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By Florence Ducreau and Catherine Claus Demangeon, University of Lorraine

For entities in France see Category:France

Full PDF version of this report (in French) is at Media:POERUP_Rapport_fr_10122012.pdf

For a different perspective see Open Educational Resources in France - Overview, Perspectives and Recommendations by Sophie Touzé, for UNESCO IITE



The French territory

The French Republic consists of the home country (divided up into 22 regions and 96 départements), five overseas départements (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guiana, La Réunion, Mayotte), six overseas collectivities (French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Saint-Barthélémy, Saint-Martin), and one sui generis collectivity (New Caledonia). Spreading over 632,834 sq. km, of which 543,965 are in metropolitan France and 88,969 in the overseas départements (DOM), it is the largest country in Western Europe (almost a fifth of the surface area of the European Union). For further information:

OER in France: Map

Total number of Open Education Initiatives in France on Wednesday, 14 April 2021 at 05:39 = 11 , of which:

  • 5 are MOOC
  • 4 are OER

Initiatives per million = 0.17

Loading map...

The French population

As of January 1st, 2012, the population of France was 65.35 million (63.46 million live in metropolitan France and 1.89 million in the overseas departments, Mayotte not included). There are approximately 16 million inhabitants under 20, comprising 24.5% of the total population (down from 40% in 1970 and 35% in1990). The population is thus slowly ageing, but not as quickly as in other neighboring countries such as Germany or Italy. For further information:

In the second semester of 2012, the working population in France was 28.36 million, of which 25.58 million were employed and 2.78 million were unemployed. Among the latter, young people aged 15 to 20 made up 22.7% of the unemployed. For further information:

French education policy

To promote the employability of the younger population, the French state has established policies based on common core learning and equal opportunities whatever the background of the student. In basic education, the policies are designed to support teaching methods adapted to the diversity of pupils and to different rates of learning. This is complemented by a system of continuing education. For 2012, €137.4 billion have been invested in domestic expenditure on education, which amounts to 6.9% of the national wealth (GDP), the state contributing €80.6 billion. For further information:

Education in France

The main principles of the educational system in France


The educational system is based on the great principles inherited from the French Revolution of 1789 and on the legal measures, which followed and took into account the changes in society from the 19th century to today.

  • Education is a right for the citizen and a duty for the state.
  • Instruction is mandatory from age 6 to 16.
  • Primary and secondary school education is free of charge in public schools.
  • Freedom of education is a right and education can be delivered by private schools.
  • Teachers and pupils in the public schools have an obligation of philosophical and political neutrality
  • Public teaching is secular in terms of religious education.

For further information:

Ministries in charge of education in France

The Ministry of National Education is traditionally in charge of organizing education. Responsibilities may be shared, depending on the governments in office. Such is the case in 2012, as the Ayrault cabinet has given this duty to two different ministries. Primary and secondary (colleges and lycées / junior high and high school) education, as well as continuing education (in the GRETA) is dealt with by the Ministry of National Education, while higher education and research are entrusted to the Ministry of Higher Education and Research. For further information:

Regional districts and departmental offices

Each French region and département houses services of the national education administration; these are the decentralized services of the Ministry of National Education. There are 30 regional districts and 97 departmental offices. Each district corresponds to a region, except for Ile-de-France, Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. There are 26 metropolitan districts and four overseas. The other overseas collectivities have a deputy state superintendent of education or national education services. The representative of the Ministry, in the various regions, is the state superintendent of the district, who is in charge of the management and implementation of education in his or her district, from kindergarten to university. The Directeurs Académique des Services départementaux de l'Education Nationale (DA- SEN) who head the departmental offices in each district, are the agents of the state superintendent at the département level. In their work, the Directeurs are assisted by the national education inspectors (primary, secondary, and technical education, information and advice on study options), who are each in charge of one district for primary education. For further information:

The organisation of the French educational system


The French educational system is divided into three levels:

  • Primary education
  • Secondary education
  • Higher education

These three levels correspond to basic education. They are complemented by continuing education for the updating or augmenting of professional skills during the students’ lifetime. For further information:

Primary education (first level)
Maternelle (kindergarten or nursery school)

Primary education is geared towards children aged three to eleven. It starts at maternelle for children aged three to six with three successive classes: petite section (first year), moyenne section (second year), and grande section (third year). Maternelle is not mandatory, although nine children out of ten attend, being the normal beginning of education. The courses that are taught aim at developing the pupils’ potential preparing them for primary school. For more information:

Primary school

After maternelle, children go on to primary school for five years in the following classes: Cours préparatoire (CP), Cours élémentaire 1ère année (CE1, second year), Cours élémentaire 2ème année (CE2, third year), Cours moyen 1ère année (CM1, fourth year), Cours moyen 2ème année (CM2, fifth year). School is mandatory. The first two years are devoted to core learning with a stress on French and Mathematics. The three following years are devoted to the deepening of the learning, with classes on literature, history and geography, experimental sciences, and technology. Information and communication technology is used for school work and for work towards the first Internet and data processing certificate (brevet Informatique et Internet, or B2i). For further information:

A few figures

For the 2011-2012 school year, there were 6,710,691 pupils in elementary schools on French territory, 86.6% of whom were in the public system. The average class size was 26.0 pupils per class in nursery school, and 22.7 in primary school. In metropolitan France and the overseas départements, excluding Mayotte, the average amount spent for primary schooling was €5,870 per pupil. It was €5,270 in 2000. For further information:

Secondary education (2nd level)
Collège (junior high school)

Secondary education starts in collège for all pupils coming from primary education, without an entrance examination. Its aim is to ensure that all pupils acquire at least the common core curriculum. Courses are organized according to subjects, and the learning objectives are set by the national syllabus. The learning of a foreign language, started in primary school, is continued. There are four years to collège: sixième (sixth form), cinquième (fifth form), quatrième (fourth form), and troisième (third form). At the end of third form, the pupils sit for the Diplôme National du Brevet (DNB, national certificate), which assesses the knowledge and skill gained in collège. For further information:

Lycée (High school)

After the third form, pupils go to high school. They can choose between general and technological education (preparing them for higher education), or vocational education, leading to studies of shorter duration and early entry into the labour market. Those choosing general or technological studies study for three years, in seconde (second form), première (first form), terminale (final form). This will lead to the baccalauréat, the end-of-secondary education diploma, commonly known as "Le Bac". The selection of a particular course of studies takes place after the Seconde. Courses are general courses and new subjects are introduced. A main objective is to help the students in their choice of a course of studies.

General education offers three possible courses of studies, from first form:

  • Social and economic sciences - Economique et social (Bac ES)
  • Literature - Littéraire (Bac L)
  • Science - Scientifique (Bac S)

Technological education leads to engineering or qualified technician studies, in two years or more. There are seven possible peogrammes:

  • Lab science and technology - Sciences et Technologies de Laboratoire (Bac STL)
  • Industrial science and technology - Sciences et Technologies Industrielles (Bac STI)
  • Science and technology for management - Sciences et Technologies de Gestion (Bac STG)
  • Science and technology for health and Social services - Sciences et Technologies de la Santé et du Social (Bac ST2S)
  • Music and dance - Techniques de la Musique et de la Danse (Bac TMD)
  • Hospitality industry - Hôtellerie
  • Science and technology for agriculture - Sciences et Technologies de l’Agronomie et du Vivant (Bac STAV)

To obtain the baccalauréat - the secondary education diploma - students sit for examination at the end of the first form, but most exams are set at the end of the final form.

The vocational stream offers practical courses leading to the professional world and its occupations. Students can work toward degrees in vocational high schools, or through apprenticeships, or in training centers for apprentices (centre de formation d’apprentis, CFA). This vocational training can start when students are 16. It consists of both practical training with an employer along with classes in the training center. The apprentices have the status of paid junior workers in a company and are under the supervision of an apprentice master. This degree program leads to several different diplomas enabling the students to quickly enter the labour market, although they are encouraged to go as far as possible in their studies to promote their employability. The diplomas are as follows:

  • Certificate in vocational skills - Certificat d’Aptitude Professionnelle (CAP): 2 years of studies and over 200 subjects
  • Vocational baccalauréat - Baccalauréat professionnel (Bac Pro): 3 years of studies and 70 subjects
  • Vocational diploma - Brevet Professionnel (BP): can only be done by apprenticeship, 2 years of studies after a Certificate in vocational skills (CAP), 57 subjects
  • Additional certificate - Mention Complémentaire (MC): one year after a certificate in vocational skills (CAP) or a vocational baccalaureat (Bac Pro), 57 subjects
  • Professional arts diploma - Brevet des Métiers d’Art (BMA): 2 years after a certificate in vocational skills in the professional arts (CAP en métiers d’art), 16 subjects.

For further information:

A few figures

For the 2011-2012 school year, 1,440,007 high school students were registered in general or technological education streams, 694,661 pupils were in a vocational high school, and 321,028 were in apprenticeship. In metropolitan France and the overseas départements, excluding Mayotte, the average amount spent for general, technological or vocational high school is €9,660 per student. It was €9,260 in 2000. For further information:

The baccalauréat (secondary education diploma)

For the 2012 diploma, 717,400 candidates were examined in June 2012, an increase of 7% from 2011. 605,900 pupils passed. These figures, with a pass rate of 84.5% (all streams included), show a drop of one percent from 2011. The success rate for 2012, in the various streams, was 89.6% for general diplomas, 83.4% for technological diplomas, and 78.2% for vocational diplomas. In comparison to the 2011 baccalauréat results, this was 1.4% more for general diplomas and 1% more for technological diplomas, but 5.6% less for the vocational diplomas. For further information:

Higher education
The various options

To enter higher education, final form students must have passed the baccalauréat. They then can choose short-term study programs, in two years, to sit for a Higher Vocational diploma (Brevet de Technicien Supérieur, BTS) or an Associate’s degree in technology (Diplôme Universitaire de Technologie, DUT), in the tertiary or technological fields. They can also choose to go to university to get an education, in a wide variety of fields, so as to get a Bachelor’s degree (Licence, 3 years after the baccalauréat), a Master’s degree (5 years), a Doctorate (8 years), or a specialized degree as is the case for health professionals. They may choose to go to a “grande école” (in business or engineering). These schools, which are often private and not free, offer prestigious state degrees (in 5 years). They are accessible via an entrance examination either after the baccalauréat, or after two years in prep school, or after at least two successful years in university. For further information:

A few figures

For the 2012 school year, 2,347,800 students were registered in higher education, 1.2% more than the previous academic year 2010-2011. There has been increased enrollments in engineering schools (+ 3.9% from 2010-2011), as well as for business, management and SALES schools (+ 4.4% from 2010-2012). Generally, the numbers are higher in all fields except for IUT (University institutes of technology) which saw the number of their students drop by 0.6% from the previous year. For further information:

Continuing education

Continuing education is the type of training geared toward those who have left basic education. It is aimed at salaried workers, the unemployed, and all adults wanting training or a diploma. The most well-known field is continuing professional development.

Funds for continuing education in France come from companies (40%), from the state (22%), (Pôle emploi among other agencies), from the regions (14.4%), from the government for its own agents (19%), and from households (4%).

Those involved in continuing education

Continuing education can be provided by companies (when they have in-house training departments), by government agencies (GRETA, AFPA, Universities, CNAM, etc.), or by private institutions. In 2012, there were 48,000 training institutions, public and private, in France. For further information:

Going back to school

For adults wanting to go back to school or get a degree, three specific means are possible:

  • The diploma giving access to higher education (Diplôme d'Accès aux Etudes Universitaires, DAEU), success in an exam enables them to register in a university. It grants the same rights as the baccalauréat when it comes to acces to higher education. It is delivered by authorized universities. There are two DAEUs: DAEU - A : literature, law; DAEU - B: sciences

For further information:

  • The capacité en droit or law certificate is also a university diploma which is open to those 17 and above. Having no prior requirement, it gives access to higher education in the field of law.

For further information:

  • The accreditation of acquired experience (Validation des Acquis de l’Expérience, VAE) takes into account skills acquired outside the academic system, university or otherwise. The aim is to achieve the appropriate higher education level to go back to studying, or to get part or the whole of a higher education degree.

For further information:

The schooling of children with handicaps
The February 11, 2005 Act

The act for equality of opportunity, inclusion and citizenship of handicapped persons of February 11, 2005, grants every child with a handicap the right to be registered with an ordinary school nearest his or her home address, and asserts his or her right to a continuous and adapted school education For further information: For further information:

Since this act was passed, guidance and help to handicapped children are provided by the Committee for the rights and autonomy of people with a handicap (Commission des Droits et de l’Autonomie des Personnes Handicapées, CDAPH), setting up in the Départemental handicap houses (Maisons Départementales du Handicap, MDPH) a personalized schooling project (Projet Personnalisé de Scolarisation, PPS). For further information:,89/fiches-pratiques,91/handicap-interlocuteurs-et,1898/la-commission-des-droits-et-de-l,12630.html

Types of schooling

Schooling can take place in an ordinary school setting (a school, a junior high school, a high school), in a specialized institution (medical and social institution or hospital), or in both. In an ordinary school setting, the pupil can be registered individually in an ordinary class, without any specific help, or with the help of a school-life assistant (Auxiliaire de Vie Scolaire, AVS). For further information:

If their health prevents them from being in an ordinary class, they will be, in primary education, in a student group (with other handicapped pupils) known as a Class for school inclusion (Classe pour l’Inclusion Scolaire, CIS). For further information:

In secondary education, the student group will form a Local unit for school inclusion (Unité Localisé pour l’Inclusion Scolaire, ULIS) or a Section of adapted general and vocational education (Section d’Enseignement Général et Professionnel Adapté, SEGPA). For further information:

Under the supervision of the Ministry for health, hospitals and medical and social institutions provide complete care services (education, school, therapy), which may in some cases include a limited inclusion in a school.

A few figures

For the school year 2011-2012, 210,395 students with a handicap attend an ordinary school, and 79,778 in specialized institutions, for a total of 283,041 children and teenagers. These figures are up by 3.7% from the previous school year. Students with a handicap are more numerous in primary schools (86,089) than in secondary schools (56,716). Schooling in an ordinary school has increased by 4.5% in ordinary schools and by 2.1% in specialized institutions. Students with intellectual and cognitive impairments make up almost half of the handicapped in primary schools (46%) and just over a third in secondary schools (38%). They are more often in CLIS (56%) or in ULIS (55%) than in an ordinary school. They are a majority of the pupils in medical and social institutions (52%). For further information:

Teaching personnel
Recruting teachers

Every year in France, the State recruits several thousand teachers through competitive examinations. Since 2011, candidates must hold a Master 2 diploma (5 years of higher education). While they are reading for the examination, at university, students can have internships in classrooms, either to observe and participate under a tutor, or as a teacher. The students who pass the competitive examination then become trainee teachers ; they are posted to a school for one school year. They are granted tenure at the end of their first year of training and teaching if they receive a positive assessment. To teach in a primary school, candidates sit for the competitive exam of the recruiting examination for school teachers (CRPE). For further information:

To teach in secondary education, there are several national competitive examinations:

  • The professional certificate for secondary teaching (certificat d’aptitude au professorat de l’enseignement du second degré, CAPES)
  • The professional certificate for physical education and sports teaching (certificat d’aptitude au professorat d’éducation physique et sportive, CAPEPS)
  • The professional certificate for secondary vocational teaching (certificat d’aptitude au professorat de lycée professionnel, CAPLP)
  • The agrégation, or higher professional certificate for secondary teaching

For further information:

To teach in University requires a doctorate (8 years of higher education) or a similar degree. Then the candidate must be qualified as a senior lecturer by a section of the national council for universities (Conseil National des Universités, C.N.U.). This qualification enables the holder to be a candidate for the positions offered in all public higher education and research institutions. For further information:

A few figures

In 2012, in the national education and higher education system, there are 915,251 people teaching in metropolitan France and overseas départements, Mayotte not included. 778,229 are in public education, and 137,022 in private education. Teachers represent 78.8% of the employees in the French education system along with administrative, technical, counselling and monitoring staff. Since 2004, there has been a regular decrease in the number of teachers. In primary and secondary education, they were 1,013,736 in 2004 but are only 915,251 in 2012. In higher education institutions, they were 75,853 in 2004, down to 70,303 in 2012. For further information:



Definition from the Petit Robert Dictionary

The word e-learning has just been included in the French dictionary. The 2012 edition of the Petit Robert gives the following definition: e-learning: “learning, training via the Internet”. Already the definition is being questioned for the reference to Internet rather than “long-distance”, “on line” or “via computer networks”, which excludes, for instance, e-learning programs on an intranet.

Definition by the European Commission

For its part, the European Commission defines e-learning as “the use of new information technologies and the Internet to improve the quality of learning by making access to resources and services easier, as well as facilitating exchanges and long-distance communication”. This definition stresses the idea of the quality of uses and practices.

Definition by LabSET

The Lab for the support of on-line teaching (Laboratoire de Soutien à l’Enseignement Télématique) gives an interesting definition. It defines e-learning as “on-line learning centered on the development of skills by the student, and structured by the interactions with the tutor and peers”. This definition implies that the use of multimedia tools is not enough and excludes from the start off-line self-training (on CD-Rom for instance). What is put forward is the use of a computer network, whether local (in a company, a school) or global (the Internet). The reference to “interaction with the tutor and peers” sets the definition in a didactic context including the two main elements connected to the quality and efficiency of learning. This definition allows for a great diversity of implementations and practices (blended learning, distance learning, virtual classroom, mobile learning, game-based learning, etc.) For further information on LabSET :


E-learning is the focus of several definitions and labels: on-line training, long-distance learning, educational website, tele-training, e-training, etc. Each definition reflects a trend, an approach. Some are centered on the technology involved, others on the idea of distance. Some insist on the didactic aspect, the type of interaction or the tutorial type, others offer a synthetic view. In this multiplicity of definitions, there is one thing which everyone agrees on: e-learning is a real training system which cannot be reduced to simply offering content or resources accessible on-line. For further information:

Obviously, e-learning is a complex topic when the definition itself is so hotly debated. It is presented here in the most open way, showing on the one hand the specificity of the public using these methods, and on the other hand the private and public agents dealing with the demand, and the organizations helping in this field. There is a focus on the national policy in favor of digital technology in French institutions.

Choosing e-learning

For primary and secondary education

The reasons to choose long-distance learning in primary and secondary education are varied. It can be due to a health problem, a handicap, or to focus on a passion, like sports or music. French youth living abroad also have an interest. Another reason for taking long-distance courses is when students have failed the baccalauréat; in that case, the students sit for the examination as external candidates. They can keep the “benefit of their grades” for 5 years, and only sit for the subjects in which they did not get a passing grade. Some families opt for long-distance education because the school system does not satisfy them or does not agree with their children. Long-distance learning centers offer, for instance, the possibility to educate precocious children, with staff trained for this type of learner. Sometimes, high school students choose their own curriculum, such as a specific foreign language, which is not offered in their own high school.

For higher education

Students choose long-distance learning for similar reasons: health problems, a handicap, isolation, or the absence of the desired course in a nearby institution. It is also connected to the possibility of reducing the costs linked to studying far from home (lodging, food, transport, etc.).

For vocational education

For adults, who may be salaried workers, heads of family, handicapped, or on sick leave; long-distance education may enable them to train, at their own rhythm, anywhere and at any time, to develop competence, gain knowledge, skills and diplomas. Furthermore, the e-learning system allows for a certain amount of freedom and a high degree of autonomy, which can attract those who want to be responsible for their own training.

Open and long-distance training courses can be offered as part of continuing professional development. As a consequence, the cost of training can be covered in part for people with a job or looking for a job, depending on their age and situation. The cost can be covered by the employer, the regional or general councils, the employment agency Pôle Emploi, or an authorized collecting organization (Organisme Paritaire Collecteur Agréé, OPCA), which finances continuing professional development for salaried workers under private law. It can be done in various ways: a training leave, individual right to training (DIF), a period of vocational training, or a personal project for entering the labor market.

The e-learning market

Most of the revenue generated by e-learning in France comes from companies, in the framework of continuous professional development for salaried workers, by private suppliers. Most of them are French in origin (85%), the rest are almost exclusively from the United States. Their offerings in long-distance education centers mainly on course content and to a lesser extent on learning management systems (LMS). Customized content represents the biggest share, but off-the-shelf content makes up more than a quarter of the French e-learning market. Serious games and virtual classrooms hold a small market share. Customers are, in their majority, large companies. Small businesses and training organizations, when they have a network can increase their share of the market significantly. They can, for example, invest in e-learning to cope with the new buying policies of the large companies.. For further information:

Agencies of long-distance learning


To meet the demand and the needs of the various customers, public and private organizations offer on-line courses complying with the demands of the French education system. These organizations are numerous, and for the targeted public the long-distance options on offer are difficult to follow. As a result, web portals and umbrella organizations have been set up to increase the readability of the course offerings, to promote the action of their members in the field of e-learning, and advise customers.

Here is a list (non exhaustive) of the main public and private agencies.

A few public agents
Le Centre National d’Enseignement à Distance (CNED) – The national center for long-distance learning

Public agent – Primary education, secondary education, higher education, continuous education A major figure of e-learning in France, the CNED provides long-distance education services. Under the authority of the Ministry for National Education and the Ministry for Higher Education and Research, the CNED offers courses for everyone, whether as basic training, continuing education, or, in the broader sense of the word, life-long continuing education. Their couse offerings are based on training deelopment and specific instructional design, mixing didactic resources created to be used in independent learning with individual follow-up by subject matter specialists with long-distance learning experience. Classes offered by the CNED to students aged under 16 are free. After approval by an academic inspection it can also be funded by the state after the age of 16. In 2012, more than one million people are in long-distance education, 202,000 of which are with the CNED. two thirds are adults and 50% of them are in higher education. There are 8,000 registrations for primary school, 29,000 are in junior high school, and 49,000 in high school. Courses in accounting and finance are the ones with the most students: 29,000 registered people. For further information:

Eduter – CNPR

Public Agent– Secondary education (high school), higher education, continuous education Eduter-CNPR is the open long-distance education institution of the Eduter Institute, a department of the higher education institution AgroSup Dijon (agro-business engineering school). it is a public institution under the authority of the Ministry for agriculture, and offers open and long-distance training, for a degree or a diploma, for the rural world : vocational Baccalauréat, technological Baccalauréat, higher vocational diploma for agriculture, training for competitive examination, customized remedial training, pre-training, and customized advanced training. For further information: or

Le Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM)

Public Agent–Higher education, continuous education Under the authority of the French Ministry for Higher Education, the Cnam is a Scientific, Cultural and Professional Public Institution, a grand établissement. The Cnam is dedicated to life-long education. The institution supervises a network of 28 regional centers, 150 teaching centers, and offers today 7,700 long-distance courses. The offer is varied : vocational degrees, bachelor’s, master’s, as well as numerous diplomas registered in the the RNCP (National Register of Vocational Accreditations). For further information:


Public agent – Higher education, continuous education Each French university has a long-distance education service: long-distance learning department (CTE, CTU, etc.), long-distance learning service (SED, SEAD, etc.), continuous education service or video conference service, the names are numerous. The content and organization of studies can vary from one university to the next (number of student meetings, pedagogic support, type of course mailing, costs, exam assessment, etc.). The degrees delivered are national degrees which have been authorized by the Ministry of education. There is no reference to long-distance education on the diploma. The units passed are definitively granted, as is stipulated in the agreements setting up the LMD and European credit systems.

A few private agents
Les Cours Legendre

Private agent –Primary education, secondary education In second position after the CNED, the Cours Legendre trains about 20,000 students each year in primary and secondary (junior high and high school) education. The first of the private general education institutions, having the Qualicert certificate, the Cours Legendre was created in 1957. The institution offers long-distance education, from the first form to the final one, full or part time, as well as remedial courses. For further information:

Les Cours Hattemer

Private agent – Kindergarten, Primary education, secondary education Created in 1885, the Cours Harttemer is based on a teaching method of its own, which it applies to long-distance education. The courses do not follow the National education curriculum, and pupils must pass an examination to go back to a standard school. Specific courses are devised for precocious children. For further information:

L’école par correspondance

Private agent –Primary education, secondary education The Ecole par correspondance (Correspondence school) offers a complete or partial course of studies, organized by semester or by subject, from primary school to terminale. The institution also includes a special department for precocious children with teaching methods adapted to this specific audience. For further information:

Les Cours Académiques de France

Private agent –Primary education, secondary education Created in 1953, the Cours Académique de France (CAF) offers courses from the first form to the Seconde, as well as specialized courses to prepare for the various competitive exams of the paramedical and social sector. The institution also offers customized remedial courses and summer courses. For further information: http://www.coursacademiques.f

L’Ecole chez soi

Private agent – Secondary education (high school), higher education, continuous education Created in 1891, and 7,500 students strong, Ecole Chez Soi (School-at-home) is the first long-distance education institution for the building and living environment industry. Ecole Chez Soi offers over 150 courses ranging from the BEP to the level of engineer, courses geared toward a degree or a diploma in the building, public works, real estate and living environment sectors. In 2007, the Ecole Chez Soi was granted the ISO 9001 : 2000 international certification. For further information:

L’Ecole Universelle

Private agent – Secondary education (high school), higher education, continuous education Courses offerd at the Ecole Universelle (Universal school) are in the following fields: Literature, History / Geography, Philosophy, Office automation & Secretarial work, Hairdressing & Esthetics, Trade & Sales, Accounting & Management, Interior Design, Law & Economics, Foreing Languages, Fashion, Toursim & Hotel industry, Civil Service examinations, Paramedical and Social examinations. For further information:

La Revue d’Etudes

Private agent – Continuous education Created in 1912, the Revue d’Etudes (Review) trains thousands of candidates each year to fill positions in the civil service. This institution is specialized in the external or internal administrative competitive examinations for positions in the A, B, and C categories For further information:


Private agent – Higher education, continuous education Created in 1958, EDUCATEL is a private institution that offers over 200 complete training courses, and 4,000 courses in 21 vocational fields. This includes remedial or advanced courses in one or several specific subjects, that lead to a qualification, a competitive examination or a school entrance examination, or a degree. Various teaching tools are used for the courses : CD-Rom, conventional class settings, and even experimental electronic desks, some of which have been patented with the INPI (National institute for intellectual property). For further information: For further information: on long-distance education :


Private agent – Continuous education Management, Communication and Personal development, Human resources, Marketing and sales, but also Purchase, Finance, Internet… Demos offers 1,500 e-learning units in all the fields connected to business. For further information:

Large French companies

Public and private agents – Continuous education In the majority of cases, large French companies have their own training services and their own long-distance platforms. The aim is to ensure the updating of the staff’s knowledge to increase competitiveness. On-line training is geared toward their core business.

The portals of long-distance learning

The TeleSup site was created by the FIED (Inter-university federation of long-distance learning) to provide greater clarity to on-line university courses. The TeleSup portal centralizes the courses of the 36 member universities, making it easier to access the more than 300 long-distance university courses. All fields are covered, as well as the preparation for such competitive exams as the CAPES and Agrégation. For further information:


Formasup has the same aim. Created at the end of 1999 by the Ministry of higher education and research to highlight the long-distance education offered by the public institutions, the Formasup portal provides a centralized searching tool and gives the Internet user the links and contacts needed. It covers over 3,000 courses offered by public institutions in all school districts (académies): universities, schools or institutes, CNED (the national center for long-distance education), CNAM (the national conservatory of arts and trade), as well as AgroSup-CNPR (national center for rural promotion). The web site gives a description of the long-distance courses of the partner institutions, and all the necessary information. For further information:


This national portal for education professionals provides official information on the French education system, school curricula, schools, national policies, and activities in education in schools, junior high and high schools. For further information:

Unifying structures
La Fédération Interuniversitaire de l’Enseignement à Distance (FIED)

This is a voluntary association (Association de type loi 1901). It was created in 1987 on the proposal of the Direction of Higher education (Direction de l’Enseignement Supérieur, DES), the ministry of education and higher education, the FIED organizes the network of universities offering long-distance an on-line courses. The FIED facilitates cooperation between these higher education institutions, and provides promotion and information in the fields related to long-distance education. For further information:

Le Centre de ressources et d'information sur les multimédias pour l'enseignement supérieur (CERIMES)

Connected to the CNDP (the national Centre for educational documentation) and under the authority of the general direction for higher education and occupational integration (D.G.E.S.I.P.) of the Ministry for Higher education and research, the CERIMES aims at facilitating teachers’ access to audio-visual and multimedia resources, and help them use these in teaching. In this capacity, it identifies these resources, organizing, indexing, managing, broadcasting and highlighting them. For further information:

Forum français pour la formation ouverte et à distance (FFOD)

Created in 1995, the French forum for open and long-distance training aims at promoting open and long-distance training. Its activities are set up around the needs and demands of its members. The FFFOD takes part in thinking out, suggesting, exchanging information, creating and developing connections within the various networks. For further information:

La Chambre Syndicale Nationale de l’Enseignement privé à Distance

Created in 1980 by merging together the French trade association for private long-distance education (Chambre Syndicale Française de l’Enseignement Privé par Correspondance, CHAFREC), the national association for private long-distance education (Syndicat National de l’Enseignement Privé par Correspondance, SNEC), and the national association for long-distance and continuous education (Syndicat National de l’Enseignement à Distance et de la Formation Continue, SNED), the CHANED (national association for private long-distance education, Chambre syndicale Nationale de l’Enseignement privé à Distance) aims at promoting private long-distance education, and acts as its representative. For further information: To reinforce the quality of long-distance education, CHANED has set up a quality charter, which 23 private institutions have signed. These institutions offer specific courses on-line, ranging from primary to higher education. For further information:

Institutional partners
For first level education

To support schools in setting up, creating, and managing their digital project, the National education has a network of ICTE inspectors, project coordinators for the district inspectors (IA-DSDEN). They back the development of ICTE projects, relay the national policy, and promote use in the departments with the support of ICTE advisors. At the national level, an ICTE team coordinates the various activities. For further information:

For secondary education

At the national level, ICTE is managed by the general direction of school education (Direction générale de l'enseignement scolaire) via a network of national field advisors. At the district level, it is managed by the ICTE advisors and project coordinators for the chancellors of education, as well as by networks for secondary education. For further information:

For higher education

At the level of higher education, it is the digital use unit for higher education (Mission Numérique pour l'Enseignement Supérieur, MINES), which is in charge of the development of digital use for training, occupational integration and campus life. For further information:

E-learning in schools


While e-learning is becoming more common in French universities and in the field of vocational training, its use in primary and secondary schools remains marginal in France. When they exist, the initiatives are often due to a teacher, for instance one working in a European project, who has received the necessary funding to carry out the experimentation. To support its use and develop the digital resources and e-learning in school, the Ministry of Education, in partnership with the local and territorial authorities, has set up a digital policy in schools. This policy is implemented through incentives.

Plan DUNE (Développement des Usages du Numérique à l’Ecole)

Launched in November 2010 and extended in 2012, DUNE (the project for digital use development in schools) is one of the latest actions by the Ministry of education. It has the following objectives:

  • To facilitate access to quality digital resources to set up training units for face-to-face or long-distance teaching;
  • To train and support teachers in the use of the digital resources;
  • To extend digital services in schools; and
  • To train students in the responsible use of communication technology and the Internet

For further information:

Le catalogue chèque ressources (CCR)

To facilitate access to quality digital resources, DUNE created a portal listing educational resources coming from public or private publishers: the catalogue chèque resources, or resource account catalog. The interactive digital products listed there have the following characteristics:

  • They have been made specifically for teaching and are in full compliance with the current school curriculum.
  • They are recent, having a post-2005 publishing date.
  • They are available off-line to be used on site, or are accessible either directly on-line or through downloading.
  • They have been granted the RIP certification (Reconnu d'intérêt pédagogique, or acknowledgment of teaching relevance) by the Ministry of education, a label identifying the products assessed by teachers and approved by the multimedia committee of the Ministry.

For further information:

Information on these products and their use is broadcast by the Scérén-CNDP network. It helps schools and institutions choose the products best suited and most relevant to their needs. The resources are not free. They are paid for in part by the Ministry thanks to the ‘digital resources account’ (chèque ressources numériques), enabling schools to buy on-line the teaching products they are interested in. For further information: For further information:

The training and support of teachers

After completing their academic training, a teacher must have gained the skills connected to the use and reasoned mastery of information and communication in his professional practice. The knowledge and skills expected are those of the Information and Internet Certificate, level 2 for teachers (Certificat Informatique et Internet de niveau 2 "enseignant", or C2i2e). This certificate is part of a Master’s program. For further information:

To develop the use of digital resources and e-learning, teachers in primary schools have access to a national program of continuous training: Pairform@nce. This program presents a team-based participative training approach. It helps in the design and production of teaching units using ICT, and provides the training staff, the appropriate advising staff, and the necessary tools. It mixes face-to-face and long-distance learning, synchronous and asynchronous, and focuses on peer work. For further information:

E-learning in higher education institutions


To encourage teachers in the use of digital teaching methods, the Mission Numérique pour l'Enseignement Supérieur has set up a policy in support of digital use in higher education. This policy implies a number of priority actions, some of which are detailed below.

Setting up evaluation and management tools of digital use

To measure the evolution and progression of digital use in French universities, the Ministry offers institutions, since 2011, a common composite indicator (5 themes, 25 sub-themes), with a grading system from 1 to 5 for the purpose of self-evaluation. For further information:

Since 2012, the AGIMUS mechanism and management tool has been added to this evaluation. It relays digital uses automatically. This mechanism gives quantitative data at the local, regional and national levels, which allows for a more precise observation of digital use, and for the adaptation of strategies and support actions towards users. For further information:

Improvement of digital skills of students

In 2012, the Information and Internet certificate (Certificat Informatique et Internet, C2I) was enriched :

  • The reference tools for skill evaluation are updated, taking a better account of things like collaborative work and digital identity management on the Internet.
  • A sixth specialty field was added to level 2, connected to management and communication.
  • There is a smartphone app.

For further information:

Developing ePortfolio

The ePortfolio mechanisms, aiming at gathering, in a digital space, a number of digital documents and tools to describe the experience, work and skills of an individual, are in direct link with higher education for initial training and continuous education. A white paper, published in 2012, presents the current situation on existing tools and steps, to suggest common specifications. For further information:

Developing free-access education resources

Through projects like thematic digital universities (Universités Numériques Thématiques) and U broadcast (Canal-U), the MINES aims at constituting a national digital education heritage, indexed and visible, free of access, at the service of students and teachers. For further information: voir initiatives REL institutionnelles

Developing thematic digital universities in the Regions

Tripartite contracts between the State, the regions and the institutions have made possible the creation of 17 digital universities in the regions (Universités Numériques en Région, UNR), covering the whole of the territory. All the students, teaching and researching staff, and the administrative staff have: - A personal learning digital environment (ENT); - Infrastructure making access to digital services and resources possible from anywhere and at any time; and - Support to develop digital applications. For further information:

Quality control processes


Assessment is the main quality control process to be found in the French education system. It works at several levels: the assessment of students, national exams success rates, comparison with other countries, etc. It also applies to teachers, schools and universities, various education institutions or agencies (a region for instance), and more generally the education system as a whole. Assessment, as a quality control process, has an external use: it informs the public (decision makers, parents, employers, etc.) on the state of the education service, in particular on its efficiency, its results, but also its cost and the way it works. The second use is internal: its mission is to inform its agents (teachers, students, administrators, etc.) on the same elements at least so as to enable them to have feedback on their actions and the organization of the system. In that respect, assessment is a strong regulating force. For further information: For further information: The following (non-exhaustive) list shows the importance given to assessment.

General assessment of the French education system


Quality processes are put in place to assess the French education system generally. It consists of a series of assessments based on performance. These assessments are on subjects as well as on education policies or financial management. International comparisons and statistics are published to objectify the results.

Teacher assessment

Teacher assessment is carried out by the general inspection of national education (Inspection Générale de l’Education Nationale, or IGEN). The IGEN controls, analyzes, and assesses, and offers advice and opinions on the working and efficiency of the education system. Its assessments are on teaching content, curriculum, teaching methods, and means of implementation. They are made in collaboration with research teams specialized in pedagogy, such as for instance the national institute for pedagogical research (Institut National de Recherche Pédagogique, or INRP). The assessments are in the form of surveys, studies and reports. For further information:

For higher education, the national assessment committee for public scientific, cultural or professional institutions (Comité national d'évaluation des établissements publics à caractère scientifique, culturel et professionnel, or CNE) publishes reports on the institutions, the subjects offered, and thematic assessments. Every four years, the CNE writes a synthetic report on the state of higher education. For further information:

Evaluation of education policies

The public policies implemented to improve students’ successful completion of their studies and the outcome of the education system are assessed by the Direction of assessment, prospective and performance (Direction de l'évaluation, de la prospective et de la performance, DEPP), and by research labs and institutes. This evaluation policy is supported by the implementation of the legislation governing public finances (loi organique sur les lois de finances, LOLF) aiming at an in-depth reform of public management by creating a culture favoring performance and result. For further information

Management assessment

Control over the management of the education system is made by the General inspection of the national education and research administration (Inspection générale de l'administration de l'Éducation nationale et de la recherche, IGAENR). The IGAENR carries surveys on the administrative, financial, and structural aspects at all levels of the education system. Reports from the Cour des Comptes (revenue court) complement the assessment on the appropriation of public funds by the ministry of education. For further information:

Student assessment

In primary school

Assessment is one of the core missions of school teachers, as mentioned in the education code. To assess pupils, teachers have the support of national assessment protocols, enabling them to make an assessment of what the pupils have learned. The accreditation of these gains is recorded in a personal competence booklet certifying the acquisition of knowledge and skills from the common ground education, level 1 (end of CE1) and level 2 (end of CM2). The booklet records the pupils’ results up to when they are sixteen. The school booklet, set up by circular 2008-155 dated November 24, 2008, shows the progression of the knowledge gained through primary school, from kindergarten to the end of elementary school. For further information:

In junior high school

Assessment in Troisième (third form) leads to a diploma. Pupils sit for the Diplôme National du Brevet (DNB, national certificate), which assesses how well the subjects in the common grounding curriculum are mastered. These subjects that have to be learned at level 3, and this attests to the training acquired at the end of Collège. The DNB is not a condition to move up a class, the two decisions - granting the diploma and study options – being separate. To pass, pupils must have a general average of at least 10 points out of 20. For further information:

In 2012, on a voluntary basis (17% of public and private junior high schools), a national assessment was established as an experiment in Fifth forms. This assessement gives information on knowledge gained by pupils half-way through junior high school, and represents a milestone between the CM2 assessments and the national certificate. For further information:

Teacher assessement

The assessement of teachers involves competitive examinations, grading, ability assessment, orientation, and/or selection. Inspection is the most common form of assessment. It includes the assessement of skills in a professional situation as well as active support and advice. For further information:

Assessing the institutions

The assessment of the institutions focuses on high schools and higher education. For high schools, the assessment is based on three criteria: results at the baccalauréat, data about the students’ progress from Seconde to Terminale, as well as the added value of the institutions in connection to their training offerings. The results are published every year and can be seen on the site of the Ministry of education. For further information:

French universities are assessed by the AERES, the agency for the assessment of research and higher education. It is an independent administrative agency created in 2007, and is in charge of the assessment of higher education and research institutions, research organizations, research departments, higher education curriculum and degrees, as well as validating the assessment process for the personnel. For further information:

Internet in France

Internet and private individuals


In France, the use of Internet by the general public started in 1994, but became widespread only in the middle of the 2000s, with ADSL. For further information:

A few figures

A survey by the national institute for statistics and economic surveys (Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, or INSEE) about the equipment of households and their usage in 2012 is under way. The latest figures, dating from 2010, show that 67% of households have a computer at home. This was only 12% in 2000. 64.4% of them are connected to Internet, and 90.6% of these connections are high-speed.78.6% of the people surveyed say they use Internet every day or so. Students are the main users (92.5%), then people in employment holding a job (83.4%), the unemployed (73.9%), and the retired (30.7%). The digital divide tends to decrease, but differences in connection to educational level and social class endures. All categories considered, 91% use Internet to check e-mail, 82.6% to search for information on goods and services, 65.6% to check their bank account, and 62% for knowledge gain. For further information:

Internet service providers

In France, to have Internet at home implies having a subscription with an Internet service provider (Fournisseur d’Accès Internet, or FAI). This is a monthly subscription, offering three services: an unlimited high speed Internet connection, a free and unlimited telephone service in France and several other countries, and a TV service giving access to a range of channels in high definition in addition to TNT. These services cost about €30 a month to the customer. In France, the FAIs are the same as the phone providers : Free and its freebox, Orange and the Livebox, SFR and the Neufbox, Bouygues with the Bbox, Darty and the Dartybox, Alice and its Alice Box. Numericable is an Internet service provider, that works in a somewhat different manner, as Internet goes through its own cable network and not through telephone wires. Its aim is to be the first to develop optic fiber on a large scale, so as to provide even higher speed to its customers. For further information:


From the 2012 Telecom survey, carried out by the Cabinet Deloitte, laptop computers are by far the most commonly used to browse the Internet (70%). Smartphones (31%), classic cell phones (12%), tablets (12%) and netbooks (10%) are also used. Games consoles and cameras are lagging (4%). Internet connections via a mp3 players or e-readers are marginal, with only 2% and 1% of the devices used. For further information:

Internet and teaching

The Délégation aux Usages de l’Internet (DUI)

Under the authority of the ministry for higher education and research, the office for the uses of Internet works to make the information society available to everyone everywhere. Its actions aim at strengthening public access to the Internet, supporting local digital policies, the safety of Internet users, and of children in particular, as well as IT training. For further information:

Equipment in schools


To ensure fair access to information and communication technology to all education institutions, the national education and local authorities work together on digital facilities, services and resources. Their actions are carried out in the framework of partnerships between school districts and local authorities (towns, départements, and regions) to define and distribute equipment in schools and experiment with them. For further information:


The survey on 2012 on ICT in public schools in metropolitan France and overseas territories (except Mayotte) shows the following figures. On the 10,351 kindergarten schools which responded to the survey, there were 35,536 computers, or one computer for 24 pupils. 47% of the schools use a filter, and 33% have a code of good Internet practice. Over half of them (64%) have a connection with a speed between 512 Kbytes and 2 Mbytes. 19.5% have a speed of at least 2 Mb. Most of these schools do not have a subscription to education resources on–line (92.3%) For further information:

Primary school

Figures are better as schools have one computer for 10 pupils. Access to Internet is made secure in 79% of cases. 66% of the schools have a code of good Internet practice. 23% have a connection with a speed of at least 2 Mbytes. 14% have one or two subscriptions to on-line resources. For further information:

Junior high school

The number of pupils per computer better at this level: 5.2 per computer. Access to Internet is secure in 98% of cases and 95% of the schools have a code of good Internet practice in their school by-laws. Connections are better: 55.6% have a speed between 2 Mb and 10 Mb, and 18% have a speed equal to or higher than 10 Mb. 51% have subscriptions to on-line resources and 16.3% have three or more subscriptions. For further information:

High school

This is where the situation is most favorable, as on average these schools have one computer for 2.7 pupils, sometimes one computer for 2 pupils in vocational high schools. Internet connections are secure for 99% of schools and good Internet practice is part of the by-laws for 95% of surveyed high schools. The rate of high schools having a speed of at least 10 Mb is similar to the figure for junior high schools. However, the number of subscriptions to digital on-line resources is much higher, as they are twice as many to have at least three, in particular in general and technological high schools. For further information:


Since the 2000s, the policies favoring the development of digital infrastructure are pooled at the level of the region thanks to the Digital universities in the regions initiative (Universités Numériques en Région, or UNR). The aim was to develop the personal learning digital environment (Espace Numérique de Travail) within higher education institutions for the whole range of university tasks (registration, student life, pedagogy, on-line resources, etc.). The development of wireless access (wifi) was made possible thanks to this program. Even if some campuses have only a few access points, too few in comparison to the number of registered students, all French universities have an ENT and have access to Internet. This policy is coupled with an equipment policy for students and campuses thanks to Laptop for students operations (Micro Informatique Portable pour l’Etudiant, or MIPE). These measures have resulted in an increase in equipment available, but the equipment of students with laptops and the access to dedicated rooms varies from one university and one department to the next. For further information: For further information:

Teachers’ equipment

Generally speaking, teachers have little digital equipment (computers, smartphones, tablets) made available by their schools. The amount of equipment provided for work is almost nil for primary education; it increases for teachers in secondary education (20%) and is more common in universities (70%). For further information:

The main equipment programs

The Cyber-base® program

Since 2008, the Ministry for education has given support to the setting up of Cyber-base® spaces, financed and furnished by the Caisse des Dépôts et consignations in connection with towns. Cyber-base® spaces are places of introduction and sensitization to Internet and new technology, and they are set within schools. They are accessible to the community outside regular school hours, and are for pupils and education staff during school hours. Individual and group support is provided for all, adapting activities to the various categories of the public, especially the public with the least access to Internet: parents, pupils, senior citizens, job seekers, craftsmen, … Even if the Cyber-base® space in school is first and foremost a tool at the service of education policies for remediation and support, particular attention has been given to its integration in the local life. It pools resources, and presents the school as an open place, a crossroads of exchange and transmission of knowledge. For further information:

The IBM-Kidsmart program

Since 2003, the ministry has started an experiment on the use of ITC in kindergarten in targeted rural and education help areas (zones d'éducation prioritaire, ZEP), in partnership with the IBM France company. This progam, called IBM KidSmart, provides KidSmart work stations to kindergarten schools: computers, printers, software, documentation, secure furniture adapted to children. Since the program was launched, over 650 schools have been fitted with digital stations adapted to their young public. About 800 stations have been put at the disposal of teaching staff. For further information:

The Digital rural school program

Launched in 2009 by the ministry of education, this program aims at providing rural schools with digital equipment and education resources. In return for the €50 million invested by the state, the towns have pledged they would finance the networking of the equipment, the subscription to high speed service for the school, and its security. 5,000 towns of less than 2,000 inhabitants benefited from subsidies for the Digital rural school program (Écoles numériques rurales, ENR). The figure rose to 6,593 towns in February 2011. For further information:

Training for the use of Internet

For students

In primary school, junior high and high school, the Computer and Internet certificate (brevet informatique et internet, B2i) certifies the level acquired by the pupils in the use and command of multimedia tools and Internet. It also trains students to a more responsible use of information and communication technology. The B2i is an education tool, which takes into account the changes in the use of digital technology. It is attached, in primary school and junior high, to the personal skill booklet (skill 4: knowledge and command of common information and communication techniques). The B2i is not a diploma, but a “skill certificate”. For further information:

For students

The Computer and Internet certificate (Certificat informatique et internet, C2i) certifies the skills in the command of computer tools and networks. It was created to develop, strengthen, and recognize the mastery of information and communication technology by students during their training in higher education institutions. There are two levels:

  • Level 1 sets the qualification required for all students and apprentices in continuous education. Students and apprentices must have reached level 1 at the end of the third year, at the latest, but preferably as soon as they enter higher education.
  • Level 2 has higher goals in connection to the professional fields in the various study programs offered, through pre-professional training and orientation. Level 2 must be attained at the level of the Master’s.

For further information:

Responsible Internet use

The Internet Responsable portal

To assist teachers and pupils in the latest Internet use, the ministry of education has set up a site providing a single point of access to resources focusing on the command and responsible use of Internet. With practical examples, the site provides information on various themes, such as how to set up a filter for the use of Internet in the school context, or the implications of personal data publication on Internet. For further information:

The National Committee for Data processing and Freedoms (Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés, or CNIL)

The National Committee for Data processing and Freedoms is the authority in charge of ensuring the protection of personal data. It has, among others, the power to control and discipline. It also advises and alerts, and its mission is to ensure that the development of new technologies does not jeopardize human identity, human rights, private life, or public or private liberties. It implements its missions in compliance with the Data processing and freedoms Act, which qualifies the committee as an independent administrative authority.

For further information:

Copyright in France

The Intellectual Property Code


In France, copyright is ruled by the Intellectual Property Code (Code de la Propriété Intellectuelle), a document under French law made of articles, which are regularly updated by parliament. According to Article L. 111-1, copyright protects ‘works of the mind’, that is: literary, musical, graphic and plastic works, but also software, applied arts creations, fashion, and so on. Songwriters, videogram and phonogram producers, as well as broadcasting companies, have rights similar to copyright. Copyright is gained through no special formality, just by the mere existence of the work.

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Although copyright starts, without any registration formality, on the date the work is created, the work has to fulfill the following requirements:

  • The work must have a perceptible shape for third parties, and as such it cannot apply to ideas.
  • It must be ‘original’, that is it must bear the signs of its author’s personality.
  • The author of the work must be able to prove, if need be, the date of creation of the work.


Copyright grants the author two prerogatives:

  • Moral rights, which are the legal consequence of the link between author and work.

They include:

  • The right of disclosure, which grants the author alone the right to put his work at the disposal of the public
  • Attribution which enables the author to demand his name be mentioned when the work is used.
  • The right to the respect of the integrity of a work preventing any modification of the work without his consent.
  • Right of withdrawal and pentimento which enables him to put an end to the use of the work (withdrawal) or to modify it if he so wishes (pentimento). and
  • Patrimonial rights which are about the use of the work.

They include:

  • Reproduction right for works that use a material format and for the reproduction of which the author has to give his consent .
  • Representation right which enables him to control the communication on his work.

There are other secondary patrimonial rights, such as translation rights, adaptation rights, and destination rights

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The law allows for exceptions permitting the use of the work without the consent of the author. Once made public, the author cannot prohibit the following uses:

  • Private and free of charge performances exclusively for the family circle;
  • The copy or reproduction strictly for the private use of the person copying it, and not for collective use;

Subject to clearly mentioning the source and the name of the author, the author cannot prohibit the following uses:

  • Analyses and short citations;
  • Press reviews;
  • The broadcast, even in full, via the press or television;
  • Partial or full reproductions of graphic or plastic arts works to be shown in a catalogue for an auction by order of the court;
  • The educational exception, which allows the representation or the reproduction of excerpts of a work, exclusively for illustration within the framework of teaching and research;
  • Parody, pastiche, and caricature;
  • Under certain conditions, the reproduction and representation by legal entities and by institutions open to the public, such as libraries, archive services, documentation centers, and multimedia cultural centers, for a strictly private viewing of the work by handicapped persons;
  • The reproduction of a work for conservation purposes or to maintain the conditions of its viewing on site by libraries open to the public, by museums or archive services, as long as they do not get any economic or commercial gain from it ; and
  • The reproduction or representation, in part or in full, of a graphic, plastic or architectural work of art, by written press, broadcast, or on line, exclusively for immediate information purposes and in direct relation with the latter

Exceptions are to be considered under the three steps conditions:

  • Step 1: they correspond to special cases.
  • Step 2: they do not undermine the normal use of the work.
  • Step 3: they do not harm the legitimate interests of the author.

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Holders of copyright

The capacity of author belongs, unless proven otherwise, to the one or ones who signed the work. The intellectual property code puts the works having several authors in one of three categories:

  • Collaborative works: the creation of which involved several physical entities. The collaborative work is the common property of the co-authors. They must all agree (unanimously) for the work to be used. Each co-author has the right to use, alone, his own contribution independently of the common work. There are two requirements: the contributions must be of a different nature, and their separate use must not harm the use of the common work.
  • Composite works: a new work in which is set another pre-existing work without the collaboration of its author. The latter must consent to the use of his work but cannot in any way take part in the new work, for this would become a collaborative work.
  • Collective works: works created on the initiative of a physical or legal entity, who edits, publishes and discloses it under his/its own name, and for which the individual contribution of each author is lost in the whole. It is the person under whose name the work is published who decides, alone, of the ways the collective work will be used. Each author retains his quality of author on the part of the work he created. He can use his contribution, independent of the collective work, if it can be detached and if its use does not conflict with the latter.

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Duration of copyright

The duration of copyright is variable:

  • The moral right is unlimited in time and cannot be sold. The heirs of the author inherit it and can enforce it.
  • Patrimonial rights lapse 70 years after the death of the author. The work then falls into the public domain. No authorization is then necessary to reproduce or represent the work. For collaborative works, it is the date of the death of the last surviving co-author which starts the 70-year period. The protection of collective works starts on the date of publication

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Useful precautions

In case of dispute, it may be useful to recourse to something more than copyright to ascertain the proof of attribution of a work. There are several solutions:

  • The Soleau envelope: this envelope is made of two parts so as to put in each part the same identical elements to be dated. There is no specifics for the presentation of the material (photograph, image, both sides of the sheets, black and white, in color,...) but must not be made of ‘hard material’ (cardboard, rubber, leather, floppy disk, ...) that might prevent perforation. A maximum of seven A4 sheets (identical) can be put in each part. These characteristics mean this is not possible for all types of work. The envelope is to be deposited at the national institute for intellectual property (Institut National de la Propriété Intellectuelle, INPI), which sends back by registered mail one of the two parts. This part is to be kept sealed. The other part is filed in the INPI archives for a period of five years, to be renewed once. The Soleau envelope is an easy and inexpensive way to constitute a proof of creation and date it, but the deposit of a Soleau envelope does not grant protection in itself. There are no exclusive rights attached to it.

For further information:

  • Depositing a work with a member of the legal profession (notaire or bailiff) or by requesting the help of a society of authors.

A few reference organizations

The Institut National de la Propriété Intellectuelle (INPI)

This is a public establishment under the authority of the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry. The INPI protects and highlights innovation, and helps with the administrative procedure those who apply for a patent, mark, model, drawing, etc. For further information:

The Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de musique (SACEM)

The society of songwriters, composers and music publishers is a services company, a not-for-profit civil society, managed by music authors and publishers. Its aim is to facilitate musical creation by protecting, representing and defending the interests of songwriters, composers and publishers of music. Its main mission is to collect royalties in France and to redistribute them to French and world-wide authors. For further information:

The Société des Gens de Lettres (SGL)

An association recognized in France as an establishment in the public interest, the Society of Men of Letters aims at defending the moral rights, the legal interests, and the social and legal status of all writers, whatever the format of their work. For further information:

The Société Civile des Auteurs Multimédia (SCAM)

The civil society of multimedia authors is a company, which collects and distributes royalties. Set up by writers to manage their rights, the SCAM is also their representative; it asserts their professional, material and moral interests. For further information:

The Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Œuvres et la Protection des droits sur Internet (HADOPI)

The high authority for the broadcasting of works and protection of rights on the Internet is an independent public authority. Its missions are defined by the Creation and Internet act of June 12, 2009, called ‘Hadopi act’. This act is the result of a legislative process started with the DADVSI act of August 1st, 2006, which transposes into French law European directive 2001/29/CE on the harmonization of copyright and similar rights in information society. HADOPI aims at:

  • Promoting the development of the legal supply and observing the licit and illicit use of works on the Internet;
  • Protecting works from infringement of the rights pertaining to them in the framework of a gradual response; and
  • Regulating the use of technical measures of protection.

For further information:

Copyright in education

Copyright of the civil servant author

The fact that the author is a civil servant does not change the rule set by Article L.111-1, section 3 of the Intellectual property code. The civil servant has rights over his work. The law states, however, that the patrimonial rights are to be handed to the state when the work was created by an agent in the course of his work or following instructions given. In compensation, the author must share the profits made from the use of his work according to the terms mentioned in a decree from the Council of state.

For further information:;jsessionid=07DF9F31F55829C107B7F7A1D0179638.tpdjo17v_1?idArticle=LEGIARTI000006278959&cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006069414&dateTexte=20121127;jsessionid=07DF9F31F55829C107B7F7A1D0179638.tpdjo17v_1?cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006069414&idArticle=LEGIARTI000006278961&dateTexte=20121130&categorieLien=cid#LEGIARTI000006278961

To facilitate the use of the work by the state, the law has adapted the moral prerogatives of the civil servant author. His right to divulge his work or not is submitted to the rules, which govern his position in the institution where he is employed. The right of respect of his work is enforceable only if the modification undermines his honor or reputation. Otherwise he cannot prohibit it. The right of withdrawal and pentimento can only be enforced with the consent of the authority vested with power over the civil servant author.

For further information:;jsessionid=2DAFE021E629D4998F8A03CB815530A4.tpdjo17v_1?idArticle=LEGIARTI000006278900&cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006069414&dateTexte=20121130

When by his status, a civil servant author is not subjected to any control by the authority vested with power over him, the rule mentioned above does not apply. He remains the owner of his rights, and a contract must be drawn with him to use his work. Such is the case of university teachers who benefit from a special situation dating back from the 18th century.

Exceptions frequently found in education

The exception of private copies

In reference to Article L. 122-5 of the Intellectual property code, any individual can reproduce the class of a teacher, in part or in full, provided the reproduction is made by the individual himself for his private and personal use only. Therefore, a third party cannot use it.

For further information:;jsessionid=CBE3C0DE2043131AF25197B799B39867.tpdjo17v_1?idArticle=LEGIARTI000025003518&cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006069414&dateTexte=20121130

The quotation exception

This exception permits the reproduction of a short passage of a work provided this reproduction is justified by the critical, polemical, pedagogical, scientific or informative aspect of the work in which it is included. What matters is the length of the passage, which must be short. The length of the passage is to be assessed in comparison to the whole of the work, and its situation in the new work, the latter being in turn protected by copyright.

For further information:;jsessionid=CBE3C0DE2043131AF25197B799B39867.tpdjo17v_1?idArticle=LEGIARTI000025003518&cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006069414&dateTexte=20121130

The education exception

This exception only allows the use of an excerpt of a work for the exclusive purpose of illustration within the framework of teaching and research. The public benefiting from the excerpt must be mostly composed of pupils, students, teachers and researchers. The use of this exception implies that the name of the author and the source of the excerpt be clearly mentioned. In compensation for the harm suffered, the author of the work may receive a remuneration calculated on a flat-rate basis. The law specifies that works created for educational purposes, music scores and works for a digital format cannot claim the education exception.

For further information:;jsessionid=CBE3C0DE2043131AF25197B799B39867.tpdjo17v_1?idArticle=LEGIARTI000025003518&cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006069414&dateTexte=20121130

Open Educational Resources (OER) Initiatives in France

Open Educational Resources (OER)-related concepts

Definition of Open Educational Resources (OER)

The phrase Open Educational Resources (Ressources Educatives Libres, REL) was first used by UNESCO during the 2002 forum on the impact of software for free access courses for higher education. It was discussed in 2004 during the second world forum on quality assurance, accreditation and skill recognition. The UNESCO defines it as follows: Open Educational Resources are ‘teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with an intellectual property license that allows for free use, adaptation, and distribution.’ This definition implies the respect of copyright and an open access to the greater number. The latter excludes from the open educational resources the resources offered by an institution to its own students only. For further information:

Free licenses


Free licenses are legal contracts allowing the use of a resource under certain conditions. Contrary to preconceived ideas, the free license preserves copyright but grants users a wider right of use than a ‘restricted’ license. Each free license has its own characteristics and is, as a consequence, more or less well adapted to each user and the use he wants to make of it. For further information:

Creative Commons

Creative Commons are an example of free licenses. They are free of charge, and grant to copyright holders the possibility to put their work at the disposal of the public in predefined conditions. The aim is to encourage free circulation of the cultural content of the works by allowing the authors who want to share their work to enrich a common cultural heritage (Commons) accessible in the public domain. For further information:

The 4 types of use

4 types of use, on their own or in combination, can be chosen by the author for the use of his work. They have a visual representation made of a distinctive icon and acronym:

  • Attribution (BY acronym): the author wants to be credited with the proper attribution
  • Noncommercial use (NC acronym): the author prohibits the use for commercial profit of the work
  • Share-alike (SA acronym): The author shares his work but the user can distribute the adapted work only under an identical or similar license (later version or localized version)
  • No derivative (ND acronym): the work must be reproduced and distributed in an identical form

For further information: Creative Commons licenses are built around the distribution uses allowed by the author. A dispensation is possible if the author, having been asked, gives his consent. A contract specifying the use must then be drawn up directly between the author and the user.

The 6 licenses

The 6 Creative Commons licenses are: 1. Attribution (BY): the copyright holder allows a wide distribution of the work without any restriction under the condition that his name is quoted. 2. Attribution + No Derivatives (BY ND): as in the previous case, the copyright holder allows a wide distribution of the work without any restriction under the condition that his name is quoted and the work is not modified. 3. Attribution + Noncommercial + No Derivatives (BY NC ND): the copyright holder allows the distribution of the original work under the condition that his name is quoted, the work is not modified, and not used for commercial profit. 4. Attribution + Noncommercial (BY NC): the copyright holder allows all uses of his work except for commercial use and under the condition that his name is quoted. 5. Attribution + Noncommercial + Share-alike (BY NC SA): the copyright holder allows the use of the original work for noncommercial use, as well as the creation of derivative works, under the condition that they are distributed under the same type of license as the one applying to the original work. 6. Attribution + Share-alike (BY SA): the copyright holder allows all uses of his work (including commercial use) as well as the creation of derivative works under the condition that they are distributed under the same type of license as the one applying to the original work. This license is often compared to the ‘copyleft’ licenses for free software. It is the license used by Wikipedia. For further information:

A new license, called Creative Commons Zero (CCO), was added in 2009. It allows for the possibility of putting a work in the public domain even before the extinction of the copyright, allowing for its use without any restriction. This license is not recognized under French law, which considers the moral right of the author of a work non-transferable. For further information:

To promote the use of its licenses within the framework of the distribution of educational resources, the Creative Commons organization has set up a new division centered on the implementation of licenses in the education world. For further information:

Regional Open Educational Resources (OER) Initiatives


When it comes to Open Educational Resources, regional initiatives can be implemented by several categories of agents: associations, teachers, institutions, private organizations, local and territorial authorities. They are difficult to identify because of a lack of clarity at the regional and national levels. We focused only on those which were open to all, without any distinction whatsoever. For example, the LUNO programme, implemented by the Lorraine region, offering multimedia resources for free and open training courses geared towards employment seekers on its territory, is not dealt with here. It is to be noted also that the open educational resources implemented by the regions and to which the user has access on specific sites are often implemented at the national level as well in institutional mechanisms that pool open educational resources. The non-inclusive following list shows some of these initiatives.

Mooc ITyPA

Initiative implemented by the Brittany region The first of the French-speaking MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), ITyPA focuses on ways of learning with the help of Internet and offers a course enabling the users to make the best of the learning possibilities via the Internet, and the useful techniques to create one’s own personal on-line learning environment. The course is offered from October 4 to December 13, 2012. For further information:

The SILLAGES initiative

Initiative implemented by the Ile-de-France Region The SILLAGES association aims at developing a collaborative production for multimedia educational contents contributing to the social and international widening of access to Grandes Ecoles. A platform and wiki sites are available on the internet. These include about 500 cross-curricular resources, free and open, at level 0 or level 1, in mathematics, physics, economics, literature, ancient Greek or Latin. These open educational resources are for French or foreign students preparing for their entrance examination to the Grandes Ecoles in year one or two, for those having difficulties in their classe péparatoire, and for higher education students. For further information:


Initiative implemented by the Nord Pas de Calais Region Exo7 is an on-line math exercises site for students and teachers in higher education. It has more than 160 index cards of exercises with their correction, following the mathematics curriculum for Licence, and the curriculum of the two years of scientific classes preparing the entrance examination to the Grandes Ecoles. For further information:


Initiative implemented by the Haute-Normandie Region The Mathenpoche site puts at the disposal of pupils from Sixth form to Final form multimedia resources on mathematics (courses, exercises, animated aids, MCQ, work). For further information:

GDF Suez « J’apprends l’énergie »

Initiative implemented by the Ile-de-France Region This is a playful educational (edutainment) tool for primary and secondary education students aiming at making the younger generation aware of the energy challenge of today For further information:

LSF Lexique

Initiative implemented by the Lorraine Region This is a data bank of video recordings specialized in French sign language for deaf and hard of hearing students. For further information:

Collège de France

Initiative implemented by the Ile-de-France Region A public institution for higher education, this unique institution in France has no equivalent abroad. Since the 16th century, the Collège de France fulfills a double aim: as a place for the most innovative research and of its teaching. Dedicated to basic research, working in partnership with prestigious institutions, the Collège de France has a singular characteristic: it teaches ‘learning in the making in all the fields of literature, sciences or the arts’. The site of the Collège de France gives access to about 400 audio or video resources. For further information:

Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris

Initiative implemented by the Ile-de-France Region Via its Savoirs site, the Ecole normale supérieure (higher teacher’s training college) broadcasts in multimedia format the recording of courses, seminars, summer classes, lectures, conferences of the departments and laboratories (in science and literature), and the prestigious events organized by the school. For further information:

The Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3 University

Initiative implemented by the Ile-de-France Region The Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3 University gives the general public and its students easy access to quality digital resources via a radio and a web TV station. Radio Sorbonne Nouvelle (RSN) broadcasts educational and scientific programs, in French or in English. The programs can be heard live, and older programs can be heard on demand. On Sorbonne Nouvelle TV (SNTV) are on-line lectures, live and then in video format accessible on demand. For further information:


Initiative implemented by the Région Rhône-Alpes This is a free site offering initiation courses in office automation and Internet browsing. The site has two main parts, Fundamentals, and basics. Fundamentals give general information on computers, the use of the mouse and the keyboard. Basics are resources to strengthen knowledge on the Internet, office automation, the Windows navigator, multimedia tools, computer hardware, and networks. The site has more than fifty computer-use initiation courses to offer, to become familiar with a computer and common applications. It is not only for beginners, as it allows those who are at a more advanced level to strengthen or improve their knowledge. For further information:

Age management anticipation

Initiative implemented by the Picardie Region An on-line serious game to anticipate the management of the age of salaried workers in connection with the performance of the company. For further information:

Centre virtuel de formation aux arts et techniques traditionnelles verrières

Initiative implemented in Region Lorraine VITRA is a virtual training website in glass art. Educational videos that describe actions are the core of the device. They are supplemented by multimedia documents. Training resources are available under the Training tab online. You must fill in a questionnaire, free of charge, to receive a password to access multimedia training. For futher information:

Centre virtuel de formation aux arts de la ceramique

Initiative implemented in Region Bourgogne Developed on the basis of the previous project (VITRA), the project EU-CERAMICS offers the same pedagogical approach based on videos that describe actions enriched with multimedia documents. It is also accessible after a free registration. For futher information:

Institutional Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives


Institutional initiatives presented here are the flagship initiatives of the ministry of education and the ministry of higher education and research. They are focused on the pooling of OER made in French institutions which are gathered on portal sites for better visibility and greater use. The list is non-exhaustive but gives an overview of the incentives from the French government in favor of open educational resources.

Digital universities


Thematic digital universities (Universités Numériques Thématiques, UNT) were created in 2003 by the education ICTE division (Sous-Direction des Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication pour l'Education, SDTICE) of the French ministry of higher education. The aim is to put at the disposal of institutions and students educational resources that have been approved by competent academics in each field.

Thematic digital universities are not classic university institutions registering students and giving degrees. They have varied legal status (GIP, partnership foundation, GIS, private association, inter-university common department), and they are groupings of higher education institutions pooling training resources for students, adults and professionals, with the support of the state. In 2012 there are 7 thematic digital universities. For further information:

The portal of the thematic digital universities

The 23,000 resources (video, courses, exercises, MCQ, etc.) of the seven thematic digital universities are gathered in one portal. Access is by field, domain, and key word. The resources, pooled by the member institutions, are not all open educational resources. Some are free of charge and open, others are free of charge bur for the use of member institutions (basic training), or for a fee and sold by the member institutions (resources that are included in their continuous education programs). For further information:

The seven thematic digital universities
  • AUNEGE : Association des Universités pour l’Enseignement Numérique en Economie-Gestion, the association of Universities for digital education in Management and Economics

For further information:

  • UNF3S : Université Numérique Francophone des Sciences de la Santé et du Sport, French-language digital university for sports and health sciences

For further information:

  • UNISCIEL : UNIversité des SCIences En Ligne, on-line science university

For further information:

  • UNIT : Université Numérique Ingénierie et Technologie, digital university in engineering and technology

For further information:

  • UNJF : Université Juridique Francophone, French-speaking legal university

For further information:

  • UOH : Université Ouverte des Humanités, open university for the humanities

For further information:

  • UVED : Université Virtuelle Environnement et Développement Durable, virtual university for the environment and sustainable development

For further information:

L’Académie en ligne

Created in 2009, the on-line academy (Académie en ligne) is a free service provided by the National Center for Long-distance Education (Centre National de l’Enseignement à Distance, CNED). Courses are for primary and secondary education pupils, from the first to the final form, in general fields such as French, English, mathematics, history and geography, sciences, etc. For further information:


Canal-U is a project launched in 2000 by the academic community. Canal-U is the video library of higher education. It is the reference site for audio-visual resources in higher education. Teachers and students find there enriched programs of educational resources approved by the scientific councils of the thematic digital universities. For further information:

Université de tous les savoirs

The university of all-encompassing knowledge (Université de tous les savoirs, UTLS) was created in 2000 by the ministry of education and of higher education to mark the entrance into the 21st century. Its ambition is to set up a living encyclopedia of lectures by the greatest French scientists, researchers, and intellectuals, so as to broadcast the advances in sciences. Over 1,000 lectures are available to date. They can be watched on the Canal-U site. For further information: is the weekly scientific web TV of the Cité des Sciences and the Palais de la Découverte, which have joined to form a new institution, Universcience, since January 2010. Its ambition is to broadcast scientific culture and to create a weekly meeting time with people who are curious about science. is built with the logic of a theme TV channel with a program schedule made of about 16 slots, which are completely renewed every week. The interface looks like the front page of a weekly magazine, with a table of contents in the format of short videos, 3 to 4 hours of new programs each week, varied genres and formats, 75% of original productions, the 25% left being the best of existing scientific audiovisual programs. also offers access to its 2,000-strong archives, For further information:

Sciences.gouv is the portal site of science. It was designed and made by the national center for educational documentation (Centre National de Documentation Pédagogique, CNDP). Its missions are to strengthen the attractiveness of sciences toward young people and the general public, to broadcast scientific and technical culture, and put forward the results of research work. The site gives access to a wealth of open multimedia resources. For further information:


BibNum is a digital library of scientific texts, commented by contemporary scientists (in the specific field, or science historians) wishing to share their interest for these texts, and analyze their importance for science and current technology. For further information:


Signets (bookmarks) is a collective catalogue of web resources which have been selected, checked, organized and classified by French higher education and research libraries. The site gives quick and easy access to the database of bookmarks, by main field, then sub-field, from a search engine or by member libraries. For further information:

Les archives audiovisuelles de la recherche

The audiovisual archives of research (archives audiovisuelles de la recherche) provide a video library showing research and teaching in all knowledge fields and domains of human and social sciences. There are scientific and educational resources (classes, lectures, seminars, etc) but also documentaries, reports, shots, and recordings of socially important events (social practices, traditions and occupations, artistic representations and exhibitions, etc.). For further information:

L’université en ligne

Made by the university network of self-training centers (Réseau Universitaire des Centres d’Autoformation, RURA) with the support of the ministry of education and the ministry of higher education and research, the On-line University web site offers multimedia resources in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. These resources have been made by 13 French universities. They are geared toward students in the undergraduate programs of university and their teachers. For further information:

Ecole Supérieure de l’éducation nationale, de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche (ESEN)

The Ecole Supérieure de l’éducation nationale, de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche (ESEN) is in charge of the design, management and implementation of the training of administrative and education management staff, of the engineering, administrative, technical, social, health, and library staff belonging to the national education and higher education. The site offers on-line multimedia resources for the training or self-training of its targeted public. There are over 300 on-line lectures and videos to be watched and downloaded, to improve one’s knowledge on various themes such as copyright, for instance. For further information:

IUT en ligne

The digital campus iutenligne (on-line IUT) is managed by the AssoDIUT association, the association of Vocational University Institutes (Association des Directeurs d’Institut Universitaire Technologique), which groups 115 IUTs, 625 departments and 26 domains. The purpose is to provide the IUT teaching and student community with a media library including the main elements of the educational resources needed for the training provided in IUTs, education engineering services, and an exchange space. The site offers reusable “raw” resources for face-to-face teaching sessions and “self-teaching units” for face-to-face or long-distance teaching. For further information:


ÉDU'bases is a thematic data bank of pooled practices in secondary education, organized in domains. The site of each domain is linked to activities, cards, teaching units, open resources, or ideas for education methods. For further information:


To implement ICTE in kindergarten and primary school, and promote the exchange of good practices, the ministry of education has set up PrimTICE. Its purpose is to locate, describe, index, and pool the uses if ICTE at the first level of education. The site has an on-line list of about 1,000 education scenarios developed by teachers. For further information:

OER policies

National OER policies

Regional OER policies

Institutional OER policies


  1. Open Educational Resources in France - Overview, Perspectives and Recommendations by Sophie Touzé, for UNESCO IITE, 2014

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