IIEP Strategic Debate: Reforming the French secondary school and its flagship diploma

25 April 2019

Watch the debate

In English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7jPSpYExzY

In French: https://youtu.be/0-_rNjdPhXc


"If the baccalauréat is the key to access the country's higher education system, it is far from being a springboard to student success. The success rate in the general and technological baccalauréat (about 90%) ought not to conceal another reality: 61% of students do not reach the end of the studies in which they initially began." 

As a response to this situation, the French Ministry of National Education and Youth launched a major project in 2017 to reform upper secondary schooling and the baccalauréat, with the aim of modernizing this flagship diploma of the French education system. One of the objectives of the reform was to simplify an examination which had become too complex, while giving students more support in planning their academic future, in order to make it a real springboard to higher education. 

Pierre Mathiot, professor of political science and director of Sciences Po Lille, was tasked by the Ministry to propose a reform of the French upper secondary school system and of the baccalauréat. He will share his own experiences, while explaining the reasons for the reform, and bring his point of view as a policy analyst, by analysing what the reform says about the French education system. 

Paulo Santiago, Head of the Policy Advice and Implementation Division at the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills, will join the Debate as discussant. Michaela Martin, Programme Specialist at IIEP, will moderate the Debate.



When : Tuesday 14 May, 4pm-6pm (CEST)
Where : IIEP-UNESCO auditorium
7-9 rue Eugène Delacroix, 75116 Paris, France

This event will be held in French with simultaneous interpretation into English.


Not in Paris? We will be livestreaming this debate in both English and French. 

Make sure to register here to receive a reminder and link to the livestream, which will begin at 4pm CET time. The video will remain available on our website and on our YouTube channel after the event. 



Follow the debate on Twitter with #StrategicDebate and @IIEP_UNESCO !



One in five children between the ages of 6 and 17 is out of school, according to estimates from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. In the world’s poorest countries, the figure rises to one in three. Furthermore, many of those who are in school are failing to learn the basics, with as many as 6 in 10 children of primary and lower secondary age not achieving minimum proficiency levels in mathematics and reading. What will it take to remove all barriers and finally get all children and youth learning? What kinds of collaboration, innovation, and evidenced-based planning and policy-making can finally open the door to equal opportunity in education for all?