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Two International Engineering Programs In France

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

International Engineering Education II

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1213.1 - 8.1213.8

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Paper Authors

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Ian Simpson

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


Two International Engineering Programs in France

Ian R. Simpson ENST Bretagne


Until very recently, France had been notoriously poor at offering high-level engineering programs to international students whose mother tongue was not French. In the author’s opinion two of the reasons for this situation were:

• A relatively stultified and non-proactive education system at university level, unable (and perhaps, unwilling) to adapt to the new phenomena of the Europeanisation of educational programs and globalisation, in general.

• A belief that the French language would remain a major force on the world’s linguistic stage, on a par with the influence exerted by English, and that no special effort was necessary to encourage international students to choose to come and study in France.

As a result of this mistaken attitude, the numbers of international students registering at French Universities and “Grandes Ecoles” declined sharply in the early 1990’s, as many international students saw greater career opportunities for themselves by registering at English-speaking universities in countries such as Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA. The French are also only just beginning to become aware of the economic potential of attracting international students to France, both in terms of profits made from the tuition fees paid by international students and, to a lesser degree, from the future influence which such programs will have over the international students once they have graduated and returned to their home countries.

For all of the above reasons, the French Government decided to set up a special agency called EduFrance which, since 1998, has been promoting French education throughout the world. Run jointly by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, EduFrance has opened centers in several countries and is now present at most major Education Fairs where it offers international students the opportunity to join in the French Education System. (See Figure 1).

Another series of programs being offered by many French “Grandes Ecoles” are the “Master of Science” courses, which will be examined later in this paper. This offering is not sponsored by any French government agency, but by the “Grandes Ecoles” themselves. It is a remarkable development on the French educational scene.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Simpson, I. (2003, June), Two International Engineering Programs In France Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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