publicationsQuality assurance procedures in the processes of certification, curricula setting, accreditation and training of trainers in European VET systems - 9. France
Information Gathering Exercise
Quality assurance procedures in the processes of certification, curricula setting, accreditation and training of trainers in European VET systems

IV. The results of the scrutiny of information already available

The main results of this study are presented in two parts: the first part, the “Matrix”, presents the results in a table format, using the “codes” presented below; the second part is the set of “Country Cards”, which function as endnotes for each Member State, where some summary explanations are given as answers to the questions raised in the matrix...
9. France
1. Assessment, validation and recognition of the learning outcomes – existence of mechanisms for formal and non-formal/informal contexts:
1.1. Who is responsible for assessment, validation and recognition of the learning outcomes?

The ministries responsible for initial and continuous vocational education are mainly those responsible for school education, higher education and employment.
Other ministries are also involved (Agriculture, Health, Sports etc. for their specific area).
For IVET – the Ministry for National Education is responsible for initial vocational education at secondary level. (Some other ministries also have responsibilities in IVET, such as the Ministry of Agriculture that is similarly responsible for professional agricultural training. The Ministry of Higher Education is responsible for Higher education.)
In this context the law has assigned to the Ministry of Education several duties:
– it draws up vocational diplomas/qualifications in consultation with professional bodies. (Vocational diplomas/qualifications issued by the Ministry of National Education are national and are worth the same whether they are acquired in initial education – IVET (schoolbased scheme or apprenticeship), through CVET or by a validation of professional experience. They are registered in the Répertoire National des Certifications Professionnelles (National Directory of Professional Certifications),
– it sets exam rules,
– it awards diplomas,
– it offers a range of courses to pupils and on-the-job apprentices,
– it recruits, trains and pays teachers,
– it monitors the quality of training,
– it is accountable for the results and the resources used.
For IVET and CVET – the Regions (regional governments) define and implement the regional policies of vocational training, for young people and for adults.
The French Regions are regional authorities that are run by elected officials.
Their remit is to plan and ensure the coherence of vocational training in their geographical area. Within this remit, they set out their policies according to their economic and social priorities, in consultation with the State and social partners.
As such they draw up the regional plans for developing vocational training which set out, in the medium term, in their geographical area, a coherent programme for developing courses of study for young people and adults. They also fund certain schemes for these groups according to their priorities. They are responsible for the construction, upkeep and facilities of upper secondary schools (lycées) as well as the funding of school transport.
For CVET – the Ministry for Economy, Industry and Employment is responsible for national regulation concerning vocational training for adults as well as for young people in the labour market.
The validation of non-formal and informal learning can lead in whole or in part, to a diploma, a title or certificate of professional qualification entered in the National Directory of Professional Certifications.
1.2. Where does the decision making regarding assessment, validation and recognition of the learning outcomes lie?

For IVET, concerning the Ministry of Education and its vocational diplomas/qualifications: the ministry is responsible for designing its qualifications/vocational diplomas – in consultation with professional bodies – and for designing the assessment, validation, recognition/certification process and procedures. Within this framework, training providers (with companies for alternate schemes such as apprenticeship) deliver training provision leading to vocational diplomas/qualifications. The training providers proceed to assessment, juries involving VET experts and professional bodies proceed to validation.
The ministry is responsible for recognition/certification: it delegates this final task to Rectors of Academies, who are at the head of the regional education authorities.
For CVET, process and procedures depend on different aspects: CVET can be delivered in order to gain a diploma, a title or certificate of professional qualification entered in the National Directory of Professional Certifications: the structures that produce those certifications include the Ministry of Education, of Higher Education, of Health, Sports, Agriculture, and also many other bodies.
But CVET can also be delivered to adults who wish to gain competences that do not lead to certifications.
Procedures will vary, depending on the aim of CVET and on the structures that produce certifications.
1.3. How are the stakeholders involved in the decision making process?

Stakeholders include the State through ministries, the social partners and the economic world and the Regions.
All those actors collaborate at different levels:
For IVET and CVET – at national level for the cooperation between stakeholders concerning VET policies: the National Council for Vocational Lifelong Learning. This Council also produces studies and reports. For qualifications recognised by the State – at national level: the National Commission for Professional Qualifications (CNCP). The commission is composed of ministries, social partners, Regions; its role is to manage the National Directory of Professional Certifications, to inform people, to check the complementarity of certifications.
-- For IVET and CVET – at national level for the creation of qualifications: Professional Consultative Commissions. Vocational diplomas/qualifications are drawn up and regularly reviewed in consultation with the professional and economical world in the framework of national bodies called «Consultative professional committees» (Commissions Professionnelles Consultatives). These committees are compulsory and enable consultation for the creation and renewal of qualifications and for the definition of the contents of qualification, including the definition of learning outcomes.
-- For IVET – at national level for the deliverance of training: the economic world also intervenes in the training deliverance since IVET relies on alternate schemes. IVET is delivered through apprenticeship but also through the school-based system which includes compulsory training periods in enterprises.
-- For IVET – at national level for the validation process: the economic world also intervenes in the validation process through the participation of professionals on juries.
-- For IVET – at regional level – regional employment and vocational training co-ordination committees (CCREFP) allow coordination and discussions between the stakeholders involved in VET in order to jointly intervene in scopes linked to employment and VET policies (state representatives, regional assemblies, management and labour organisations – social partners – and regional consular chambers: agriculture, trade and commerce and industry).
-- For IVET – at regional level – the French regions must plan and ensure the coherence of vocational training in their geographical area. Within this remit, they set out their policies according to their economic and social priorities, in consultation with the State and the social partners, taking into account the regional employment and vocational training co-ordination committees. As such, Regions draw up the regional plans for developing vocational training which set out, in the medium term, in their geographical area, a coherent programme for developing courses of study for young people and adults. The work should lead to contracts (Contrats de Plan Régionaux de Développement des Formations Professionnelles) signed between Regions and the State.
-- For CVET – at national level – the National Joint Committee for Vocational Training is in charge of ensuring that continuing vocational training’s agreements are duly applied.
-- For CVET – at sector level- the National Joint Employment Commissions and the National Interprofessional Agreements (the most recent one, from 2009, focused on vocational lifelong learning).
-- For CVET – at regional level – regional employment and vocational training co-ordination committees (CCREFP) allow coordination and discussions between the stakeholders involved in VET in order to jointly intervene in scopes linked to employment and VET policies (state representatives, regional assemblies, management and labour organisations – social partners – and regional consular chambers: agriculture, trade and commerce and industry).
-- For CVET – at regional level – the French regions must plan and ensure the coherence of vocational training in their geographical area. Within this remit, they set out their policies according to their economic and social priorities, in consultation with the State and social partners, taking into account the regional employment and vocational training co-ordination committees. As such, Regions draw up the regional plans for developing vocational training which set out, in the medium term, in their geographical area, a coherent programme for developing courses of study for young people and adults. The work should lead to contracts (Contrats de Plan Régionaux de Développement des Formations Professionnelles) signed between Regions and the State.
2. Curricula setting:
2.1. Is the curriculum based on standards and/or frameworks?

For IVET – for the qualifications of the State, including those of the ministry of Education), the national curriculum is based on the framework of the State.
For CVET – the frameworks are defined at sectoral, regional and local levels.
2.2. Levels of actions:
2.2.1. Where does the decision making regarding standards and/or frameworks lie?

For IVET, at national level – the Ministry of National Education regarding secondary education.
2.2.2. Where does the decision making regarding curriculum development lie?

For IVET, at national level – the Ministry of National Education regarding secondary education.
For CVET – at provider level.
2.3. Is the curriculum based on National Qualification Frameworks (NQF)?

Yes – for the curricula developed to obtain a certification registered in the National Directory of Professional Certifications.
2.4. Is the curriculum based on competencies?

Yes – for IVET and CVET.
2.5. Is a credits system in place?

If we consider that credits systems refer to ECVET or ECTS, a credit system is in place for higher education.
2.6. What is the role of practice? (Proportion and delivery).

For IVET delivered through a school-based scheme – about 15-20% compulsory work-based learning, depending on the type of programme and of diploma.
For IVET delivered through apprenticeship, about 65-70%.
For CVET, it depends on the demand, and on the sectoral, regional, local agreements involving, for instance, social partners or the regional authorities.
3. Accreditation of VET providers:
3.1. Who is responsible for the accreditation of VET providers?

For IVET – the State and the regional authorities.
For CVET – the providers evolve on a free market. They can be private or public. The 2009 law established the necessity to give transparency for those who buy training schemes and for citizens. CVET Providers must now give information about the objectives of training offered, about nature and time of provisions. They must deliver, at the end of the training periods, attestations explaining results of the evaluation and validation process. The law also intends to create a database of CVET providers, giving standardised information about providers, including their quality signals, such as labels.
3.2. Where does the decision making regarding the accreditation lie?

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3.3. How are the stakeholders involved in the decision making process?

Stakeholders include the State through ministries, the social partners and the economic world, the Regions. All those actors collaborate at different levels:
-- For IVET and CVET – at national level for the cooperation between stakeholders concerning VET policies: the National Council for Vocational Lifelong Learning. This Council also produces studies and reports.
-- For qualifications recognised by the State – at national level: the National Commission for Professional Qualifications (CNCP). The commission is composed of ministries, social partners, Regions; its role is to manage the National Directory of Professional Certifications, to inform people, to check the complementarity of certifications.
-- For IVET and CVET – at national level for the creation of qualifications: Professional Consultative Commissions. Vocational diplomas/qualifications are drawn up and regularly reviewed in consultation with the professional and economical world in the framework of national bodies called «Consultative Professional Committees» (Commissions Professionnelles Consultatives). These committees are compulsory and enable consultation for the creation and renewal of qualifications, for the definition of the contents of qualification, including the definition of learning outcomes.
-- For IVET – at national level for the deliverance of training: the economic world also intervenes in the training deliverance since IVET relies on alternate schemes. IVET is delivered through apprenticeship but also through the school-based system which includes compulsory training periods in enterprises.
-- For IVET – at national level for the validation process: the economic world also intervenes in the validation process through the participation of professionals on juries.
-- For IVET – at regional level – regional employment and vocational training co-ordination committees (CCREFP) allow coordination and discussions between the stakeholders involved in VET in order to jointly intervene in scopes linked to employment and VET policies (state representatives, regional assemblies, management and labour organisations – social partners – and regional consular chambers: agriculture, trade and commerce and industry).
-- For IVET – at regional level – the French Regions must plan and ensure the coherence of vocational training on their geographical area. Within this remit, they set out their policies according to their economic and social priorities, in consultation with the State and social partners, taking into account the regional employment and vocational training co-ordination committees. As such Regions draw up the regional plans for developing vocational training which set out, in the medium term, in their geographical area, a coherent programme for developing courses of study for young people and adults. The work should lead to contracts (Contrats de Plan Régionaux de Développement des Formations Professionnelles) signed between Regions and the State.
-- For CVET – at national level – the National Joint Committee for Vocational Training is in charge of ensuring that continuing vocational training’s agreements are duly applied.
-- For CVET – at regional level – regional employment and vocational training co-ordination committees (CCREFP) allow coordination and discussions between the stakeholders involved in VET in order to jointly intervene in scopes linked to employment and VET policies (state representatives, regional assemblies, management and labour organisations – social partners – and regional consular chambers: agriculture, trade and commerce and industry).
-- For CVET – at regional level – the French Regions must plan and ensure the coherence of vocational training on their geographical area. Within this remit, they set out their policies according to their economic and social priorities, in consultation with the State and social partners, taking into account the regional employment and vocational training co-ordination committees. As such Regions draw up the regional plans for developing vocational training which set out, in the medium term, in their geographical area, a coherent programme for developing courses of study for young people and adults. The work should lead to contracts (Contrat de Plan Régionaux de Développement des Formations Professionnelles) signed between Regions and the State.
4. Training of teachers/trainers:
4.1. Who is a “teacher”/“trainer”?

IVET teacher / lecturer – educator working in the formal education system, civil servants (90%). They are usually trained in higher education institutions (Universities, ‘écoles normales supérieures’, certain universities or private institutions).
Teachers/trainers in apprenticeship – often ex-tradesmen and tradeswomen, experts in the field they are teaching; they may be employed on a contract (full- or part-time) in the Apprentice Training Centre, or they may be self-employed.
IVET apprentice master – employee responsible for training a young apprentice within the company; no specific training or qualification process is required.
CVET teachers and trainers – there is no national regulation governing the status of trainers or other training professionals. But there are different frameworks that can be developed.
4.2. Is the training of teachers/trainers based on standards/rameworks?

For IVET and CVET teacher/lecturer, the status and rank are determined by national entrance examinations for admission to the profession and regulated by the state.
4.3. What institutions /instances are in charge with training of teachers/trainers?

For IVET and CVET teacher/lecturer – higher education institutions.
4.4. What is the proportion “technical”/“pedagogical” in the training of teachers/trainers?
4.5. What institutions/instances are in charge with the accreditation of “teachers”/“trainers”?

For IVET teacher/lecturer – the State: there are national entrance examinations for admission to the profession (concours), regulated by the State.
Extra sources of information:
www.centre-inffo.fr – the website of the French national Centre for the Development of Information on Continuing Vocational Training. Download Quality assurance procedures in the processes of certification, curricula setting, accreditation and training of trainers in European VET systems.