A formal education or training activity is an education or training activity which simultaneously:
- has a hierarchy level-grade structure;
- is subject to admission requirements;
- lasts at least one semester (minimum of 30 European Credits Transfer Scale);
- has a programme recognised by the relevant national education authority (or equivalent authority).
These are the " Classification of learning activities " (CLA) 2016 criteria allowing to determine whether an education or training activity is formal or non formal.
Generally, in France, the education or training activities of the national education system (primary, secondary and tertiary education) are classified as formal, notably when they lead to a diploma or prepare to entrance examinations (grandes écoles classes préparatoires for example). The education or training activities leading to professional certificates or titles included in the French national register for professional certificates (RNCP) are considered as formal if they last at least one semester and if the diploma / title they prepare to can be classified at a level. So, the education or training activities lasting at least one semester and preparing to entrance examinations are classified as formal, contrary for instance to the education or training activities leading to " certificats de qualification professionnelle " (CQP) which are not classified at any education level, to the lessons for driving licence, to the " Brevet d’aptitude aux fonctions d’animateur " (Bafa), to the " Certificat d’aptitude à la conduite en sécurité " (Caces).