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French agricultural education students: “intermediaries” in the fight against climate change?

Rachel Levy (LEREPS, Toulouse, France and ENSFEA, Castanet Tolosan, France)
Jean-Pierre Del Corso (ENSFEA, Castanet Tolosan, France)
François Seck Fall (Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, Toulouse, France)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 27 May 2024




The purpose of this study is to better understand how students of French agricultural education position themselves in the face of climate change and get involved in its fight.


This paper is based on a survey carried with 300 French students enrolled in the Brevet des Techniciens Supérieurs Agricoles class. A statistical analysis highlights the sensitivity of students to climate change and a simple econometric modelling examines the determinants of this sensibility. Finally, a qualitative study based on semi-directive interviews characterise the role of students as intermediaries of knowledge and innovative practices.


This study reveals that if the students ensure a function of intermediation inside rural where they act as true operators of institutional change, their role is less significant inside school and social networks.

Research limitations/implications

The analyses should be further developed by examining more precisely the place and roles of students in the creation and coordination of local collective structures acting for the defence of the climate.

Practical implications

The results show that the territories and the projects developed there can be relevant points of reference for introducing innovative teaching approaches to introduce climate change in the classroom.

Social implications

Young people’s commitment to the fight against climate change is strengthened by their concrete involvement in territorial development projects. Indeed, those territories specifically in rural areas appears as a space for innovation in environmental practices.


The originality of the study lies in its focus on the role of schools, living territories social networks as cultural spaces for shaping and transforming young people’s beliefs about climate change.



This worked as beneficiated of the funding of the French National Agency of the Programm «Investissements d’Avenir» referenced as ANR-11-LABX-0066. The authors also want to thanks all the students which have answer to the survey.


Levy, R., Del Corso, J.-P. and Fall, F.S. (2024), "French agricultural education students: “intermediaries” in the fight against climate change?", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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