to fund scholarships for French students.
The recognition of the school network’s central role abroad in favor of France’s external influence is reflected in the maintenance of significant resources, the use of which is always optimized. The rationalization of the funds offered by AEFE and the constant modernization of the network’s governance are constant challenges for the Agency.