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How Educational System Differs between French and Rome


Other developing countries of the world have all come to consider education as the magic wand of progress in the later part of the twentieth century and more importantly, in the next (third) millennium.

According to Lockheed and Verspoor (1994), education is a cornerstone of economic and social development. They pointed out that education improves the productive capacity of societies and their political, economic, and scientific institutions.

This, perhaps explains the reason for the relatively huge financial investments by governments on the provision of education to their citizens.

Efforts are also being made by the government to improve the standard of education so as to achieve the national educational aims and objectives.

French Educational System

French educational guarantees every person’s right to education and training, this being the contribution of schools to the principle of equal opportunities for all.

The chief objective is to enable every young person to reach a recognized level of qualification by a gradual process of orientation for 4 out of 5 to reach baccalaureate level (the main school Diploma – an equivalent of Nigeria’s Senior Secondary School Certificate).

School attendance in France is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16 (that is for 10 years). Schools are essentially co-educational at all levels.

Primary education lasts 5 years and caters for the 6-10 age group. School for this age group is compulsory.

Secondary education is divided into two cycles. Pupils in the first cycle of secondary education spend 4 years in a college which corresponds to the final years of compulsory education.

The second cycle of secondary education is divided into two streams. There are general and technical high schools which prepare pupils within 3 years for the baccalaureate.

The other stream of the second cycle of secondary education takes place in vocational high schools.

University education in French ranges between 4 and 8 years, depending on the course of study. There are generally pre-primary schools, schools for the handicapped (special education) as well as adult and non-formal education.

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The French tradition of centralized administration applies also to the Ministry of Education. Its control over educational matters is almost total. Education in France is principally financed by the state. Pupils in primary schools and the first cycle of secondary education receive their school textbooks free of change, while students in higher education (about 23 per cent) receive some form of aid.

The Roman Education

The basis and backbone of the earliest Roman education was the family. The child grew up and was educated in the family under the guidance of first, the mother, and later the father.

However, at about 100 B. C, the Roman education came under the influence of the Greek education,

The Greek education and philosophy infiltrated the Roman way of life. The Romans built schools that were similar to those of Greece. Schools were private institutions between 100 B. C. and A. D. 100 and did not all follow the same curriculum.

Yet the Roman genius for organization produced a degree of uniformity which permits us to call this the first organized system of schools with three clearly marked out schools: the elementary, secondary and higher.

These were also categorized as Ludus, Grammaticus and Rhetoric schools respectively.

Elementary education began at about the age of seven (7) years under the ‘lidi magistrate’, the master of the play school.

The Ludus was the lowest stage of the educational ladder of ancient Rome. This is obviously similar to our modern primary school. Children were taught the three R’s that is Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (Counting)

The second stage in Roman education was the Grammaticus. This was the grammar school which is akin to Nigeria’s present-day secondary school.

The Grammaticus received pupils at the age of about twelve (12) years and kept them until they were 16 years old.

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They were taught both Latin and Greek Grammar. The grammar school taught as a necessary instrument in the study of literature.

Upon the completion of the grammar school curriculum, the Roman youth, who entertained ambitions for a public career, entered one of the Rhetoric Schools.

These could be likened to higher education in Nigeria. Instruction in the Rhetoric Schools was of course designed to train public speakers of the highest order.

Oratory was a powerful instrument of government in the days of the Republic. Indeed, the trained orator was synonymous with the educated Roman.

The orator was to be broadly trained in the liberal arts and philosophy, jurisprudence, and history. An outstanding graduate of the Roman Rhetoric School was Cicero, the great Roman Poet and Orator.

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