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Schools and Work

Schools and Work: Technical and Vocational Education in France Since the Third Republic

Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Schools and Work
    Book Description:

    In the half century since the World War II, France has developed from a conservative, semi-rural society in which the great majority of the population had only a primary education to a highly developed modern one with a remarkably well-educated and well-trained citizenry and labour force. Technical and vocational education, which before 1960 were confined to an enclave within the French education system, now permeate the entire system. Business and industry, long isolated from education, now play a major role in educational decision making. The French educational system today meets the demand for skilled personnel in almost all fields while maintaining "a complement of general culture."

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6895-2
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-7)

    The study of the history of technical education presents many challenges to the historian, who must not only write educational history but also analyse the relationship between two quite different worlds: that of the schools, which are static and self-contained, with stated standards and requirements, and that of the productive sector, which is dynamic and adaptable, with constantly changing demands. The historian of technical education must know the history of techniques and of work and must be informed about socio-professional categories, social relations, science and technology, and general versus technical culture. He or she must also identify a multitude of...

  6. 1 The Origins of Technical and Vocational Education in France
    (pp. 8-26)

    Technical education in France originated with the creation of specialized engineering schools during the eighteenth century mainly in response to the requirements of military engineering. These included the École des ponts et chaussées (1747), the École des mines (1783), and the École du génie de Mézières (1748). The Revolution saw the creation of the École polytechnique in 1794, which Napoleon transformed into a high-level military engineering school. The École centrale des arts et manufactures, the first institution to train civil engineers for industry, was established privately in 1829 and became public in 1857. With the exception of the École du...

  7. 2 The Division of Technical Education from 1920 to 1960
    (pp. 27-52)

    This chapter discusses the administration of the division of technical education from the time of its transfer from the Ministry of Commerce to the Ministry of National Education in 1920 to its abolition in 1960. In 1920 technical education became one of four divisions in the Ministry of Education. The greatest threat to the technical education division, and indeed to the four divisions of the ministry of education, was the movement favouring theécole unique, a junior high school open to all social classes which proposed to absorb the first cycle of the lycée (secondary division), the higher primary schools...

  8. 3 Vocational Education and the Training of Workers from the Third to the Fifth Republics, 1900–1981
    (pp. 53-81)

    The period from 1900 to 1981 saw two world wars and a depression, the end of the Third and Fourth Republics and the appearance of the Fifth, the rise and decline of Fordism-Taylorism, and alternating periods of rapid growth and economic difficulty. Growth was rapid from 1900 to 1931 and during the “trente glorieuses” years (really twenty five) from 1948 to 1973. Between 1958 and 1973, the French economy grew at the fastest rate of any country in the European Economic Community, averaging around five per cent a year.¹

    In vocational education the period from 1900 to the Second World...

  9. 4 Vocational Education and the Training of Workers since 1981
    (pp. 82-112)

    In 1981 the newly elected Socialists, blaming the economic crisis on Raymond Barre’s deflationary monetarist policies, returned to a full employment policy as the instrument for economic renewal. In 1982 they nationalized numerous companies and banks and reorganized them into vertically integrated firms, recapitalizing them and streamlining their operations, eliminating jobs and closing obsolete plants. The state ended up owning thirteen of the twenty largest firms in France and thirty-six banks.¹

    In addition, the government of Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy raised wages, ran deliberate budget deficits, hired 100,000 civil servants over three years, raised the education budget, and decentralized government....

  10. 5 Training Technicians in France since the First World War
    (pp. 113-134)

    Technicians exist in an intermediary category between skilled workers and engineers, usually supervising the first and assisting the second.¹ In Yves Legoux’s words, technicians were “a new race of men” situated between engineers and workers, formed “at the crossroads of school and factory.”² Although they had their precursors before the First World War in thesous-ingénieurs, draftsmen, and shop and works supervisors of various sorts, they emerged during the interwar period as a clearly defined occupational group associated with the rapid mechanization of industry.³ During the 1920s universal machine tools still required considerable manual dexterity and precision, but they were...

  11. 6 Advanced Education and the Training of Senior Technicians, Engineers, and Managers in France since 1981
    (pp. 135-164)

    Higher education in France is divided into three types of institutions: the universities, the technical schools, and the grandes écoles. They are poorly integrated. In this chapter I discuss the evolution of the universities and the increasing practical content of their programs. I will also discuss the development of technical schools since the 1960s notably the STS, IUT, Instituts universitaires professionnalisés and the technological universities. Finally, I will discuss the grandes écoles, most of which are high level technical schools training executives for business, industry and government. I will pay particular attention to efforts to modernize and consolidate higher education...

  12. 7 Conclusion
    (pp. 165-176)

    The French education system has traditionally been concerned with the transmission of a historically based culture; science, rationality, and modernity, in other words the rationalist culture of the Enlightenment that formed the basis of the ideology of the Third Republic; centralization, through which the state assures fairness, central planning and direction, and the extension of French culture over localisms and particularisms; and the meritocratic selection of elites. Teaching was based heavily on the old Cartesian assumptions about the separation of mind from the world, learning as the acquisition of knowledge, and rationalism as the way of knowing. This, combined with...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 177-212)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 213-230)
  15. Index
    (pp. 231-236)