Announcing BFI Central
The BFI diploma has fully replacing the OIB in France as the international form of the French baccalaureate - sparking many questions about its implementation. BFI Central is a central clearinghouse to share best practices and resources in implementing the BFI (baccalauréat français international), along with the latest bulletins published by the French government, with English translations. Materials are written and collected by educators based in France, for the benefit of their peers and colleagues, as well as the broader community of parents, students, administrators, and admissions professionals. So please bookmark this page and signup for email updates, including upcoming webinars and panel discussions on the BFI! A great starting place is the video below, which explains the BFI in a nutshell and how it differs from the OIB and the bac.
Video: Understanding the new French BFI
This short video is a great place to start in understanding the new French BFI. For the French version, click here.
Key BFI Official Bulletins and Resources - in French and English
Here, collected in one place for easy reference, are all current and relevant French-government bulletins relating to the launch and implementation of the BFI (bac français international). Check back regularly, as we will update the list - along with (unofficial) English translations - as soon as new documents are published.
Connaissance du Monde (World Knowledge) or CdM
The main thing that's new in the BFI is the component called Connaissance du Monde (‘world knowledge’) or CdM. The Connaissance du Monde component requires schools to add to their curriculum, addressing three themes, with particular reference to the country of their section:
- Exploring contemporary social issues ('penser la société')
- Becoming a global citizen ('habiter le monde')
- Building a healthy future ('construire l’avenir')
In addition to new coursework, each student will do a personal project based on their interests, working with a native contact in the country of their section. The culmination will be an oral presentation in their final year.
Schools have great latitude in implementing the BFI - for example, how to add coursework to meet the CdM requirements and how to structure the personal project. Some schools, for example, have decided to use AP courses as part of their approach.
BFI Central is planning an upcoming webinar and panel discussion on how different schools are interpreting and implementing the new BFI component Connaissance du Monde. Please sign up via the form in the sidebar to attend (and, if appropriate, to present).
How does the new BFI differ from the OIB?
The BFI is an evolution of the OIB. Let’s start with what’s the same between the OIB and BFI – namely most of it: BFI students will continue to follow the full French national curriculum that makes up the standard French bac, including the choice of specialty subjects and optional subjects like an additional language, art, and Latin. BFI students – like the OIB students before them – will continue to have about 8 hours a week in their section.
The BFI has three ‘flavors’: either bilingual, trilingual, or quadrilingual. The first two requirements in all these flavors are the same as existing OIB requirements, but with new names. Under the BFI, the new term ACL includes the language and literature previously called ENL. The new term DNL includes the history and geography previously called ENH.
The pie charts below summarize the evolution from OIB to BFI, showing the breakdown in points ('coefficients', as they're officially called) for each bac subject. The green section represents the tronc commun – basic bac subjects that everyone must cover. The orange section represents the student’s specialty subjects. The blue section represents the subjects taught in the foreign section – increasing from 25% of total points under the OIB to 40% under the BFI. You can also see how that 25% under the OIB consisted of two subjects; while the 40% under the BFI now contains the additional third subject (Connaissance du Monde or CdM).
The BFI vs. the IB
The similarity between the acronyms BFI, OIB, and IB gives rise to untold confusion. Let's try to untangle these acronyms.
The IB - short for international baccalaureate - dates from the 1960s, and was created by the International School of Geneva as an international high-school diploma. Despite the similarity with the acronym OIB, the IB is not connected and is not part of the French educational system. The IB is still in wide use today around the world - outside the French system. In 1985, the French government launched its own official international diploma, called the OIB. To read about the significant differences between these two similar-sounding diplomas click here.