The French International School Jeddah - École française internationale de Djeddah - is one of three French curriculum schools in KSA offering the French National curriculum to students from both France and other francophone countries.
The École française internationale de Djeddah (EFID), otherwise known as The French International School of Jeddah, was formed in 1966 by the Bureau of Geological and Mining Research. It became an officially recognised 'French school abroad' two years later. In common with most such international schools which are supported by their governments, EFID is a not for profit school which is operated via a number of administrative boards. The French Embassy in Riyadh, representing the French State, and the Saudi Ministry of Education, provide administrative supervision.
The school originally operated under the auspices of the French Ministry of Education and its ‘Agence pour l'enseignement français à l'étranger’. In 2009, the AEFE terminated the agreement with the school, which then turned to the Mission Laïque Française (MLF), of which it has since been a partner. MLF operates in 37 francophone countries, and the 108 schools of the mlfmonde network educate more than 61,000 students, from Kindergarten to Terminale. They are an integral part of the 543 establishments that make up the French education network abroad.
EIFD’s status as an institution approved by the French Ministry of Education gives its teaching, at all levels, full recognition and legitimacy in France and throughout the French education network abroad.
It prepares students for the French national exams the Diplome National de Brevet taken at the age of 16, and the general Baccalaureate, taken at 18 years, with the possibility of the American International option associated with the latter qualification.
At the time of the publication of the most recent MLF annual guide of 2021, 1043 students attended EFID. A Management Board, made up of 10 parents of French nationality (7 holders and 3 substitutes), elected or appointed for 3 years, manages the establishment in accordance with the partnership agreement signed with the MLF, which appoints the leadership of the school.
The school is open from Toute Petite Section (for two year olds) to Terminale for students aged 17-18. Organisationally, the school is separated into three sections including Primary/Kindergarten, including the Toute Petite, Petite, Middle (Moyenne) and Grande Sections. In kindergarten, each teacher is assisted by a kindergarten assistant.
The Primary section is divided into Cours Primaire, CE1 and CE2 classes, CM1 and CM2 classes. On completion of Primary, students begin their programme in the senior school commencing in College in sixth-grade (6eme), moving on to 5eme and 4eme and finally to 3eme. The Lycee has three grades consisting of Seconde, Premiere and Terminale.
M. Quignon, in his introduction to the school, says, “Welcoming students from Kindergarten (TPS) (from age 2), our school takes them on an integrated course up to the French Baccalaureate. We are happy to welcome children of all school ages, from the most varied backgrounds, and are committed to leading them to excellence and fulfillment. Our team of professionals, under the guidance of a committed Parental Management Board, awaits you. The abilities of our students are pushed to a level which will allow them, after the Baccalaureate, to apply to the best French and international schools.”
As an examination centre for the French National examinations, the school allows the students to grow up in a multicultural environment in accordance with the motto of the Mission Laïque Française: “two cultures, three languages”.
In addition to the main subjects of the French National Curriculum of Maths, History & Geography, Art Education, Sciences, and EPS, EFID provides a diversified linguistic offering of English and Arabic (native and non-native) in addition to French. These courses are accredited by CIMA (Arabic) and Cambridge (English) certifications offered by the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. In addition, as part of the official programme of National Education, the French International School of Jeddah has recently begun to offer a theatre education course from 6eme to 4eme.
A further option is for students to join the International (American) section which offers a bilingual, bi-cultural course of 3 to 4 hours duration weekly, where students study American language, culture and history additional to the standard timetable. American teachers are responsible for 50% of the delivery of the course. Students take the French Baccalaureate together with the rest of their cohort, but receive a mention in their Diploma of the American section studies.
Clearly mindful of the direction of education globally, the school has recently put in place a detailed strategic plan for the period from 2019 - 2024, including a wide range of recommendations for improvement across a range of areas. One in particular is specifically desigend to address the ability of students to use digital technology for educational and creative purposes as a support to their learning, and reflective of the way in which technology is impacting future employment.
One outcome of this strategy has been the creation of the FABLAB, an interdisciplinary place of experimentation and digital creation for students from kindergarten to Lycee. There are spaces for students to exchange and create, a radio station, a web-tv, an editing station, video filming and sound recording units, computers, robots, drones, and a digital resource centre for teachers. The Fablab also provides access to laptop and tablet carts that teachers can borrow so that their students have a computer terminal for a given time.
In addition to the academic programme of the school, EFID also offers a range of extra-curricular activities which change on a regular basis. These include activities such as Judo, Zumba, Gardening and DIY, Yoga and Relaxation, guitar, soccer, creative art, lego workshop, photo workshop, taekwondo and swimming, the availability of which varies depending on the section of the school.
The activities are chargeable on an annual basis, and depending on the weekly duration of the chosen activity, range from 690 SAR for 1 hour per week, 1,035 SAR for 1h30 per week or 1,380 SAR for 2 hours per week.
In 1986, the school moved from its original location to premises in the Az-Zahra district, near Heera street, on land rented from the Municipality of Jeddah.
Over the years and with the gradual increase in staff, the buildings were fitted out and the spaces improved including the creation of a sports complex (swimming pool, gymnasium and field) in 1987, a cafeteria in 1988, a of Documentation and Information centre in 1996, a new space for kindergarten in 1997, and laboratories for experimental scientific disciplines in 1999. In 2009, new premises were built for high school students, the elementary playground was renovated and a new cafeteria and an additional gymnasium were fitted out.
Most recently, at the start of the 2021 school year, the school relocated 25km from the original location to new premises close to the airport , providing a "modern, well-equipped and safe environment".
There is relatively little feedback available with regard to EFID, but in common with French international schools globally, we would expect that it delivers a broad, culturally sensitive and academically rigorous education to its francophone students. The school does not publish any information about its Brevet or Bac results, nor the destinations of its graduates - information which we would very much welcome.
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Fees are exclusive of VAT at 15% and range from 23,500 SAR for children joining the TPS at two years of age, increasing to 31, 300 SAR for PS-MS-GS, 32,400 SAR from Primary to 3eme, 36400 SAR in Seconde, and 42,400 SAR for Premiere and Terminale. The school offers a 10% reduction for the third child in the family.
On application to the school, there is a first registration fee of 7,250 SAR and an assessment fee of 550 SAR (including VAT). There is also an annual re-registration fee of 1,550 SAR.
The school offer scholarships for French Residents, Social Assistance with registration and tuition fees for nationals of other countries and also assistance with travel.
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