Presentation of the French Education System > The foundation of knowledge and skills
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This foundation of skills and knowledge sets the cultural and civic markers which constitute the contents of compulsory education. It defines the seven skills that the children must acquire by the end of their compulsory schooling. The foundation makes up the main clause of the law of orientation and program for the future of schooling of 23rd April 2005.
A reference for the writing of syllabus
The foundation is a reforming act which concerns the educational institution as a whole. For the first time since the school laws of Jules Ferry, in 1882, the republic has indicated the mandatory content of compulsory schooling. The foundation constitutes a reference for writing syllabus materials in Primary and Lower and Middle Secondary Schools. The text contains the values, knowledge, languages and practices that, once mastered, will allow each student to be successful at school, continue onto tertiary training, build a personal and professional future, and will also contribute to a successful social life.
The seven skills of the foundation
The foundation is not a substitute for the Primary and Lower and Middle Secondary teaching programs. It is a foundation of the program’s objectives which then define what must not be ignored by the end of compulsory schooling.
It is organised into seven key skills:
- Mastering the French language;
- Fluency in a foreign language;
- The main principles of mathematics and scientific and technological studies;
- Mastering the techniques of information and communication;
- Humanistic culture;
- Social and civic skills;
- Autonomy and initiative.
Each of these skill areas is constructed like a combination of fundamental knowledge, ways to put them into practice in varied situations, and necessary attitudes all through life.
Three levels of evaluation
So as to evaluate the progressive mastering of the foundation by the students, three levels of evaluation are necessary:
The first, at the end of Year 2, corresponds to the acquiring of reading and writing skills.
The second, at the end of Primary School, measures the acquisition of fundamental grammar rules, basic numeracy and the four operations;
Finally, the brevet des collèges (School Certificate) measures the seven skills of the foundation.
A personal booklet enables the student, along with their family and teachers, to follow the progressive acquisition of the skills; it is experimental as of the school year 2007-2008. Any children with difficulties in acquiring any of the skills will receive a personalised program to help them succeed.
From now on, the programs will encompass annual points of reference to allow students to follow their progression as they acquire the skills of the foundation. The first programs including this were published during the school year 2006-2007 with an introduction date at the start of the school year in 2007.
Groups of experts comprising inspectors and teachers have been asked to:
- Prepare the conformity of the programs with the foundation.
- Specify the objectives of each cycle as well as the annual reference points which allow students to follow their progression.
Elements of the foundation of skills and knowledge are taken into account for the diplôme national du brevet (School Certificate) as of 2008:
- The brevet informatique et internet (B2i)
- The A2 level of the European Language Framework