Institutions strongly committed to training students and staff in a systemic approach to ecological transition
The symposium on training for transitions held at the University of Bordeaux on 20 October 2022, in the presence of the Minister of Higher Education and Research, Sylvie Retailleau, enabled a wide array of stakeholders to share their thoughts, actions and best practices. The aim was to accelerate the transition processes that were underway in several institutions, but which were not widely known.
France Universités recalled that institutional efforts to act upon IPCC reports and the Jouzel report must take up profound questions about our education model and the role of science in society. In addition to the decompartmentalization of knowledge and the increase in multidisciplinary research, there is a need to continue to develop students’ critical thinking skills in all existing and future courses, while at the same time promoting pedagogical innovation. These initiatives are in line with the announcements made on October 20 by Sylvie Retailleau.
Education through research, in preparation for the working world of tomorrow, requires the development of increasingly refined scientific and technical skills to cope with transitions. Universities have an indispensable role to play. During the conference, Manuel Tunon de Lara, President of France Universities, reaffirmed the commitment of the institutions to an operational phase and recalled that all courses, both disciplinary and professional, will be progressively concerned.
France Universités is strongly mobilised, as are all its members and partner networks, to continue to develop a systemic approach, combining education, research, recognition of student activism, exemplary campuses, and energy sobriety. The integration of transition measures into multi-year contracts providing objectives and resources, as requested by the Minister, will be an essential lever.
Student expectations, expressed during the symposium, are certainly a driving force in mobilizing institutions to make education for ecological, societal, and digital transitions a priority for university communities – not only for youth, but also for all university staff. Lifelong learning initiatives have their role to play.
More broadly, France Universités would like universities to provide a common base of knowledge and skills throughout metropolitan France and the overseas territories. The public university system has an opportunity to become the principal actor in training senior civil servants, national and local elected officials, and representatives of the economic world, for the ecological, societal and digital transitions that are currently underway.