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at the University of Paris-Dauphine, courses on ecological issues do not always convince the “climate generation”

In the hall of the University of Paris-Dauphine, from the stand of his green association Dauphine Durable, Maxence has to use his memory and his smartphone. The student will find a mandatory course on climate that he completed in 2020 upon arrival at the university called “Ecological challenges of the 21st century”. Especially on the program “greenhouse effect phenomenon, biodiversity”. This Friday, September 23, young people are once again mobilizing for the climate at the call of the Fridays for the Future movement, initiated in 2018 by Greta Thunberg. Gatherings are planned in Bordeaux, Toulouse, Dijon, or even Rennes. In Paris, the demonstration must take place on Sunday.

>> “Many young people are ecologically anxious or ecologically furious”, says Mathis Montelon, one of the coordinators of the climate march in Montpellier

This movement is re-launched by students completely questioning the point of their studies. Last spring, during the graduation ceremony, young people from AgroParisTech or Sciences Po openly criticized their schools – not being green enough, no or few courses on climate change and means of action. At the University of Paris-Dauphine, as of 2020, all first-year students, regardless of license, have a mandatory course on the subject, but feedback on the experience is mixed. In addition to biodiversity and the greenhouse effect, another lesson concerns energy production, or even understanding IPCC reports (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). “A global view of climate change. Why? How? What are the effects? So it was seen from a scientific point of view, with a touch of natural, physical sciences, which was not uninteresting to us.”emphasizes Maxence.

The science base provided by mathematicians, economists and climate experts. “It was pretty general knowledge that we had in high school science educationexplains Blanche, whereas I thought it would be more to do with companies, how to introduce greener policies, etc.” Solene agrees: “I found that they didn’t provide enough solutions, not the means to combat this global warming.”

It is not possible to do everything, to see everything in just 18 hours of lectures, answers sociologist Dominique Méda, co-creator of this module at the University of Dauphine: “I understand very well that they are in a hurry, that they want solutions, because they themselves want to be involved! But we think that this first year is done to deepen the observation of the carbon footprint, the IPCC scenarios. . All this will still take a lot of time.” In the first year of the license, the course is devoted to the natural and physical sciences of climate and ecological crises. In the second year, he focuses on economic, social and cultural aspects

Time for theory in the first year of the license and then? Do students learn more later, especially in master’s programs? Cassandre Goldstein, student delegate for environmental responsibility, is convinced of this. “There is a master’s degree in international relations and development, where the main field is sustainable development, and a master’s degree in environmental law, other energy, finance, carbon.appoints. So that’s already the first step.”

And the minister of higher education wants to make Dauphine an example worth following. Sylvie Retailleau’s goal: that all college students have “keys to understanding” ecological issues, from the beginning of the school year in September 2023.

Climate courses are considered too limited at the University of Paris-Dauphine – report by Thomas Giraudeau

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