University of France

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The University of France (French: Université de France; originally the Imperial University of France) was a highly centralized educational state organization founded by Napoleon I in 1808 and given authority not only over the individual (previously independent) universities but also over primary and secondary education. The former individual universities were henceforth to be known as "academies" (such as the Académie de Paris), but each still retained a rector and local board of its own.


On 15 September 1793, petitioned by the Department of Paris and several departmental groups, the National Convention decided that independently of the primary schools,

"there shall be established in the Republic three progressive degrees of instruction; the first for the knowledge indispensable to artisans and workmen of all kinds; the second for further knowledge necessary to those intending to embrace the other professions of society; and the third for those branches of instruction the study of which is not within the reach of all men".

Measures were to be taken immediately: "For means of execution, the department and the municipality of Paris are authorized to consult with the Committee of Public Instruction of the National Convention, in order that these establishments shall be put in action by 1 November, and consequently colleges now in operation and the faculties of theology, medicine, arts, and law are suppressed throughout the Republic".

All the faculties were replaced by the University of France. After a century, people recognized that the new system was less favourable to study. The University of France was disbanded in 1896, when the universities regained a relative independence (but still within a centralized national system with the Ministry of Education as the highest authority).

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