A number of associations of linguists have disputed the obligation for BTS, DUT and bachelor's degree students to obtain certification in English issued by a specialised organisation to obtain their diplomas. According to the French education code, the awarding of national diplomas must only be dependent on the results of the assessment of students' knowledge and skills conducted by state-approved higher education establishments. The Conseil d’Etat thus considered that making the granting of national BTS, DUT and bachelor's degree diplomas dependent on the presentation of certification in English from an organisation outside the accredited establishment is contrary to the education code. It, therefore, annulled the decree of 3 April 2020 and the essential part of the order of the same date.
In April 2020, the government decided to introduce the obligation for students preparing for a higher technical certificate (BTS), bachelor's degree or university diploma (DUT) to obtain certification in English from an external body recognised at international level by the socio-economic world (TOEIC, TOEFL, etc.)1 . A number of associations of linguists disputed this obligation, which they considered to be contrary to the rules on issuing national diplomas defined by the education code.
The education code2 stipulates that only state-approved higher education establishments are authorised to issue national diplomas granting a university degree or qualification. It also states that the issuing of such diplomas (except in the case of the validation of prior experience) must only be dependent on the results of the assessment of the knowledge and skills of the candidates by higher education establishments approved for this purpose by the ministry in charge of higher education.
A decree and an order of 3 April 2020 provided that BTS, DUT and bachelor's degree diplomas could henceforth only be issued if the candidate had applied for certification in English, regardless of the results, and this certification had been carried out by an organisation outside the higher education establishments issuing the diplomas which, contrary to the latter, is not state-approved.
The Conseil d’Etat considers that these two texts conflict with the education code (second paragraph of Article L. 613-1), which does not allow the issuing of national diplomas to be dependent on the obligation to apply for certification in English from such organisations.
The Conseil d’Etat, therefore, annulled the decree of 3 April 2020 and the essential part of the order of the same date3.
Read the decision N°441056-441903-447981
1 Decree (BTS) and Order (bachelor's degree, DUT) of 3 April 2020
2 Article L. 613-1 of the education code
3 It maintained the order with respect to professional degrees, as the obligation to obtain certification in English derived from another legal text prior to the ruling of 3 April 2020 which was not disputed when it was introduced.