French Polynesia – Islands, Education, Tahiti, and Rate –

Children generally start school at age 5 and complete primary education by age 12. The ages of compulsory education are 6 through 16. Tahiti has a literacy rate of 98 percent. On some of the smaller islands though, the dropout rate is extremely high, with only 20 percent or fewer students even finishing elementary school.

All school instruction is in French. French Polynesia has the same educational system as France, but it is altered slightly to conform with needs specific to the territories. Additionally, public education is financed through the government, which also subsidizes some private schools that are operated by churches.

Higher education can be attained in French Polynesia. In 1987, the French University of the Pacific was founded in Papeete, Tahiti, to encourage citizens to attain higher education more frequently and to develop scientific and cultural relationships with other countries.

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International Schools in French Polynesia | Guides for your expatriation – (

French Polynesia is an overseas territory of France and its education system is heavily influence by this relationship. The medium of instruction is French. Formal education is mandatory for every child up to the age of fourteen. Primary education begins at five and continues until the age of twelve, when secondary education begins. Public education is financed by the government.

Literacy and the use of the Tahitian language has been a complicated matter in French Polynesia. As late as 1962, almost half of the population claimed that they were able to read and write only in Tahitian. The language was forbidden in schools for both teachers and pupils for some time. Today, a majority of the residents speak both French and Tahitian.

International School in Tahiti

Tahiti International School

Address: Pointe Fishermen, Punaauia, Tahiti

Tel: 72 60 60 746 786


Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

Organized in a Polynesian style house, this school has kindergarten to fifth grade. English is the working language with 7 courses in French and one in Tahitian. Students may take the French Bac, A level, or Bac International.

Secondary schooling takes a further 7 years through to age 17, of which the first 6 are compulsory, although more than a few islanders fail to comply. Public schools are fully financed by the government, which also subsidizes some private schools owned by churches. The final examination is good for university anywhere in the region.

French Polynesia is an Overseas Territory that includes Tahiti and 118 smaller islands in the eastern South Pacific. There are five major islands (archipelagos): Society Islands, which include Tahiti and Moorea; the Marquesas Islands; the Austral Islands; the Tuamotu Archipelago; and the Gambier Islands. The first schools in French Polynesia were the French missionary schools. Several different churches established mission schools, but we have not yet found much information about them. We are not sure when the French administration began opening public schools. We believe this was primarily a development after World War II. France has over time granted French Polynesia, now an Overseas Territory, greater autonomy in most local affairs and regional relations but retained control of law enforcement, defense, the money supply, and education. State public schools are run by the French administration and comply with French standards. The French have established primary, secondary, and vocational schools Formal education on Tahiti is now compulsory for every child up to 14 years of age. Primary education begins at age 5 years and continues until the children are 12 years old at which time they begin secondary school. There are a number of technical and vocation schools in Tahiti, including hotel, restaurant, nursing and teaching programmes. There is also an imprtant adult education program. Education at these facilities is free. French Polynesians are able to attend college in France or pursue a degree at the French University of the Pacific (UFP), which has a campus in French Polynesia. Something like 95 percent of the population is literate, some estimates are even higher. There is now gender differential. The schooling is conducted in the French language using the same syllabus as schools in France for most subjects. This meant that until recently as French has become more common, most children begin school which was taught in a foreign language. A large part of the population spoke Tahitian rather than French, especially on the smaller islands outside Tahiti. Tahitian continues to be important in everyday life. The French were very strict with this, banning Tahitian was in schools for both teachers and students. This included both in the classroom and during recess and other times outside the classroom. Current school policy is more tolerant and a few hours per week of Tahitian language instruction is now provided at primary and secondary school. Tahitian literacy is maintained in adult life mainly through the writing of personal letters, now the internet, and the reading of religious texts. Tahitian continues to be widely used in radio broadcasting, popular music, and personal contact with Tahitian speakers. French and Tahitian are both official languages. Tahitian is a kind of lingua franca among Polynesian groups and in religious education at Protestant and Catholic schools, although even in these schools, secular subjects are taught in French. The private religious schools, partially supported by the French administration, use the same basic curiculum as the public schools with religious instruction added. Thoughout Oceania, nationalist groups seek to introduce local languages like Tahitian into the schools. This is a complicated topic. As a matter of social justice, people should have the opportunity to learn in their own languages. By not learning French, however, people are cutting themselves off from the wider world and economic opportunity. Only so many books are available in Tahitian or other local languages. This includes both literarure and technical books. Thus not learning French cuts the individual off from modern technology. On the outer islands such as Tuamotu, there is a high dropout rate with less than 20 percent of the children finishing primary school. Language policy may be a factor here, but there are other economic and cultural factors involved as well.

Université de la Polynésie Française

World rank of the University of French Polynesia is 5935

Founded in 1987, Université de la Polynésie Française (University of French Polynesia) is a non-profit public higher education institution located in the urban setting of the medium-sized town of Punaauia (population range of 10,000-49,999 inhabitants).

Officially accredited and/or recognized by the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche et de l’Innovation, France (Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, France), Université de la Polynésie Française (UPF) is a small (uniRank enrollment range: 4,000-4,999 students) coeducational higher education institution. Université de la Polynésie Française (UPF) offers courses and programs leading to officially recognized higher education degrees such as bachelor degrees, master degrees in several areas of study.

See the Myinfoconnect degree levels and areas of study matrix below for further details. This 32 years old higher-education institution has a selective admission policy based on students’ past academic record and grades. International students are welcome to apply for enrollment.

University of French Polynesia Tuition Fee Range

 Undergraduate Postgraduate


students           0-1,000 US$

(0-750 Euro)     0-1,000 US$

(0-750 Euro)


students           0-1,000 US$

(0-750 Euro)     0-1,000 US$

(0-750 Euro)

Year of first Accreditation


From Wikipedia, UPF


The university is headed by the President, who has authority over all the staff. He determines the policy of the institution with the assistance of the Board. As the executive authority, he prepares and implements the multi-year contract with the French Ministry of Higher Education and concludes agreements and conventions on behalf of the university. He is the chief officer of revenue and expenditure for the university budget and responsible for maintaining order. He is elected for a four-year term by a majority of elected Board members.[2]

Professor Eric Conte was elected President of the University of French Polynesia on June 23, 2011.

He is assisted by four vice-presidents :

Board of Trustees: Patrick Capolsini, associate professor in computer science;

Scientific Council: Alban Gabillon, full professor in computer science;

Student Life: Vincent Dropsy, associate professor in economics

Student Vice President: Andrew John; he is the spokesman of student representatives in various committees.

The Board (CA) determines the policy of the institution. As such, it adopts the budget after a fiscal policy debate. It approves agreements and conventions signed by the President. In addition, upon the proposal of the President, it fills positions allocated to the university. It reviews and adopts rules and approves the annual report of the president.


The University of French Polynesia has a diversified and wide course offering, adapted to the local labor market of French Polynesia. As of 2012, it numbers 3051 students plus 40 PhD candidates.[4]

Education in Law, Economics, Management

Certificate of legal studies

Bachelor of Public Administration (L3)

BA of Law

BA of Economics and Management

BA of Tourism and International Resort Management

Master in the Law of Economic Activities

MA in Management

“Ombudsman” degree

University-specific certificate in Environmental Law

University certificate in Labor Law in French Polynesia

Preparation for Civil Service Exams

Institute of Judicial Studies

Training in Land Claims in French Polynesia

Courses for local councilors and municipal officials: “The institutions of French Polynesia”, “Financial management of local authorities”, “Implementation of the general code of local authorities in French Polynesia”, “Public Accounting”, “Local government litigations”,” Local financial litigations “,” Contracts and Procurement “,” Control of economic and social activities by public authorities “,” Criminal accountability of elected and municipal officials”, ” Intercommunality “

University degree “Becoming a team manager”

University degree of Business Creation and Management

University degree “Assistant Accountant”

University certificate “Accounting of private and public companies with SAGE software application”

University Certificate in “E-business”

Training in Human Resource Management

Courses in Arts, Languages and Social Sciences

BA in History and Geography

BA in Foreign Languages Applied to International Business (English-Spanish)

BA in Arts and French Literature

BA in English Studies

BA in Polynesian Studies

MA in the Languages, Cultures and Societies in Oceania

University-specific certificate ” English for Business”

Speaking in Tahitian – Level 1

Speaking in Tahitian – Level 2

Speaking in Tahitian – Level 3

Speaking Spanish

Training “Introduction to eco-responsibility”

Multidisciplinary training

Degree for accessing university, Option A (Humanities)

BA in Oceanic Environments

Science courses

Health and Pre-Med Studies (1st year)

BS in Mathematics

BS in Computer Science

BS in Physics and Chemistry

BS in Biology

Vocational degree (L3) Energy and environmental engineering, specializing in renewable energy and energy management (to open in 2013)

Vocational degree (L3) Systems and software, specializing in information technology and communication

MA in Natural Sciences, Environment and Ecology, with environmental specialty (M1 at UPMC Paris VI in 2012, M2 in Tahiti from 2013)

University degree “Suicide Care and Prevention”

University degree “Spa Manager”

University degree “Health and Wellness Practice”

University degree “Organic farming”

Preparing for IT and Internet Certificate (2i) Level 1


Every university is a place of learning where students are preparing their future careers. As well, every university is a place for research. So it must ensure proper training. Teachers are also researchers. Faculty members are associate professors and full professors who have each a specialty area. Depending on their specialty, they are part of research teams. The University of French Polynesia has five laboratories:[6]

Governance and Island Development (GDI),

Traditional and Contemporary Societies in Oceania (Eastco)

Geopole of the South Pacific (GEPASUD)

Algebraic Geometry with applications to the Information Theory (GAATI)

A Joint Research Unit “Pacific Island Ecosystems” (UMR-EIO), in partnership with IRD, Ifremer and Louis Malardé Institute.

The university employs 95 teachers including:

65 faculty members (19 full professors and 46 associate professors),

an adjunct faculty of 28 secondary school teachers

2 temporary teaching and research assistants.

Le Collège La Mennais is a private Roman Catholic mixed secondary school in Papeete, Tahiti.