[ARCHIVE] A School at the forefront of ecological transition

During the 2019-2020 school year, the Ministry will give pupils the opportunity to be key actors in ecological transition in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools, by electing an eco-representative for each class at lower and upper secondary schools, and initiating actions to promote sustainable development and combat climate change.

The essentials

The fight against climate change and efforts to encourage biodiversity are two major issues for the future. They require the mobilisation of our entire society and profound changes in individual and collective behaviours.

Thus, on 15 March 2019, the Education and Youth Minister urged all elected officials in upper secondary school boards to organise idea exchanges within institutions in order to identify means for turning the 60,000 school establishments into exemplary places for environmental and biodiversity protection.

On 4 June 2019, eight concrete measures were set out. They will be implemented and enhanced right from the start of the 2019-2020 school year to allow schools and institutions to become a setting for commitment to sustainable development and the fight against climate change.

During the year 2019-2020, the ministry will allow pupils to be key players of ecological transition in schools, lower and upper secondary schools by electing an eco-delegate per lower and upper secondary class.

The issue of the environment at the heart of school curricula

In upper secondary schools, the new curricula, which have been enforced from the 2019-2020 school year, establish a significant position for climate and environmental stakes (measure 6).

In Grade 10

  • The life and earth sciences (SVT) curriculum allows pupils to learn more about the impact of human activities on the environment. At the introduction of the curriculum, it is clearly highlighted that "pupils are made aware of the major stake that humanity will face in the 21st century, pertaining to the environment, sustainable development, resource and risk management".
  • The history & geography curriculum dedicates a full topic to the environmental issue : "Societies and environments : fragile balances". It invites teachers to study with their pupils "climate change and its effect on densely populate space".

In Grade 11

  • In the general stream, scientific education, which is common to all pupils, highlights humans' role in climate change.
  • Moral and civic education deals with individual and collective responsibility in terms of environmental issues or environmental protection as a rallying cause.
  • The introduction of the history & geography curriculum, in the vocational stream, highlights that "it's an empowering education that drives a civic attitude and highlights the major challenges of the 21st century, particularly challenges linked to the environment and sustainable development goals".

In Grade 12 (2021-2022 curriculum)

  • Scientific education taught to all pupils is entirely dedicated to climate stakes. Topic 1 : "science, climate and society" ; topic 2 : "the future of energies" ; topic 3 : "a history of the living".
  • The history & geography, geopolitics and political sciences specialisation has a topic dedicated to the environment, between use and protection : a global stake.

In addition, in the living languages, common classes and specialisations in Grade 11 and Grade 12 include a study angle titled "Scientific Innovations and Responsibility" which examines man's activity on the environment.

These curricula are an extension of the compulsory schooling curricula. In June 2019, the Education and Youth Minister sought the Conseil supérieur des programmes (Senior Curriculum Council) to further enhance the environmental dimension of primary and lower secondary curricula.

Make pupils actively contribute to sustainable development

It is important for pupils to be the initial active contributors to the ecological issue in the school setting. Each school or institution will have a longterm project to foster biodiversity (birdhouses, vegetable gardens, tree planting, etc.) by December 2019 (measure 1).

In September 2019, secondary school pupils will elect an eco-delegate per class (measure 2). The eco-delegate's mission will be to :

  • raise their friends' awareness on daily deeds that help combat global warming (switching off lights, recycling class waste)
  • identify projects that help :
    • improve biodiversity
    • reduce the energy impact of the institution
    • promote eco-responsible deeds across the entire education community
    • combat wastefulness
    • promote an activity in the region around the institution.

All the projects must allow the schools and institutions to be active contributors as well as effective ecological transition areas.

Thus, they are invited to acquire the label école/établissement en démarche globale de développement durable (E3D - general sustainable development approach school/institution), which 4,500 among them now hold. In October, a new, more ambitious version of the specifications of the E3D label will be published (measure 5).

Sustainable development stakes are integrated in all diplomas of the technological and vocational streams. The STI2D series of the vocational upper secondary school is already at the leading edge of this new ambition (measure 7).

At least three annual CAVL (upper secondary academic board) and CNVL (upper secondary national board) sessions are dedicated to sustainable development (measure 3). Upper secondary school elected officials are fully involved with implementing this policy and help evaluate the projects developed by eco-delegates in the institutions. Today, upper secondary school elected officials are rightful members of academic steering committees for sustainable development education.

Regional education authorities play a vital role in terms of implementing sustainable development education while relying on teaching, inspection, management and educational supervision staff (measure 4).

In the 2019-2020 school year, a 2030 greenschool prize was launched to support the best projects undertaken in primary and secondary schools (measure 8).

During the 2019-2020 school year, particular attention will be given to the mobilisation to host the International Union for Conservation of Nature (UICN) global conference and to prepare for COP 15 on biodiversity will take place in October 2020.

Law For a School of Trust Article 9 : The first two paragraphs of Article L. 312-19 of the Education Code specify that : "Environmental and sustainable development education begins from primary school. The aim is to raise children's awareness on environmental stakes and ecological transition.
It allows the transfer and acquisition of knowledge pertaining to nature, the need to preserve biodiversity, understanding and evaluating the impact of human activities on natural resources and the fight against global warming."

More key policies

Together for a School of Trust
Pre-primary school at three years old for all
Grade 1 and Grade 2 classes with twelve pupils : 300,000 children involved
Grade 1 and Grade 2 assessments to anticipate learning difficulties
Annual benchmarks in primary and lower secondary school to guide pupil progress better
Consolidate primary school in all regions
Support the most vulnerable families
Provide better facilities for disabled pupils
Homework done : work towards success of all pupils
Culture and arts at the heart of the school system
Mobilisation for Paris 2024 : boost sport at School
Guide pupils better and lead them to success
Stronger vocational pathway
Upper secondary general or technological school : new Grade 10 and Grade 11 classes
New dynamics for living languages through all school levels
Digital learning aids
A School at the forefront of ecological transition
The principle of secularism at the heart of School and the society of trust
The School of respect for others
Develop the culture of engagement : the UN system and the civic service
Boost initial teacher training
Support personnel throughout their career
Improve labour conditions for staff
Involve families better in School life
Wednesday plan and education cities : enhance out-of-school times
An ambitious boarding school policy serving pupils and territories
100 % success in primary school : strengthening French and mathematics instruction
Opening French schools to Europe and the world
Banning the use of cellphones in primary and lower secondary schools
Supporting books and reading
Enriching the lower secondary school curriculum
Promoting a culture of innovation

Mise à jour : septembre 2022