Source: Journal of Education for Teaching, Vol. 37, No. 4, November 2011, 451–459.
(Reviewed by the Portal team)
The year 2010 marks a thorough transformation of the organisation of teacher training in France.
The transformation of training and recruitment of teachers results from distinct reforms concerning three interrelated aspects of the organisation of teacher training:
-the setting of the entrance requirement to the profession at the level of a university Master’s degree (Masterisation of teacher training),
-the change in the recruitment process, and
-the integration of teacher training colleges (IUFM) into the universities.
Before 2010, the only requirement for taking the recruitment examination was a Bachelor’s degree.
The first two reforms led to recruiting teachers with a Master’s degree through a competitive examination (concours) organised at the regional level (Académie) for primary school teachers and at the national level for secondary school teachers, subject by subject, during the second year of the Master’s programme.
The third reform was part of the 2005 Act (MEN 2005) that transferred the independent IUFMs to the universities, turning them into ‘internal schools’ with limited administrative autonomy.
The universities are in charge of initial training of the students, then the Education Ministry hires them and is responsible for in-service training.
As a result of a decentralization of the state administration, the regional heads of the National Education Administration have been given a degree of autonomy for organising education, especially management of staff, including allocation, mobility and training.
In each of the regions, the universities and their teacher training schools negotiate with the local head of the education administration on the conditions of placements in schools for students enrolled in Master’s programmes and for the in-service training of new teachers.
The three distinct reforms of ‘masterisation’ of teacher training, the recruitment and induction process and the integration of teacher training colleges in universities, have together contributed to the present change in the landscape of teacher training in France.
The authors conclude that a potentially positive feature of these reforms is the introduction of research in the education of future teachers.
However, what is lacking most is the implementation of the principle of progressive entrance into the profession.
Furthermore, budgetary constraints are likely to become a permanent feature of the education sector.
An ideological bias and ignorance of evidence produced by research in shaping education policy also seem to be deeply entrenched.
Finally, borrowing policies from abroad and translating European recommendations without the necessary adaptation to national conditions may also become part of the landscape.