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Revue française de pédagogie, n°198/2017

Regards croisés sur le baccalauréat professionnel

Revue française de pédagogie - Recherches en éducation

Diverse views on the vocational baccalaureate

The creation of the vocational baccalaureate in 1985 profoundly transformed the vocational path of the education system and the definition of the baccalaureate. Original vocational degree and singular baccalaureate because of its purpose of insertion, this new diploma had to meet both the needs of companies and to reassert the worth of the vocational path, while contributing to the objectives of the education policy: to lead 80% of an age group to the level of the baccalaureate in 2000. Object of strong criticisms and often treated as a "false baccalaureate", the vocational baccalaureate nevertheless experienced a fast growth thanks to a very proactive policy. Its first holders also had easy access to employment. Its situation seemed however less favourable in the 2000s, to the point of justifying a significant reform, officially dedicated to its development and to its achieving parity with the general and technological baccalaureates. Its curriculum passed from 4 to 3 years and the continuation of higher education studies became one of its official purposes. Now, the vocational baccalaureate is obtained by 3 out of 10 holders of the baccalaureate which makes it rank second among the baccalaureates in France. Did it, in fact, change its image, status and public? An approach centred on the scholastic dimensions of the vocational baccalaureate is proposed here. Four points of view are offered, each highlighting the various aspects of the program.