Pas-de-Calais wants to promote ecology and culture in its schools

As the start of the school year approaches, the Pas-de-Calais department presented its commitments in favor of schools, this Wednesday, August 23. Inflation, ecological transition and access to culture will be the key issues in 2022-2023.

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In eight days, more than 61,000 high school students will return to schools in Pas-de-Calais. For this year 2022-2023, the department, responsible for ensuring the maintenance and operation of schools, intends to commit itself in particular to the issues of purchasing power, the energy transition and the democratization of culture.

So many topics addressed this Wednesday, August 24, at the Jean-Jaurès school in Aire-sur-la-Lys, where a multi-sports platform was also inaugurated. The president of the Pas-de-Calais department, the vice-president in charge of schools and the vice-president in charge of culture, in particular, presented current and future initiatives and systems in Pas-de-Calais. We invite you to discover them through three questions:

In first place on the podium is the maintenance for families of the half-board rate “affordable”, “so that they are not transferred to the very high prices of food”, explains Blandine Drain, vice president in charge of universities. Again this year, university students who eat in the dining room will therefore pay 3.06 euros for their meal. For fellows, the price will be 1.20 euros, while the total cost of a meal is estimated at 9 euros. A “equality for the plate”, according to the expression used by Jean-Claude Leroy, president of the Pas-de-Calais department, which makes it possible to face the uncertain economic context. Therefore, in order not to impact families, the department has chosen a “voluntary policy” in depth in favor of sustainable food.

In addition to experiments on the fight against waste, short circuits are also favored, especially in Desvres, where 53% of the products used are local. This is for the vice president of the departmental council, Jean-Claude Dissaux, a “example to follow”because if sustainable food is in “Clear progress, however there is still space.” Across all half-boards, the average proportion of supplies of sustainable products is 14%.

The other declared priority is the fight against bullying: in addition to the presence of staff, stickers with the listening and bullying support number (3020) will be affixed to the calculators offered. “The best way to combat bullying is freedom of expression”In this sense, the president of the region defends, who also mentions Jonathan Destin, a figure in the fight against bullying who died in his sleep this weekend, at the age of 27.

“It will undoubtedly continue and succeed in the energy transition of buildings and usesBlandine Drain projects. We must invest in the insulation of buildings so that they cost less energy, but also act on mentalities”, she explains. Each year, the department thus invests between 70 and 80 million euros for the maintenance and construction of schools”adapted to our times and safe”.

This represents a budget of 250 million euros spread over three years, which allows, among other things, the revegetation of schools or the installation of photovoltaic panels. But with most schools heated by gas, the department is also facing a €3.2m rise in energy prices this year. An increase of 14.8 million euros is even expected for next year.

“We know the problems but the solutions require technicality”declares the president of the department, Jean-Claude Leroy, who wishes “Support schools with experts to provide valuable advice and engineering.” In particular through the CUBE.S project, supported by Cerema and the department and cited several times: this is a challenge for schools, where the challenge is to reduce, for several years, their carbon footprint.

A possibility that the Pas-de-Calais wants to promote even more among those responsible for establishments, in order to achieve the next objective, as mentioned by the president of the department: the energy autonomy of establishments.

Among the 1,300 projects implemented in the schools of the department, there are those that already existed: “The School Orchestra” thanks to which 350 students will be introduced this year to instrumental practice, or the “Silence, on!” project, which consists of organizing 15 minutes of reading every day, thanks to books from the CDI or chosen by the students. “A shared moment in which everything stops at the faculty”, says Valérie Cuvillier, vice president in charge of culture.

The department wanted to continue to awaken university students through culture by organizing meetings on the “Egyptobus”. An itinerant bus that will tour Pas-de-Calais from October to January, as part of the exhibition “Campollion, the path of hieroglyphics”, scheduled at the Louvre-Lens.

Artist residencies will also be opened at the college. The objective is, according to Blandine Drain, that the students “Getting used to living with an artist, discovering that it is a real job, but also all the work behind the life of an artist”. A device described as a bridge with culture, “because to understand that culture is essential, it must be part of everyday life.”

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