A convention has been signed in Noumea to transfer the running of secondary school education from France to New Caledonia.
The French high commissioner says this marks the first time France has taken such a step, with New Caledonia's president Harold Martin acknowledging the move.
The transfer will take place at the beginning of the new year and is in line with provisions of the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy.
Under the deal, France will contribute more than 500 million US dollars a year to pay teaching staff.
The transfer also follows a formal vote in the Congress last year when for the first time in the territory's history he elected representatives of New Caledonia decided themselves on a transfer of powers from Paris.