Study in France: Here’s an update on the norms
France is often looked up to for its rich culture, beautiful monuments and a sophisticated way of life. It is of no surprise that France leads in the field of tourism with an estimated over 85 million tourists annually.Updated: May 01, 2019, 19:46 IST
France is often looked up to for its rich culture, beautiful monuments and a sophisticated way of life. It is of no surprise that France leads in the field of tourism with an estimated over 85 million tourists annually.
But here is another piece of information that has remained unnoticed. France is ranked fourth for the popularity among international students.
Each year, over 3,00,000 international students join France’s leading educational institutions to complete their degree.
Here are some reasons why France has become an ideal education destination.
France spends around 7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education and it has always been a top-priority for the French. Over 3500 public and private institutions offer a plethora of studying options. Not to forget, most of the leading French institutions are ranked among the best in the world.
Academically, France has something for everyone, you can study engineering, management, arts and humanities here. With over 1200 courses taught completely in English, France is fast becoming the next destination for the English speaking students.
Over 70 public universities offer programmes in all disciplines while doubling up as the primary academic research centres. The Grande Ecoles (higher education institutes that are outside the main framework of the French public university system) offer five-year diploma equivalent to a master’s degree. These Grande Ecoles are specialist institutions for studying engineering, scientific and management.
After United Kingdom (20); France (15) has the highest number of business schools with a triple accreditation. This speaks a lot about the emphasis on providing quality education. Consider this, the top five business schools providing master’s programmes in finance, belong to France.
While the cost for education has skyrocketed in most western countries, France’s student friendly policies ensure education remains affordable.
Annual fees of public institutions range is below €700 (Rs 54,651), while this range for private institutions is between €1,500 to €17,000 (maximum of Rs 13,27,500).
The French government offers Caisse d’Allocations Familiales (CAF), a form of housing allowance to every student enrolled in a French institution. Student discounts on public transport and museums ensure the living costs remain within a certain limit. The minimum cost of living in France is €615 (Rs 48,000) a month.
As part of the selection process, the institutions tend to look for an all-round performer in academics and extra-curricular activities. You also need to have excellent recommendations. Some colleges will make it mandatory for the student to appear for entrance exams like Graduate Management Admission test (GMAT) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
International offices of Campus France, 13 in India, help students in multiple ways such as facilitating visa application process, providing scholarships and post-studies networking assistance. The Eiffel Scholarship offered by the French Education Ministry is the most prestigious scholarship available. Alternatively, the French embassy in India also awards the Charpak Scholarship in addition to multiple co-financed scholarships in partnership with different institutions in France.
Recently,France has relaxed its visa norms for Indian students studying in France. Most of the programmes in France require the student to intern as part of the curriculum. LongTerm Student Visa is offered to full-time students. It is of one year in duration, doubles up as a resident permit. Thus eliminating the need to apply for a separate work visa.
Post successful completion of a ‘grande ecoles’ programme, students can apply for an up to two-year Autorisation provisoire de Séjour(APS) or Job Search Visa. To top it all, every Indian student graduating with a master’s or a higher degree is eligible to apply for the up to five-year Schengen Circulation Visa.
Considering these initiatives taken up by France in the last one decade, it is quite clear why it has become a go-to destination for Indian students. It is a good option for the students looking to get a European degree at a lower cost.
(The author is country manager at EDHEC Business School, an international executive training institute)