Our society lives with too rigid representations. An agricultural high school would help exclusively in the preparation of a vocational baccalaureate. An agricultural high school would come under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture. One of two things is that an agricultural high school has skills that go far beyond just formal education… or not!
And its benefits in terms of territorial animation would have something to raise the interest of other ministries, that of the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion for example (and that of ecology? Or foreign affairs?). When will the creation of links between agricultural high schools and this ministerial entity? All the more so as it already offers territorial revitalization programs in which agricultural high schools could quickly make a contribution in order to meet the many challenges of future societies.
Agricultural high schools: one place, two roles
Agricultural high schools are not just schools. They assume several roles which make them key players in the animation of the territories. On the one hand, they are the producers of various agricultural resources and the nurturing hand of many rural areas plagued by the desertification of local shops in the city center and rural exodus. Don the other hand, agricultural high schools are also seen as centers of diversified resources in their municipality. Network heads for local development. They carry out organizational innovation projects at the service of agricultural professionals (hosting an AMAP, for example) and promote social experimentation thanks to their human and technical skills: concierge services, educational farms, nurseries, development of application stores. For example, the agricultural school of the commune of Feurs in the Loire has notably participated in the installation of a nursery, a technical platform for the pupils, but also real service to the inhabitants of the commune.
Opening the fields, changing your vision: a necessity!
However, this spectrum of skills is not fully perceived by the various ministries. Indeed and this is damaging, agricultural high schools are struggling to be identified by elected officials as actors in the dynamics of territories. The reason ? The agricultural establishments – by their competences and their missions – are at the crossroads of several ministries, do not “fit in the boxes” in a way. Let us quote that of Agriculture, of course, but also that of the Cohesion of the territories and the Relations with the local authorities. They are even, in many ways, the link between the ministry of Jacqueline Gourault and that of Julien Denormandie.
For a long time, these two ministries followed their path and did not communicate well with each other. Their mutual development has created silos and compartmentalization effects which contribute to this lack of identification of the plural skills that society needs today. Silotage, by over-multiplying the structural effects, also multiplies the budget wastage at a time when the State calls for financial sobriety. Nevertheless, for several months, a progressive awareness of the existence of a network of high schools well established in the territory and the need to create new links is emerging.
Two urban development programs
The development of more concrete links between agricultural high schools and the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion and relations with local authorities could involve the participation of these schools in two pre-existing programs.
The first program Small towns of tomorrow concerns towns with less than 20,000 inhabitants. It aims to revitalize these cities by creating an economic dynamic that can be part of the ecological transition. Through its agricultural production capacities in short circuits to supply local shops, its proximity to the land with municipalities and its work to educate consumers with environmental concerns, agricultural high schools will be the spearheads of this economic dynamic as much. wanted.
The second program City heart action, through its wish to strengthen the driving role of cities in the development of territories also falls within the sphere of competence of agricultural high schools.
In both cases, the towns and municipalities are in the process of initiating these programs and the agricultural colleges are there to make their contribution!
These have a role Politics to be carried out in the noble sense of the term. Because they have a mission to fulfill in the heart of the “polis”, of the city, conceived as a space but above all as a web of relationships. Actors that ministerial structures would benefit from not forgetting to meet the great challenges of tomorrow, which are numerous: agrobiological production, environmental respect or even anti-waste.