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ENVIRONMENTal education

 

Environmental topics have been included in many subjects and curriculum from time to time in the schools, colleges, universities and other institutions but a transformation in environmental law in India began in 1985 when an Indian lawyer, M.C. Mehta, persuaded India’s Supreme Court to rule that Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees each citizen the “right to life,” necessarily includes the “right to a healthy environment.” The implications of this ruling are far-reaching: Each Indian citizen now has the right to seek enforcement of India’s environmental laws by filing a writ petition to the Supreme Court of India, or a State High Court. M.C. Mehta has achieved unparalleled success protecting the environment and public health through law in India, winning numerous Supreme Court judgments on behalf of India’s citizens to preserve India’s natural resources and cultural heritage. In a recent victory, M.C. successfully petitioned the Supreme Court of India to enforce a 1991 decision requiring environmental studies as a compulsory subject at all levels of Indian education. The December, 2003, court order requires that green curricula be taught in all of India’s 28 states. In 1991, M.C. obtained the original Supreme Court order, requiring mandatory environmental education to fulfill the fundamental duties of citizens to “protect and improve the natural environment,” as set out in India’s Constitution.
 

Environment and Pollution control Curriculum for Schools in India

A Welcome Sign for Environmental Awareness Moment:

Environmental science has been a subject of great importance to us from ancient time. However, not much concern was expressed until some signs of its detritions are noticed as a result of human activities. Several governmental and non-governmental organizations have initiated programs to monitor and understand it better. Atmospheric chemistry, pollution, air quality are among the prominent environmental issues of the 21st century.  Therefore awareness about it must begin at the grass root level through schools. Hence the Supreme Court of India’s directive, mentioned below, comes as a welcome step to help the students across the country to make aware about the environmental science. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in its Judgment delivered on 18th December 2003 in Writ Petition No 860 of 1991 has directed the NCERT to prepare a model syllabus for the Environmental Education to be taught at different grades. The Supreme Court directed all the  States and educational agencies in the country to introduce environment as a compulsory subject in all classes in schools up to the higher secondary level from the academic year 2004-05. It directed the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to frame a model syllabus for the schools keeping in view the 1991 judgment and submit it before the court on or before 14th April 2004 so as to enable them to consider the feasibility to introduce such syllabus uniformly throughout the country. The direction No 4 issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court as per its order dated 22nd November 1991 read thus: “We accept on principle that through the medium of education awareness of the environment and its problems related to pollution should be taught as a compulsory subject. Learned Attorney General pointed out to us that the Central Government is associated with education at higher levels and University Grants Commission can monitor only the undergraduate and postgraduate studies. The rest of it, according to him, is a state subject. He has agreed that the university Grants Commission will take appropriate steps immediately to give effect to what we have said, that is requiring the universities to prescribe a course on Environment. They would consider the feasibility of making this a compulsory subject at every level in college education. So far as education up to the college level is concern, we would require every State Government and every Education Board connected with education up to the matriculation stage or even intermediate colleges to immediately take steps to enforce compulsory education on environment in graded way. This should be so done that in the next academic year there would be compliance with this requirement”. Hence, the above Supreme Court directive is a positive gesture for environmental science awareness campaign. The concept to save our environment will automatically follow once awareness is created about its importance in the main stream. Now it is left to the implementing agencies as to how fast and effectively they can act on it. In this direction, National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has initiated to consult and collect opinion of various experts / institutions regarding the perceptions in various dimensions of environmental education at different stages of school education. Some issues pertaining to overall implications like how one should introduce the course without increasing curriculum load and what are the implications of this in teacher’s education, etc are basic issues which can be debated and may be kept aside for the time being. Because this may certainly require a proper balance in overall load on a student by shortening the syllabus of other subjects without compromising the important elements and at the same time full weightage should be given to the new subject. We should start working directly and more rigorously on the content and material to be tough in a systematic manner in different standards regarding the environment subject. The environmental science should be considered as compulsory subject irrespective of the selection of optional subject. In a later stage (say in intermediate or so), this may be included as specialized course rather than subject, which may cover different disciplines of environmental science in detail.

COMPENDIUM OF SUMMARIES OF JUDICIAL DECISIONS IN ENVIRONMENT RELATED CASES

India - Constitutional Rights, Environmental Education

M.C. MEHTA v. UNION OF INDIA AND OTHERS

WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) No. 860 OF 1991 THE CHIEF JUSTICE, G.N. RAY, J., and A.S. ANAND, J.

Introduction

Petitioner, M.C. Mehta filed this application in the public interest, asking the Supreme Court to: (1) issue direction to cinema halls that they show slides with information on the environment; (2) issue direction for the spread of information relating to the environment on All India Radio; and (3) issue direction that the study of the environment become a compulsory subject in schools and colleges.

Petitioner made this application on the grounds that Article 51A(g) of the Constitution requires every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures. To fulfil these obligations to the environment, the Petitioner argued that people needed to be better educated about the environment.

Legal Framework

Constitution of India, Article 5lA(g).

Water Pollution Control Act of 1974.

Air Pollution Control Act 1981.

Environment Protection Act of 1986.

Held

The Court noted the world-wide concern about environmental matters had increased greatly since the early 1970s. The Court also noted that the enormous increase in human population in the last fifty years, as well as changes in lifestyles, have necessitated that environmental issues be given more attention, and that it is the Government’s obligation to keep citizens informed about such matters.

The Court noted that the Attorney-General of India agreed to work out procedures to take care of some of the Petitioner’s concerns. Thus, the Court issued the following directions:

 

(1)    The State Governments and Union Territories will require, as a condition of licenses to all cinema halls, touring cinemas and video parlours, that at least two slides/messages provided by the Ministry of Environment, and which deal with environmental issues, will be shown free of cost as part of each show. Failure to comply with this order is grounds for cancellation of a license.

(2)    The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will start producing short films which deal with the environment and pollution. One such film will be shown, as far as practicable, in one show every day by the cinema halls.

(3)    All India Radio and Dooradarshan will take steps to make and broadcast interesting programmes on the environment and pollution. The Attorney-General has said that five to seven minutes can be devoted to these programs each day on these radio/TV stations.

(4)    The University Grants Commission will take appropriate steps to require universities to prescribe a course on the environment. They should consider making this course a compulsory subject.

As far as education up to the college level, every State Government and every Education Board connected with education up to the matriculation stage, as well as intermediate colleges, is required to take steps to enforce compulsory education on the environment in a graded way.

Compliance is required for the next academic year.

The (sickly) green face of Indian education

Call it the apathy of the Indian media to environmental issues, blame an obsession with flamboyant trivia such as India’s rare cricket win over Australia, or view it as a measure of how much the media care about education: An important recent mandate by the Supreme Court to “green” curricula at all levels of education received barely any commentary, and only skimpy reports confined to obscure corners of national newspapers.

Tracing the history of the case that culminated in the December 18 court order may itself constitute an academic exercise of sorts. One would have to go all the way back to 1991 when the court responded favorably to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that M C Mehta - perhaps the world’s best-known environmental lawyer - had filed pleading the court to order education bodies to introduce environmental studies as a compulsory subject at all levels of Indian education.

Mehta had made the plea invoking clause (g) of article (51 A) of the constitution, “with a view to educating the people of India about their social obligation in matter of upkeep of the environment in proper shape and making them alive to their obligation not to act as polluting agencies or factors”. Headed Fundamental Duties, article (51 A) was incorporated into the Indian constitution through an amendment in 1976; its clause (g) “requires every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for all living creatures”.

In its order, delivered on November 22, 1991, the court had directed the central government, states, union territories and educational organizations responsible for prescribing syllabi to comply with its ruling by the academic year 1992-1993; it had also mandated commercial cinema halls to allow a minimum number of free slide shows on the theme of environmental protection and asked authorities to cancel the licenses of errant halls. However, in a not unusual display of government agencies’ indifference to environmental concerns - especially as expressed within the generally neglected realm of education - the directive was anything but honored.

So Mehta petitioned the court again on July 21, 2003, whereupon the court issued notices to the same state agencies, seeking their responses regarding the implementation of its 1991 order. The court failed to receive responses from all the parties within the stipulated time; so on September 22 it slapped a fine of Rs 15, 000 (US$329) each on the 10 defaulting states, which it also asked to file affidavits. Out of those 10 states, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana failed to oblige even thereafter; so on October 28 the court summoned their chief secretaries to answer “why contempt of court proceedings not be initiated against them for deliberately disobeying the court orders”. (About a month later, on November 25, the court also had to issue notices to Tamil Nadu regarding contradictions in its request for exemptions from filing the affidavit before the deadline; on December 9, the chief secretary apologized in that regard on behalf of that state).

On December 18, in resuming the hearing of Mehta’s PIL, the court ordered all of the same agencies to implement the same old directive: now from the 2004-2005 academic year. The situation now, however, is a little different: This time the court has taken it on itself to oversee the process directly, one of whose chief elements includes for it to approve the syllabi that the agencies are ordered to turn in by April 14.

The court’s order, though its own rehash with a fresh and mandatory urgency, has a wider context than has been acknowledged in the press. (Of course, as noted earlier, the Indian press has relegated this whole issue to insignificance, even at the level of news.) A number of factors actually point to the probability that the order at best extends and empowers the vapid and, in many ways, crudely technocratic Indian bureaucracy; at worst, it outclasses the bureaucracy in its lack of imagination and anti-democratic paternalism.

For one, it is ludicrous for the court to assume that the myriad agencies that have dishonored it for the past 12 years would now be excited about and capable of activating - genuinely teaching - the syllabi in classrooms once they are designed and introduced. Short of that, how is the court going to ensure anything significant in the sensitive area of education? The court’s own answer is of course increased and closer supervision: but is that the answer or a mere bureaucratic imitation - hence prolonging - of the larger bureaucracy called the government of India it has sought to rectify ?

The fact of the matter is that the Indian education system, a single but formidable component of the government, is an unwieldy bureaucracy still firmly rooted in the colonial past: Qualitatively it was the branch of British colonial government entrusted to breed clerks and petty officials to serve the Crown; administratively it was and continues to be highly centralized, even though India has a large number of universities, most of which are geographically divided into small colleges.

Anybody who has an Indian education is likely to agree that most of it is based on learning by rote and time-bound annual exams. In such a system, enlightened awareness and ethical consciousness of any kind are hard to impart, cultivate, and reward: Individual teachers have neither the authority nor the training to design their own syllabi or even exams. The exams, in most cases occurring only once at the end of the academic year, typically appear as question papers secretly designed by teachers discretely picked up by central committees; as for their delivery, students sit for three grueling hours to handwrite answers they are supposed to have imbibed along the year through memorization: to time-tested questions constituting the papers.

Contrary to what India’s educated class would like to believe (despite its often vocal internal complaints and skepticism): the mainstream Indian education system typically desensitizes and standardizes otherwise curious young minds - students and freshly appointed teachers alike. Complementing this counter-creativity machine are the numerous standardized competitive exams that high school and college graduates are expected to pass in order to become anybodies from bank clerks, railway executives and insurance officials to revenue collectors with state or central government. (The great Indian family hardly helps there as it steers its young members deeper into self-centered career games for the sake of pecuniary gains.)

By deliberately pushing the theme of environment into this soulless quagmire called Indian education, the court has paved the way for the stultification of any ecological consciousness that the Indian youngster may have inherited from custom and spiritual traditions. Worse, after going through the mandatory courses, the young and increasingly consumerist graduate might actually begin to believe that he knows a thing or two about the environment - more than, let’s say, the uneducated poor, the scheduled tribes, or the “ecosystem people” (a-la Madhav Gadgil and Ramchandra Guha). By virtue of that self-congratulatory myopia, he may in fact victimize India’s social ecology as well as himself. In a country that can boast of only 65.38 percent literacy, it is not difficult, especially for the quasi-urban college graduate, to consider himself smarter than the huge illiterate minority.

Here, it is difficult to resist thinking whether the court is not myopic itself: After all, it is the same court that not too long ago held activist and author Arundhati Roy guilty for a contemptibly flimsy charge of contempt of court, and which has quite a reputation for flaunting its own immunity from public criticism on the basis of the same arcane, feudalistic law traceable to the yester-century of British colonialism.

On that count, what is dreadful in the current legal instance is the way the court assumed the authority to verify and approve uniform courses on environment for such an ecologically, economically, linguistically and culturally diverse region as India. The court has sought that uniformity by directing the central agencies of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), the University Grants Commission and the All India Council of Technical Education to coordinate among themselves; but, again, those agencies are altogether too removed from the local geographical and classroom contexts within which the courses they would suggest would be taught.

For all that, those agencies are quite likely - in some sense obligated - to present a highly statist, government-of-India view of the environment and environmental problems: in which big dams, for example, may well be touted as ecological solutions rather than the gargantuan headaches they really are. Likewise, one could also expect biotechnology, bioengineering and other high-tech, capital-intensive knowledge and infrastructures to be showcased as progressive solutions to environmental damage. One could also expect a rather urban, middle class profile of the environment - in which pollution rather than development and displacement would hold the center stage of analysis. Unsurprisingly, the court has already suggested to the aforementioned three agencies to seek advice from the Central Pollution Control Board as they design the syllabi.

No less important, however, are the presumably non-environmental issues of academic freedom, on one hand, and political freedom on the other. What arrogates the court to decide what teachers must teach in their classes, to mandate a certain thematic not only for under-age school students but also for mature adults at college? As it is, the typical Indian school kid feels, and most certainly is, overburdened mainly because he or she must learn how to compress to three momentous hours everything that has been learnt over the course of one year. The overburdening has already been cited by the state of West Bengal and the NCERT as a reason for their erstwhile reluctance to follow the court’s original directives.

However, under the new pressure, the authorities have agreed to replace some of the previous readings with environmental themes. What that shows, though, is that the solution to India’s knowledge woes - including in the environmental sector - lies in a radical decentralization and localization of education, in its being made more intimate than exam-based: But the ultimate solution may actually reside in the removal of the government monopoly over academic certification at all levels.

Last but not least, it is quite a stretch for the court to suggest that the clause (g) - which “requires every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment ... and to have compassion for all living creatures” - also requires going through government sermons on the environment, or that it is extendable to commercial establishments such as cinema halls. The imprudence in that jurisprudence is echoed by an article by Shobita Punja, “Learning to Care for their World” (The Telegraph, Kolkata, December 3, 2003). Inspired by one of the hearings through this long legal battle, Punja argues: “On the same principle we really need to make a similar petition regarding the compulsory teaching of India’s composite heritage so that every child in this country (who is privileged enough to have gone to school) knows the fundamental duties of every Indian (51A). Here too it is the responsibility of every state government to inform and teach our children how - clause (e) and (f) - to promote harmony and the spirit of brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities and to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture”.

I have a hunch that Punja has drawn the right conclusions from the court’s verdict: It tells us to mistake state-sponsored nationalism for environmentalism.

Judicial decision on raising awareness for protection of environment: a case of India

M.C. Mehta v. Union of India

Supreme Court of India

Writ Petition (Civil) No. 860 of 1991

Before : Ranganath Misra, C.J.

G.N. Ray, J.

A.S. Anand, J.

Decided: 22 November 1991

Application by Advocate in the public interest ? relief claimed under Article 32 of Constitution ? fundamental duty of every citizen to protect and improve natural environment under Article 51A(g) of Constitution ? need for appropriate awareness among the people about what the law required ? application to Court to issue appropriate directions to cinema halls, radio and television, schools etc. for creating awareness of social obligation to protect environment.

The Petitioner was a practicing Advocate who has consistently taken an interest in matters relating to environment and pollution. He made application under Article 32 of the Constitution for the Court to issue appropriate directions to cinema halls to exhibit slides, and radio and television to broadcast programmes, containing information and message relating to the environment. He also asked that environment be made a compulsory subject in schools and colleges. The Petitioner made this application on the basis that Article 51A(g) of the Constitution imposed a fundamental duty on every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment. He argued that the people should be educated about their social obligations relating to the environment.

The Attorney-General, appearing for the Union of India, did not contest the case and agreed to cooperate to work out the procedure by which some of the Petitioner’s prayers could be granted.

Held:

(1)    No law can effectively work unless there is an element of acceptance by the people in society. In order that human conduct may be in accordance with the prescription of law, it is necessary that there should be appropriate awareness about what the law requires.

(2)    Following the population explosion over the last 50 years life has become competitive and age-old norms of good living are no longer followed. Against this backdrop if laws are to be enforced and the malaise of pollution kept under control, it is necessary that people be made aware of pollution and its consequences.

(3      Keeping the citizens informed is an obligation of the Government.

(4)    The Court therefore accepted in principle the prayers made by the Petitioner and expressed its satisfaction at the stand taken by the Attorney-General.

(5)    The Court issued the following directions:

That State Governments and Union Territories be directed to enforce as a condition of license to all cinema halls the free exhibition of at least two slides/messages on environment which were to be provided b the Ministry of Environment.

That the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting star producing short films on environment and pollution.

That All-India Radio and Doordarshan take steps to make and broadcast “interesting” programmes on environment.

That every State Government and Education Board take steps to enforce compulsory education on environment by the next academic year.

The Petitioner was given leave to apply to Court from time to time for further directions if necessary.

The Order of the Court is as follows: This application is in public interest and has been filed by a practicing advocate of this Court who has consistently been taking interest in matters relating to environment and pollution. The reliefs claimed in this application under Art. 32 of the Constitution are for issuing appropriate directions to cinema exhibition halls to exhibit slides containing information and messages on environment free of cost; directions for spread of information relating to environment in national and regional languages and for broadcast thereof on the All India Radio and exposure thereof on the television in regular and short term programmes with a view to educating the people of India about their social obligation in the matter of the upkeep of the environment in proper shape and making them alive to their obligation not to act as polluting agencies or factors. There is also a prayer that environment should be made a compulsory subject in schools and colleges in a graded system so that there would be a general growth of awareness. We had issued notice to the Union of India on the petition and the Central Government has immediately responded.

2.         Until 1972, general awareness of mankind to the importance of environment for the well-being of mankind had not been appropriately appreciated though over the years for more than a century there was a growing realisation that mankind had to live in tune with nature if life was to be peaceful, happy and satisfied. In the name of scientific development, man started distancing himself from Nature and even developed an urge to conquer nature. Our ancestors had known that nature was not subduable and therefore, had made it an obligation for man to surrender to nature and live in tune with it. Our Constitution underwent an amendment in 1976 by incorporating an Art. (51A) with the heading “Fundamental Duties”. C1. (g) thereof requires every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures. Soon after the international conference on environment the Water Pollution Control Act of 1974 came on the statute book; the Air Pollution Control Act came in 1981 and finally came the Environment Protection Act of 1986.

3.         Law is a regulator of human conduct as the professors of jurisprudence say, but no law can indeed effectively work unless there is an element of acceptance by the people in society. No law works out smoothly unless the interaction is voluntary. In order that human conduct may be in accordance with the prescription of law it is necessary that there should be appropriate awareness about what the law requires and there is an element of acceptance that the requirement of law is grounded upon a philosophy which should be followed. This would be possible only when steps are taken in an adequate measure to make people aware of the indispensable necessity of their conduct being oriented in accordance with the requirements of law.

4.         There has been an explosion of human population over the last 50 years. Life has become competitive. Sense of idealism in the living process has systematically eroded. As a consequence of this the age-old norms of good living are no longer followed. The anxiety to do good to the needy or for the society in general has died out, oblivious of the repercussions of one’s actions on society, everyone is prepared to do whatever is easy and convenient for his own purpose. In this backdrop if the laws are to be enforced and the malaise of pollution has to be kept under control and the environment has to be protected in an unpolluted state it is necessary that people are aware of the vice of pollution and its evil consequences.

5.         We are in a democratic polity where dissemination of information is the foundation of the system. Keeping the citizens informed is an obligation of the Government. It is equally the responsibility of society to adequately educate every component of it so that the social level is kept up. We, therefore, accept on principle the prayers made by the petitioner. We are happy to find that the learned Attorney-General who appeared for the Union of India has also appreciated the stand of the Petitioner and has even co-operated to work out the procedure by which some of the prayers could be granted.

6.         We dispose of this writ petition with the following directions:

         (1)    Respondents 1, 2 and 3 shall issue appropriate directions to the State Governments and Union Territories to invariably enforce as a condition of license of all cinema halls, touring cinemas and video parlours to exhibit free of cost at least two slides/messages on environment in each show undertaken by them. The Ministry of Environment should within two months from now come out with appropriate slide material which would be brief but efficiently carry the message home on various aspects of environment and pollution. This material should be circulated directly to the Collectors who are the licensing authorities for the cinema exhibition halls under the respective state laws for compliance without any further direction and helping the cinema halls and video parlours to comply with the requirements of our order. Failure to comply with our order should be treated as a ground for cancellation of the license by the appropriate authorities. The material for the slides should be such that it would at once be impressive, striking and leave an Impact on every one who sees the slide.

         (2)    The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Government of India should without delay start producing information films of short duration as is being done now on various aspects of environment and pollution bringing out the benefits for society on the environment being protected and the hazards involved in the environment being polluted. Mind catching aspects should be made the central theme of such short films. One such film should be shown, as far as practicable, in one show every day by the cinema halls and the Central Government and the State Governments are directed to ensure compliance of this condition from February 1, 1992.

         (3)    Realising the importance of the matter of environment and the necessity of protecting it in an unpolluted form as we had suggested to learned Attorney-General to have a dialogue with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting as to the manner the All-India Radio and Doordarshan can assist this process of education. We are happy to indicate that learned Attorney-General has told us that five to seven minutes can be devoted every day and there could be, once a week, a longer programme. We do not want to project an impression that we are authorities on the subject, but we would suggest to the programme controlling authorities of the Doordarshan and the All-India Radio to take proper steps to make interesting programmes and broad cast the same on the radio and exhibit the same on the television. The national network as also the State Doordarshan Centres should immediately take steps to implement this direction so that from February 1, 1992, regular compliance can be made.

         (4)    We accept on principle that through the medium of education awareness of the environment and its problems related to pollution should be taught as a compulsory subject. Learned Attorney-General pointed out to us that the Central Government is associated with education at the higher levels and the University Grants Commission can monitor only the under-graduate and post-graduate studies. The rest of it, according to him, is a State subject. He has agreed that the University Grants Commission will take appropriate steps immediately to give effect to what we have said, i.e., requiring the Universities to prescribe a course on environment. They would consider the feasibility of making this a compulsory subject at every level in college education. So far as education up to the college level is concerned, we would require every State Government and every Education Board connected with education up to the matriculation stage or even intermediate colleges to immediately take steps to enforce compulsory education on environment in a graded way. This should be so done that in the next academic year there would be compliance of this requirement.

7.      We have not considered it necessary to hear the State Government and the other interested groups as by now there is a general acceptance throughout the world as also in our country that protection of environment and keeping it free of pollution is an indispensable necessity for life to survive on earth. If that be the situation, every on must turn his immediate attention to the proper care to sustain environment in a decent way.

8.         We dispose of the matter with the aforesaid direction but give liberty to Mr. Mehta to apply to the Court from time to time for further directions, if necessary.

Note: Article 32(1) of the Indian Constitution reads as follows: “The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part is guaranteed. “ The “Part” referred to is Part III dealing with fundamental rights. Part IVA which contains Article 51A setting out the fundamental duties of every citizens was added to the Constitution in 1976. The Supreme Court has thus applied Article 32 (1) not only for the protection of fundamental rights but also for the enforcement of fundamental duties.

ENVIRONMENT EDUCATION UNIT

School curriculum will go green soon

The Karnataka State government will introduce environment education as part of curriculum in government and aided schools. As an initial step, a pilot project that started in 100 schools has just been completed. Monitoring and assessment of the programme will be conducted in February 2005 before being introduced from the next academic year. DSERT deputy director Gurumurthy told this website’s newspaper that the Supreme Court has stated that environment should be part and parcel of school curriculum.

The New Indian Express, Bangalore, 1supp, Nov. 11, 2004

Online edition of India’s National Newspaper

Friday, Dec 19, 2003

Supreme Court wants environment in school syllabus

By J. Venkatesan

New Delhi Dec. 18. The Supreme Court today directed all the States and educational agencies in the country to introduce environment as a compulsory subject in all classes in schools up to the higher secondary level from the academic year 2004-05.

A Bench, comprising Justice N. Santosh Hegde and Justice B.P. Singh, made it clear that all States must comply with and implement the apex court’s 1991 order providing for the inclusion of environment as a subject in school and college syllabi. It warned the States that contempt proceedings would be initiated if they failed or neglected to implement the steps proposed in their respective affidavits.

It directed the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to frame a model syllabus for the schools keeping in view the 1991 judgment and submit it before the court on or before April 14, 2004. The Bench said it would examine the same and if found suitable would recommend a uniform syllabus throughout the country. For the college level, it asked the University Grants Commission and the All-India Council for Technical Education to coordinate and bring out a uniform environment syllabus for the college-level course.

The Bench asked the NCERT to take the assistance of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in drafting the syllabus module for schools when the CPCB counsel, Vijay Panjwani, told the court that the Board was regularly publishing books, handbooks, reports and magazines on environment.

In 1991, the apex court asked the authorities to immediately take steps to enforce compulsory education on environment in a graded way from the academic year 1992-93.

Since this order was not implemented even after 12 years, the petitioner, M.C. Mehta, filed an application to ensure the implementation of the earlier order. Most of the States in their affidavits had stated that they had implemented the apex court’s order in one way or the other.

Maharashtra

Environment Education Slippage

Environmental education was mandated as a compulsory subject in all schools across the country by the Supreme Court of India in 1991 following the filing of a PIL (public interest litigation) by M.C. Mehta, India’s leading environmental lawyer and recipient of the Magsaysay and Goldman awards. However environmentalists, especially those concerned with education in the country, are voicing apprehensions that the apex court’s order is being shabbily implemented, if at all.

In 12,000 schools affiliated to the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education a 100 marks environmental studies (EVS) paper has been introduced in class IX for the academic year 2005-2006, starting June, in keeping with the SC order. The subject will be taught in class X in 2006-07 when students from class IX get promoted to class X next year.

According to Dr. Rashneh Pardiwala director of the Mumbai based NGO, Centre for Environment Research and Education (CERE) and former scientific advisor to the World Wild Life Fund for Nature (WWF) and Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR), this belated and lukewarm proposal of the state examination board side-steps the apex court’s order. “We have spoken to Mr. Mehta on the topic and together with him are going to continue our fight to set it right,” she says.

The original Supreme Court order, issued in 1991 mandated compulsory environment education to fulfill the fundamental duty of citizens to “protect and improve the natural environment,” as set out in the Constitution of India. In 2004, Mehta successfully re-petitioned the Supreme Court of India to enforce the 1991 court decision making environment studies a compulsory subject at all levels - primary and secondary - within the school system with separate time allocation. In his fight for effective environment education, Mehta has been consistently backed by CERE, which, through the data received from its on-going project ‘Documenting Successful Models of Environmental Education across India’ keeps him informed about implementation progress of the Supreme Court order across the country. According to Katy Rustom, a well-known Mumbai based environment activist, who co-promoted CERE with Pardiwala in 2001, environment education mandated by the apex court is currently “in a complete mess”. “School managements across the country don’t have a clue about what they are supposed to do and often take the easy option of dishing out perfunctory environment education to their students,” she expostulates.

In its 1991 order the Supreme Court had directed the central agencies of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), the University Grants Commission (UGC) as well as the All India Council for Technical Education to put their heads together to formulate a well-graded curriculum for schools and colleges. To this end NCERT took the assistance of NGOs, environmental educationists and other experts in the country and formulated an “action-oriented” curriculum. However, the state examination boards felt that it would be impossible to train their numerous teachers and therefore the subject should be taught through textbooks.

Explaining CERE’s stand, Pardiwala says: “Good environment education requires more than providing mere scientific data on global environment problems in textbooks. Children must be taught and equipped with practical skills to lead environmentally sustainable lives from early childhood so that as adults they will incorporate environmentally sound practices and habits in their daily lives. CERE will assist Mehta and ensure that whichever board or state does not address this subject seriously is taken to task for contempt of court.”

With the UN having declared the period 2005-14 as the Decade of Education for a Sustainable Future and with runaway consumerism threatening to suck the earth dry, the need for well designed syllabuses and curriculums to be implemented in letter and spirit by education institutions has become pressing. Educationists and school managements need to give this neglected subject the attention it deserves. The future of this nation as a hospitable habitation depends upon it.

The (sickly) Green Face of Indian Education

Call it the apathy of the Indian media to environmental issues, blame an obsession with flamboyant trivia such as India’s rare cricket win over Australia, or view it as a measure of how much the media care about education: An important recent mandate by the Supreme Court to “green” curricula at all levels of education received barely any commentary, and only skimpy reports confined to obscure corners of national newspapers.

Tracing the history of the case that culminated in the December 18 court order may itself constitute an academic exercise of sorts. One would have to go all the way back to 1991 when the court responded favorably to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that M C Mehta - perhaps the world’s best-known environmental lawyer - had filed pleading the court to order education bodies to introduce environmental studies as a compulsory subject at all levels of Indian education.

Mehta had made the plea invoking clause (g) of article (51 A) of the constitution, “with a view to educating the people of India about their social obligation in matter of upkeep of the environment in proper shape and making them alive to their obligation not to act as polluting agencies or factors”. Headed Fundamental Duties, article (51 A) was incorporated into the Indian constitution through an amendment in 1976; its clause (g) “requires every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for all living creatures”.

In its order, delivered on November 22, 1991, the court had directed the central government, states, union territories and educational organizations responsible for prescribing syllabi to comply with its ruling by the academic year 1992-1993; it had also mandated commercial cinema halls to allow a minimum number of free slide shows on the theme of environmental protection and asked authorities to cancel the licenses of errant halls. However, in a not unusual display of government agencies’ indifference to environmental concerns - especially as expressed within the generally neglected realm of education - the directive was anything but honored.

So Mehta petitioned the court again on July 21, 2003, whereupon the court issued notices to the same state agencies, seeking their responses regarding the implementation of its 1991 order. The court failed to receive responses from all the parties within the stipulated time; so on September 22 it slapped a fine of Rs 15, 000 (US$329) each on the 10 defaulting states, which it also asked to file affidavits. Out of those 10 states, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana failed to oblige even thereafter; so on October 28 the court summoned their chief secretaries to answer “why contempt of court proceedings not be initiated against them for deliberately disobeying the court orders”. (About a month later, on November 25, the court also had to issue notices to Tamil Nadu regarding contradictions in its request for exemptions from filing the affidavit before the deadline; on December 9, the chief secretary apologized in that regard on behalf of that state).

On December 18, in resuming the hearing of Mehta’s PIL, the court ordered all of the same agencies to implement the same old directive: now from the 2004-2005 academic year. The situation now, however, is a little different: This time the court has taken it on itself to oversee the process directly, one of whose chief elements includes for it to approve the syllabi that the agencies are ordered to turn in by April 14.

The court’s order, though its own rehash with a fresh and mandatory urgency, has a wider context than has been acknowledged in the press. (Of course, as noted earlier, the Indian press has relegated this whole issue to insignificance, even at the level of news.) A number of factors actually point to the probability that the order at best extends and empowers the vapid and, in many ways, crudely technocratic Indian bureaucracy; at worst, it outclasses the bureaucracy in its lack of imagination and anti-democratic paternalism.

 

For one, it is ludicrous for the court to assume that the myriad agencies that have dishonored it for the past 12 years would now be excited about and capable of activating - genuinely teaching - the syllabi in classrooms once they are designed and introduced. Short of that, how is the court going to ensure anything significant in the sensitive area of education? The court’s own answer is of course increased and closer supervision: but is that the answer or a mere bureaucratic imitation - hence prolonging - of the larger bureaucracy called the government of India it has sought to rectify?

 

The fact of the matter is that the Indian education system, a single but formidable component of the government, is an unwieldy bureaucracy still firmly rooted in the colonial past: Qualitatively it was the branch of British colonial government entrusted to breed clerks and petty officials to serve the Crown; administratively it was and continues to be highly centralized, even though India has a large number of universities, most of which are geographically divided into small colleges.

 

Anybody who has an Indian education is likely to agree that most of it is based on learning by rote and time-bound annual exams. In such a system, enlightened awareness and ethical consciousness of any kind are hard to impart, cultivate, and reward: Individual teachers have neither the authority nor the training to design their own syllabi or even exams. The exams, in most cases occurring only once at the end of the academic year, typically appear as question papers secretly designed by teachers discretely picked up by central committees; as for their delivery, students sit for three grueling hours to handwrite answers they are supposed to have imbibed along the year through memorization: to time-tested questions constituting the papers.

 

Contrary to what India’s educated class would like to believe (despite its often vocal internal complaints and skepticism): the mainstream Indian education system typically desensitizes and standardizes otherwise curious young minds - students and freshly appointed teachers alike. Complementing this counter-creativity machine are the numerous standardized competitive exams that high school and college graduates are expected to pass in order to become anybodies from bank clerks, railway executives and insurance officials to revenue collectors with state or central government. (The great Indian family hardly helps there as it steers its young members deeper into self-centered career games for the sake of pecuniary gains.)

 

By deliberately pushing the theme of environment into this soulless quagmire called Indian education, the court has paved the way for the stultification of any ecological consciousness that the Indian youngster may have inherited from custom and spiritual traditions. Worse, after going through the mandatory courses, the young and increasingly consumerist graduate might actually begin to believe that he knows a thing or two about the environment - more than, let’s say, the uneducated poor, the scheduled tribes, or the “ecosystem people” (a-la Madhav Gadgil and Ramchandra Guha). By virtue of that self-congratulatory myopia, he may in fact victimize India’s social ecology as well as himself. In a country that can boast of only 65.38 percent literacy, it is not difficult, especially for the quasi-urban college graduate, to consider himself smarter than the huge illiterate minority.

 

Here, it is difficult to resist thinking whether the court is not myopic itself: After all, it is the same court that not too long ago held activist and author Arundhati Roy guilty for a contemptibly flimsy charge of contempt of court, and which has quite a reputation for flaunting its own immunity from public criticism on the basis of the same arcane, feudalistic law traceable to the yester-century of British colonialism.

 

On that count, what is dreadful in the current legal instance is the way the court assumed the authority to verify and approve uniform courses on environment for such an ecologically, economically, linguistically and culturally diverse region as India. The court has sought that uniformity by directing the central agencies of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), the University Grants Commission and the All India Council of Technical Education to coordinate among themselves; but, again, those agencies are altogether too removed from the local geographical and classroom contexts within which the courses they would suggest would be taught.

 

For all that, those agencies are quite likely - in some sense obligated - to present a highly statist, government-of-India view of the environment and environmental problems: in which big dams, for example, may well be touted as ecological solutions rather than the gargantuan headaches they really are. Likewise, one could also expect biotechnology, bioengineering and other high-tech, capital-intensive knowledge and infrastructures to be showcased as progressive solutions to environmental damage. One could also expect a rather urban, middle class profile of the environment - in which pollution rather than development and displacement would hold the center stage of analysis. Unsurprisingly, the court has already suggested to the aforementioned three agencies to seek advice from the Central Pollution Control Board as they design the syllabi.

 

No less important, however, are the presumably non-environmental issues of academic freedom, on one hand, and political freedom on the other. What arrogates the court to decide what teachers must teach in their classes, to mandate a certain thematic not only for under-age school students but also for mature adults at college? As it is, the typical Indian school kid feels, and most certainly is, overburdened mainly because he or she must learn how to compress to three momentous hours everything that has been learnt over the course of one year. The overburdening has already been cited by the state of West Bengal and the NCERT as a reason for their erstwhile reluctance to follow the court’s original directives.

 

However, under the new pressure, the authorities have agreed to replace some of the previous readings with environmental themes. What that shows, though, is that the solution to India’s knowledge woes - including in the environmental sector - lies in a radical decentralization and localization of education, in its being made more intimate than exam-based: But the ultimate solution may actually reside in the removal of the government monopoly over academic certification at all levels.

 

Last but not least, it is quite a stretch for the court to suggest that the clause (g) - which “requires every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment ... and to have compassion for all living creatures” - also requires going through government sermons on the environment, or that it is extendable to commercial establishments such as cinema halls. The imprudence in that jurisprudence is echoed by an article by Shobita Punja, “Learning to Care for their World” (The Telegraph, Kolkata, December 3, 2003). Inspired by one of the hearings through this long legal battle, Punja argues: “On the same principle we really need to make a similar petition regarding the compulsory teaching of India’s composite heritage so that every child in this country (who is privileged enough to have gone to school) knows the fundamental duties of every Indian (51A). Here too it is the responsibility of every state government to inform and teach our children how - clause (e) and (f) - to promote harmony and the spirit of brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities and to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture”.

 

I have a hunch that Punja has drawn the right conclusions from the court’s verdict: It tells us to mistake state-sponsored nationalism for environmentalism.

 

SC Fines 10 States For Not Complying With Its Orders

23rd September, 2003

The Supreme Court fined 10 states for Rs 15,000 each for not responding to an apex court’s notice on a petition that said that these states have not complied with its 1991 order for introducing compulsory environmental education in schools and colleges.

 

A Bench of Justices N Santosh Hegde and B P Singh imposed the fine on the governments of Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh.

 

The bench gave four weeks time to these states to deposit the fine in the Registry and file their responses. The bench warned that if order were not complied with, the respective chief secretaries would be held responsible.

 

These states have not complied with the Supreme Court order that was issued about 12 years back. In a wide-ranging decision on November 22, 1991, the apex court had asked the University Grants Commission to prescribe a course on environment at the graduation and post-graduation level. Even Education Boards in all states were asked to introduce compulsory education on environment in a graded way up to the matriculation or even intermediate colleges.

 

“So far as education up to the college level is concerned, we would require every state government and every education board connected with education up to the matriculation or even intermediate colleges to immediately take steps to enforce compulsory education on environment in a graded way,” the apex court had said.

 

Environmental Education in India

I’d like to give you a basic idea of what education is in India. In India education is a free and fundamental right enshrined in the constitution for all children up to 14 years of age. Now that’s a very strong statement if you look at it from its purest sense. In reality there are many children who still have no access to schools and education. Legally speaking education is free and compulsory up to 14 years of age. And it’s in the constitution.

 

Under the national policy for education which was in 1986, the initially focus was making sure that children were getting admitted into schools. Government and NPOs just worked to admit students nonstop without following up as to what the rate of achievement was, how long they continued to stay in the schools, or what the drop out rate was. These things were never looked into. But now the focus is more on retention and achievement rather than on enrollment.

 

They also try to standardize education at different levels. For example the NCEIT (National Council for Education and Research in Training) is an institute that prepares school curriculums and textbooks for the whole country. This approach is a problem because you cannot have the same type of textbooks for the whole country in a country like India. There isn’t too much point in teaching children about the desert ecosystem when you have children staying in a subtropical ecosystem, and vise versa. So now NPOs are trying to play a role in helping such institutions develop curriculum, textbooks.

 

Basically education is free and compulsory and interventions are needed. There are institutions working to develop such textbooks and trying to integrate local environmental programs and issues into the school system.

 

In terms of higher education, just to give you an idea, there are 207 universities in India, which are the central universities, besides these, there are also state run universities. Universities are under what is called the Union Grants Commission, which takes care of each of this.

 

When we talk about environmental education, like in many parts of the world, environmental education is not a program of the education department. Countries like Australia have a much more specific focus approach. It’s a pioneer country in terms of environmental education, but in most Asian and South Asian and maybe even the larger Asian Pacific region, environmental education is still not with the ministry of education, but with the Ministry of the Environment or other related ministries. In India it is with the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Ministry of Human Resource Development. These are the two ministries, which are pushing environmental education despite the fact that they have nothing to do with education.

 

Talking about the legalities, interestingly, just last week, in India, the supreme court of India literally had to force the states of India to have environmental education up to grade 12. Unfortunately, the judgment to have universal environmental education was made in 1989. Till today, it is not being implemented. So last week, the Supreme Court in a libel action sued many of the states. The suit included monetary fines to answer why states are not doing anything about environmental education.

 

Unfortunately, environmental education is not a priority for education departments, or even teachers. For many teachers it is not a priority. It is an additional burden, an additional subject when teachers already don’t have enough time to cover the regular curriculum. For many teachers environmental education is a science related subject. They don’t realize that it is a subject that can be taught in humanities, art and in so many other ways.

 

So basically environmental education is like an orphan that is nobody’s child. And when I say environmental education is like an orphan, I think it’s even so in Japan. It’s like an orphan that no one wants to say, “I’m the father,” or “I’ll take care of it.” Everyone wants to show some charity so they look good in front of others. Everyone wants to be linked somehow in environmental education, but nobody wants to take full responsibility of it. For example the education department isn’t yet.

 

In other experiences in India we have looked at environmental education from a number of ways. One is formal, which achieved very little. Sometimes you have textbooks and you have everything ready, but teachers are not trained to be involving themselves in environmental education.

 

There is also non-formal education and also a lot of environmental education activities that are donor driven. They don’t have anything to do with the country’s national policy or state policy, and some which are policy driven.

We will focus more on the non-formal and policy and donor driven activities as we go along.

 

Who are we to teach?

When we talk of non-formal education and we try to see who we are trying to teach, we come face to face with people like these (see photo): People who are called “backward,” because they don’t wear Nike and jeans like we do. People who are called “underdeveloped” because they don’t have industries, cities and towns like we do. And maybe their level of hygiene isn’t as good as ours in terms of not having a flush toilet. But in terms of having full access to fresh air and water these are the people. In terms of indigenous knowledge systems, these are the people that we try to source from. We are talking of education and when trying to go to real people, and not just sit in a classroom and talk to a captive audience of school children saying, “You know children, this is water and this is sand and this is soil.” Trying to talk with people who are older than us in age. People that in everything they do is an issue of their survival. When we deal with such a diverse people, “Who are we to teach them?” This is a basic question we always ask ourselves first off before we even try to go into a program with them.

 


Stage-wise Syllabus for Environmental Education

 

Mission Statement

Creating a society of motivated citizens committed to conservation, preservation and protection of the environment and striving towards a life in perfect harmony with nature.

This mission could be achieved through nurturance of young minds by developing an awareness of and concern about the environment and its associated problems. In this process the learners will develop the requisite knowledge, skills, attitudes, motivation and commitment to work individually and collectively towards a better man-nature relationship.  The objectives could be realized through appropriately designed expected learning outcomes, content, activities and projects, teaching-learning strategies, and evaluation procedures separately for each stage of school education. The following basic assumptions were identified for all the stages of schooling.

 

Basic Assumptions

*        Environmental Education (EE) needs to be designed for all students regardless of their age, gender, and social, cultural and economic background.

*        All students need to achieve the necessary awareness, knowledge, skills and competencies as specified stage-wise and grade-wise.

*        All students need to be provided learning opportunities in the form of multiple experiences spread over the school years.

*        The content of EE will begin with the experiential background and immediate environment of the learner and extend itself to the global perspective in a graded manner.

*        Learners will internalize the concept of absolute human dependence on the environment and appreciate its value for survival of life.

*        Pedagogy of EE needs to be culture specific, and commensurate with the developmental stages of the learner.

*        Community involvement is integral to the process of teaching and learning of EE. School community mutuality needs to be established and strengthened.

*        Every teacher has to be a teacher of EE and will also act as a curriculum constructor.

*        Teacher education programmes, both pre-service and in-service, would have to be suitably reformulated.

*        Specific evaluation procedures need to be evolved.

*        Effective administrative and monitoring mechanisms need to be established.

 

Stage-wise Syllabus for Environmental Education

Primary Stage

Classes I-V

1.         Expected Learning Outcomes

The learner

*        recognises common objects, plants and animals in the immediate surroundings;

*        acquires skills of observation, collection of information, classification, description and self-expression concerning various phenomena of the environment;

*        observes simple rules of healthy living, safe storage of food and water and practises proper ways of waste disposal;

*        develops habits for protection of the self and surroundings;

*        expresses love for the environment through drawing, painting, dancing, singing, gardening, tree plantation and other activities;

*        takes care of and shows concern for all living beings;

*        develops attitudes desirable for conservation of environment; and

*        imbibes values like love for nature, respect for rights of animals, care of plants and other living beings and protection of the environment.

2.         Content

Classes I- II

In Classes I and II the entire transaction process is to be woven around the child’s immediate envrionment with the teacher being perceived as a curriculum constructor. The curriculum for EE for these classes will be transacted through language, mathematics and the Art of Healthy and Productive Living (AHPL).

I.          Child’s Environment

*        Child’s immediate environment (family and home, school and friends, animals, plants and objects)

*        Common animals, birds and plants in the local environment

*        Physical features of the local area like flora, fauna, landscape

II.      Environment and Child’s Needs

*        Need for food, water, shelter, play and recreation

*        Protection from accidents, sharp objects, fire and the like

III.     Cleanliness and Care of the Environment

*        Personal cleanliness and good habits

*        Keeping personal belongings neat and tidy

*        Keeping the surroundings clean (home, play area, classroom and school)

*        Taking care of plants and animals

Exemplar Activities

The activities given below are only suggestive and not exhaustive. Teachers may innovate and design activities suited to their own surroundings and the level and interest of children

*        Providing opportunities to observe beauty, symmetry, rhythm and variety in nature

*        Encouraging observation of plants, animals, objects, sites, situations, happenings and occurrences

*        Encouraging collection of different types of objects from the environment

*        Conducting nature walks

*        Narrating stories and real life incidents

*        Promoting use of charts, pictures, puzzles and cut-outs

*        Encouraging care of plants and animals

*        Encouraging participation in activities like clay modelling, paper cutting and folding

*        Involving children in drawing and painting objects and pictures

*        Helping children in taking care of self and maintaining cleanliness of surroundings

*        Organising dramas, role plays and simulations

*        Guiding children in developing proper healthy habits and strengthening these periodically through follow-up

*           Sharing children’s experiences through simple discussions

*           Conducting related to nature and environment games

*           Organising recitation of songs and poems

*           Organising visits to parks, orchards, farms, gardens, museums

Classes III-V

EE is a separate subject in these classes in the form of environmental studies. Greater focus would be needed to develop skills, proper habits and positive attitudes towards environment.

Exemplar Activities

The opportunities are only suggestive and not exhaustive. Teachers may innovate and design activities suitable to their own surroundings and the level and interest of children.

*        Providing experiences to observe beauty, symmetry, rhythm and variety in nature.

*        Encouraging observation of plants, animals, objects, sites, situations, happenings and occurrences.

*        Encouraging collection of different types of objects from the surroundings and their preservation.

*        Conducting activities for comparison and classification of objects based on their simple physical characteristics.

*        Conducting nature walks.

*        Narrating stories and real life incidents.

*        Promoting collection, preparation and use of charts, posters, pictures, puzzles and cut-outs.

Themes

Class III

Class IV

Class V

1.         The Environment:  

            Near and Far

*        Things around us -living and non-living

*        Living things plants and animals

*        Physical similarities and differences between human beings and animals

*        External body parts,

*        Physical features of the locality

*        The earth, the sun, the moon and the stars

*        Similarities and differences between living and non-living things

*        Parts of a plant and their functions - roots, stem, leaf, flower and seed

*        Main internal organs of the body - names and their recognition

*        Physical features of the locality - natural and man-made changes like roads, buildings, dams, canals, drains, markets, factories, boats, railways

*        Simple natural phenomena-day and night, thunder and lightning, rainbow

*        Meaning of the environment-living and non-living and interaction between them

*        Similarities and differences between plants and animals

*        Main internal organs (lungs, heart and stomach) of human body and their functions

*        Physical features of hills, plains, deserts, valleys

*        General features of people, plants and animals of these regions

*        Importance of plants and animals - land and water

*        Weather and climate (local), their effects on daily life

II.         Environment and Child’s Needs

            Food, Water and Air

*           Need for clean food, air and water

*           Different types of food

*           Sources of food and water

*           Need for variety of food items

*           Safe storage and ways of handling of food and water

*           Dependence on environment for food

*           Healthy combination of food items

*           Different types of food - body building, energy providing and protective (against diseases)

Shelter

Clothing

Functions and Festivals

Health and Hygiene

Transport and communication

III.        Core and Protection of the Environment

III.        Taking Care of the Surroundings

*        Shelters of other living beings (nests, caves, burrows, water bodies)

*        Qualities of a good shelter (house) for safe and healthy living (sunlight, ventilation and sanitation)

*        Need for clothes, types of clothes, keeping them clean

*        Celebrations in the school and community singing

*        Family functions and their importance

*        Various means of recreation at home-story books, games, radio, television

*        Need to take care of the different parts of the body

*        Proper habits for personal cleanliness and good health

*        Care of belongings and immediate surroundings (School, home and neighbourhood)

*        Means of transport in the locality

*        Modes of communication

*        Need for following safety rules at home, at the school and on the road

*        Natural resources air, water and soil

*        Factors responsible for contamination of air and water

*        Simple ways to minimize contamination of air and water

*        Keeping the surroundings clean avoiding spitting, littering, plucking leaves and flowers, scratching/defacing walls/tree trunks, throwing things into drains/water-bodies

*        Care of plants and animals including pets in the locality

*        Types of houses in relation to different climates

*        Materials used to construct houses

*        Sources of raw material for clothes (plants and animals)

*        Different types of clothes worn in various physical and cultural environments

*        Celebration of festivals and national days

*        Types of recreational activities in the locality _ fairs, games, folk dances, music, weekly markets, story books, games, radio, television, drama and puppetry

*        Different kinds of waste at home and in school

*        Effect of waste on surroundings-littering, flies, mosquitoes, rodents, foul smell

*        Proper ways of waste disposal at home, school and in the neighbourhood

*        Various modes of transport

*        Need for communication, its means and utility (post, telephone, newspaper, radio and television)

*        Traffic symbols, safety rules and need for following them

*        Acquaintance with natural resources forest, water, animals, food, energy and land

*        Need for preserving resources

*        Ways of saving food, water, fuel and electricity at home and at the school

*        Pollution of air, water, land and the factors responsible for this

*        Ways of minimizing pollution re-use and recycling of waste material

*        Local agencies responsible for waste disposal

*        Care of the old, the sick, young children and children with special needs

*        Need for taking care of public property

*        Local agencies involved in community services and their roles

*        Buildings in the locality - school, panchayat ghar, health centre, post office, railway station, police station. Need for their proper maintenance

*        Different types of fibers and their sources (plants, animals and man-made)

*        Various stages in making of fabrics

*        Celebration of important national and international days

*        Types of recreational activities in the locality - fairs, games, folk dances, music, weekly markets, story books, games, radio, television, drama and puppetry

*        Some common infectious diseases-common cold, flue, diarrhea

*        Precautions for maintaining proper health and protection against infectious diseases

*        First aid as a safety measure

*        Personnel responsible for community health and hygiene

*        Effect of advancement in transport and communication systems on environment and human life

*        Simple measures to be practiced to reduce pollution related to air, water and noise

*        Major natural resources need for their preservation and conservation

*        Renewable and non-renewable sources of energy

*        Interdependence of human beings, plants and animals

*        Deforestation and urbanization and their effect on the environment

*        Common ways of water conservation, water harvesting

*        Care of parks, gardens, orchards, ponds, wells, sanctuaries, museums and historical monuments

*        Simple safety measures in the event of fire, earthquake, flood

*        Organising picnics and visits to different places (local sites, museums, historical monuments, parks, orchards, farms, gardens) and following them up with discussions.

*        Encouraging care and adoption of plants and animals.

*        Encouraging participation in activities like clay modelling, making masks, puppetry, paper cutting and folding.

*        Involving children in drawing and painting objects and pictures.

*        Helping children in taking care of self and maintaining cleanliness.

*        Guiding children in developing proper healthy habits and strengthening them periodically through follow-up.

*        Sharing children’s experiences through simple discussions.

*        Helping children to maintain a garden or take care of plants at the school and at home.

*        Involving children in planting and taking care of trees.

*        Guiding observations regarding level of cleanliness of different sites and in labelling them as clean or dirty, hygienic or unhygienic and polluted or unpolluted.

*        Organising individual and group activities for maintaining cleanliness of school and classroom.

*        Promoting proper ways of waste disposal at home, at the school and in the neighbourhood.

*        Making use of dry leaves, flowers, waste materials and natural products in decoration of school and home.

*        Involving children in activities through eco-clubs, nature clubs, school health clubs and eco-corners.

*        Conducting nature and environment related games.

*        Organising recitation of songs and poems.

 

Teaching-Learning Strategies

At the primary stage strategies of teaching-learning EE would vary within different contexts and the teachers will have to select the most appropriate ones according to the needs of the learners. Some of the suggested strategies are given below:

*        Providing direct experiences through field visits and interactions.

*        Encouraging learners’ participation in joyful activities utilising local resources.

*        Providing opportunities for observation of natural phenomena and helping learners appreciate them.

*        Creating curiosity among learners through teacher demonstrations.

*        Helping learners acquire interpersonal and social skills through group activities.

*        Providing opportunities for hands-on-experiences to learners.

*        Encouraging learners to observe and experiment with their ideas.

*        Providing opportunities for observation, collection, classification, estimation and measurement.

*        Providing opportunities for drawing pictures, charts and maps.

4.         Evaluation

The focus in evaluation of EE at this stage would be on assessment of socio-emotional development and behavioural patterns (actions) of the learners besides their cognitive learning. Continuous and comprehensive evaluation using learners’ profiles and assigning them grades would be desirable. Periodical assessment may be utilized for diagnosis as well as for planning remedial measures. Evaluation practices would be informal in Classes I and II and both informal and formal in Classes III to V.

 

Multiple approaches and instruments can be used for monitoring and assessing desirable behavioural changes in learners. Teachers may select strategies from the following, or evolve their own, for assessing the progress of learners.

*        Observing learners while they are involved in activities individually or in groups

*        Maintaining learners’ profile

*        Assessing learners’ participation in co-scholastic and field activities

*        Using worksheets periodically

*        Assessing learners’ progress through opinion of teachers, peers, parents and community members Using group evaluation

*        Undertaking institutional evaluation

Upper Primary Stage



 

Classes VI-VIII

1.      Expected Learning Outcomes

The learner

*        understands facts and concepts concerning various aspects of the environment;

*        recognises dependence of human life on environment; identifies local and region specific environmental problems;

*        understands the role of individuals, society and the government in protection, preservation and conservation of environment;

*        develops awareness about rules, regulations and legal provisions for protection, preservation and conservation of the environment;

*        develops skills of observation, collection, comparison, classification, analysis and communication; makes judicious use of resources;

*        adopts proper ways for management and disposal of waste;

*        develops awareness, desirable skills and attitudes and appreciation for the protection, preservation and conservation of the environment and cultural heritage; and

*        imbibes values like love and respect for nature and its laws, respect for the rights of others including animals.

2.      Content

The content of EE will have to be further strengthened in its cognitive, affective and co- native components by providing additional inputs in the form of investigations, projects, co-scholastic activities and the like. This will facilitate development of necessary awareness, attitudes and skills for promoting positive participatory action.

Class VI

I.       Knowing the Environment

*        The environment - social and natural

*        Human dependence on the environment

*        Interdependence of plants and animals

II.      Natural Resources and their Utilizations

*        Natural resources - air, water, land (soil and minerals) and sunlight (energy); significance for growth, development and survival of all organisms

*        Utilizations of resources for developmental and social activities _ production of food, electricity and fuels, construction and other infrastructure

*        Overutilization of resources

III.     Waste Generation

*        Generation of waste and its sources

*        Types of waste - solid, liquid and gaseous

*        Hazards of waste accumulation

*        Waste, community health and sanitation.

IV.    Management of Waste

*        Waste and its disposal  solid waste (physical removal and dumping), liquid waste (drainage and sewer system) and gaseous waste (discharged directly into air)

*        Conditions for proper waste management  co-operation of individuals and community; proper functioning of governmental and local bodies

 

Exemplar Activities

The activities suggested below are neither exhaustive nor prescriptive. Teachers may design their own set of activities keeping in view the overall objectives of teaching and learning of EE at this stage. They will have to make use of local flora and fauna and the available resources and facilities and take cognizance of local environmental problems. The learners should be encouraged to initiate action on their own.

*        Guiding learners to identify various sources from which items of daily use are obtained and helping them to group these as :

         -  plants and animals

         -  soil, air and water

         -  fuels

         -  metals

         -  plastics

*        Organising visit to a nearby locality (market/colony/village pond) and guiding learners in collecting information about:

         -        prevailing sanitary conditions (littering or accumulation of garbage, absence or choking of drains)

         -        system for disposal of solid waste managed by the residents and civic agencies

         -        flies, mosquitoes and other insects, rodents and stray animals thriving on the accumulated garbage/stagnant water

This may be followed by organising discussions amongst learners on the sanitary conditions of the visited site and helping them infer possible Impact on the environmental conditions. Suggestions for improving the situation may also be invited.

*        Encouraging learners to motivate residents to use dustbins or garbage pits

*        Acquainting learners with various agencies responsible for maintaining civic facilities in the area and guiding them to seek their attention for maintaining cleanliness

*        Arranging visits to nearby river, pond, well or community water tap/hand pump and guiding learners to collect information about

         -  the extent of wastage of water

         -  possible sources of the contamination or pollution of water

         -  condition of cleanliness and drainage

 

This may be followed by organising discussions to initiate appropriate follow up action to improve the situation.

*        Encouraging learners to:

         -        check for leakage of taps at the school and at home and take appropriate measures to minimise wastage of water.

         -        switch off electric lights, fans, TV and other gadgets when not in use.

*        Organising debates/discussions/exhibitions/talks on environment issues in the school and encouraging learners to participate in them.

Class VII

I.       Environment and Natural Resources

*        Water - a precious resource; essential for life and life activities, a habitat of plants and animals (fresh and marine), sources of water (fresh and marine) _ rain, snow, ponds, wells, lakes, rivers and seas.

*        Air - atmosphere as reservoir of air; role of atmosphere _ a blanket for the earth, for maintaining humidity and temperature, a source of gases and medium for dispersal of gaseous wastes.

*        Soil - a medium for growth of plants, types of soil, habitat for organisms, facilitator for percolation and retention of water.

*        Forests - a habitat for plants and animals, an agent for percolation and retention of water; maintaining ground water level; prevention of soil erosion; maintaining air humidity; a source of firewood, timber, fruits, lac, resins and medicinal plants.

II.      Man and Environment

*        Response of living beings to changes in environment adaptation in plants and animals.

*        Modification of environment by human beings to protect themselves against changes and meet their needs.

*        Effect of human activities and population growth on agriculture, harnessing of energy, housing, industrial development and other areas of consumption and social activities (an elementary idea).

*        Consequences of human activities - stress on land use, water sources, energy and mineral resources; forests, ocean life; environmental degradation.

*        Role of individuals in maintaining peace, harmony and equity in nature; good neighbourly behaviour; use and misuse of common property resources.

 

Exemplar Activities

The activities suggested below are neither exhaustive nor prescriptive. Teachers may design their own set of activities keeping in view the overall objectives of teaching and learning of EE at this stage. They will have to make use of local flora and fauna and the available resources and facilities and take cognisance of local environmental problems. The learners should be encouraged to initiate action on their own.

 

*        Getting samples of soil collected from various places and guiding learners to study similarities and differences between them based on their physical characteristics.

*        Arranging visits to nearby localities and guiding learners to study the relation between the types of vegetation and the nature of soil.

*        Asking learners to collect samples of rainwater in the beginning and midway through a rain spell and helping them to compare the samples for impurities present there in.

*        Collecting information from different sources for two weeks (through newspapers, radio and television) about temperature, humidity and rainfall and guiding learners to study the pattern of change in respect of each parameter.

*        Helping the learners collect information from different sources (elders in the community, newspapers, television, Internet and official records) about the water bodies like ponds, wells, jhohars lost in the locality, village or region. Helping learners to find out the reasons (like silting, disuse, filling for reclamation of land). Organising discussions on the Impact of these changes on availability of water, vegetation, habitat and social life.

*        Involving learners in collecting information about changes in land use, availability of water, forests, livestock and mineral resources of the locality/village/region from different sources (elders in the community, newspapers, television, Internet and official records) and organsing discussions.

*        Asking learners to list the crops grown in their area and helping them to prepare a record about the sowing season, duration of maturity, sources and periodicity of irrigation and yield of each crop.

*        Asking learners to collect information about the prevalent methods of growing plants for forestry in the region.

*        Encouraging learners to plant trees in the school compound (or any other area) and to look after them (This may be introduced as a class/group activity as a part of van mahotsva programme wherever possible)

*        Organising visits to nearby localities to show how plantation prevents soil erosion

*        Guiding learners to identify and collect relevant information about commercial, industrial or social activities at the local level that may have an Impact on the environment; guiding them to disseminate the information through handouts and school bulletin board

*        Helping learners make collections of clippings of news items, features, photographs, posters, cartoons, advertisements or any other format about various issues of environment including community hygiene, sanitation and pollution; guiding them to collate and disseminate the information through charts, posters, collages, bulletin boards or any other mode

*        Organising co-scholastic activities like observance of world environment day and van mahotsava, eco-clubs, study tours, debates, exhibitions and quiz competitions, and encouraging learners to participate actively in them

Class VIII

I.       Balance in Nature

*        Eco-system interaction between living and non-living components, structure and function;

*        Energy flow through ecosystem (food chain, food webs); examples of terrestrial and marine food chains; and

*        Balance in nature importance of eco-system.

II.      Impact of Population on Environment

*        Impact of population growth on eco-system, human settlements, land distribution,

*        Stress due to population growth on common social facilities and civic services;

*        Increase in consumption, encroachment on monuments

III.     Harnessing Resources

*        Increase in consumption, encroachment on monuments

*        Sources of energy - renewable and non-renewable sources, availability and potential (Indian context);

*        Renewable sources - solar, wind, hydro-energy, ocean (tidal), biomass including bio wastes;

*        Non-renewable sources - coal, petroleum and its products, natural gas;

*        Agriculture and animal husbandry - Impact on environment;

*        Utilisation of resources for Industry - processing and production of goods; need for planning and management; adoption of efficient and environment friendly technologies; industrial waste management practices; and

*        Environmental concerns- regional and national.

IV.    Environmental Pollution — Cause and Effect

*        Emerging lifestyles in modern societies - overutilisation of resources; increasing consumption of energy (electricity and fuels), materials and facilities; synthetic materials — plastics, detergents, paints and refrigerants; advantages and disadvantages of using them.

*        Factors affecting environment - overexploitation of resources, population growth, industrialisation, use of synthetic materials.

*        Pollution of soil, air and water - sources, Impact on physical environment and all forms of life, control and preventive measures (modern and traditional):

*        Noise pollution sources, Impact and preventive measures.

*        Disasters - natural and man-made, major types and their causes, Impact on environment and human life.

*        Impact of environmental degradation on - natural habitats, living forms (endangered and extinct species) and domestic animals.

*        Impact of environmental pollution on human health - indoor and outdoor pollution, pollution related diseases (respiratory, dietary, physiological, genetic, psychological), occupational hazards and disorders (local examples).

*        Role of individuals, community and government in planning, decision-making, legislation and social action for prevention of pollution and improvement of environment.

 

Exemplar Activities

The activities suggested below are neither exhaustive nor prescriptive. Teachers may design their own set of activities keeping in view the overall objectives of teaching and learning of EE at this stage. They will have to make use of local flora and fauna and the available resources and facilities and take cognizance of local environmental problems. The learners should be encouraged to initiate action on their own.

*        Helping learners to collect samples of water from different available sources - potable water, drain water, water stagnant in pits, industrial or factory discharge; guiding them to compare their physical characteristics and presence of suspended impurities and living organisms.

*        Guiding learners to conduct surveys in nearby localities about number of trees, types of trees, the products and other benefits obtained from them.

*        Helping learners to observe and find out advantages and disadvantages of growing crops by transplantation and by sowing seeds.

*        Guiding learners in making plans for kitchen garden or school garden, identifying suitable plants/ trees, undertaking plantation and looking after them.

*        Helping learners in preparing a list of local cottage industries and in collecting information about the types of raw materials, modes of procurement and disposal of waste. This may be followed by organising discussions to infer the possible Impact of these activities on the environment.

*        Guiding learners to prepare charts depicting different types of food chains or food webs.

*        Organising visits to some of the sites like agricultural fields, factories, fairs, ponds, seacoast, tourist spots, garbage dumps in the locality and helping learners to record the prevailing environmental conditions.

*        Helping learners to identify commercial, social and cultural activities that may have a short term and/or long term Impact on environment; organising discussions to interpret the collected information to infer its Impact on the environment. The possible sources of information could be news items, features, photographs, posters, cartoons appearing in newspapers, magazines, journals or through questionnaires and personal interviews about one or more of the following :

         -        air, water, land and noise pollution;

         -        per capita availability/consumption of water, electricity and land;

         -        sources of potable water, water treatment plants, and wastage of water;

         -        quantity of solid, liquid, degradable, non-degradable waste of the city;

         -        methods of disposal of wastes - drainage systems, sewer treatment plant, industrial effluents;

         -        sources of electricity, losses during transmission and utilisation of electricity;

         -        sources of pollution of water bodies including oceans

         -        droughts, floods, cyclones, and their Impact on environment;

         -        environmental problems caused due to developmental activities such as construction of roads, buildings, large dams;

         -        poaching/hunting of wild animals, illegal trading of animals’ skin, paws, horns, ivory, cruelty toward animals;

         -        damage to forests by fires and diseases;

         -        deforestation, extinction of species especially that of wildlife;

         -        impact of overgrazing in a given area/region;

         -        programmes/projects related to protection and conservation of environment, success stories on these efforts;

         -        maintenance of wildlife parks, sanctuaries and forest reserves;

         -        rules, laws, legislations concerning environmental issues enacted by the government from time to time; and

         -        agencies engaged in tackling environmental problems.

 

Guiding learners in communicating their findings through appropriate modes (like posters, charts, collages, cartoons, handouts, letters, street plays, rallies, campaigns) to all concerned. Small individual or group reports will be prepared for discussions.

*        Providing opportunities to learners to participate in campaigns organised by different agencies like NGOs, welfare associations, media for drawing attention of the community and/or local authorities to improve environmental conditions

*        Organising co-scholastic activities like observance of the World Environment Day and van mahotsava, eco-clubs, study tours, debates, and quiz competitions and encouraging learners to participate in them

 

3.      Teaching-Learning Strategies

The teaching-learning strategies for EE at this stage are to be designed in keeping with the local environmental conditions, both natural and social. At the same time, it should also aim at helping learners to develop a global perspective of the environment and problems related to it. The most important parameter, however, to be considered while designing teaching learning situations would be to provide adequate emphasis on the development of positive attitude as well as love and respect for the environment. This implies that a conscious effort has to be made to provide enough opportunities to the learners to participate in a variety of activities.

In order to transact EE effectively at the upper primary stage, an appropriate combination of the following strategies may be adopted:

*        Focusing on mastery of basic skills by frequent drilis and repetition of relevant exercises

*        Creating and arranging situations for observation of natural phenomena

*        Organising demonstrations and involving learners in discussions

*        Providing opportunities to identify simple environment related problems and study them through surveys and projects

*        Helping learners to acquire interpersonal and social skills to accomplish tasks through group learning

*        Providing opportunities to learners to use their imagination and visualise their roles in attempting to find alternate solutions to environmental problems

*        Organising group activities and group discussions

*        Organizing activity based learning

*        Providing hands-on experience sessions

*        Providing opportunities to develop skills of communicating their perceptions and ideas in verbal, written and visual forms like pictures, cartoons, maps, charts

*        Organising field visits and field interaction followed by discussions

*        Utilising various types of resource materials, both in print and non-print, as well as expertise available in the community

 

4.      Evaluation

The assessment of learners’ achievement in EE would encompass all the three aspects of development, i.e., cognitive, affective and conative. Both process and product evaluation techniques will need to be used. These will help in ascertaining the growth patterns, identification of strengths and weaknesses as also in utilising systematic feedback for development of environment friendly habits, positive attitudes and desirable values amongst learners.

 

Continuous and comprehensive evaluation using learners profiles and assigning them grades would be desirable.

Proper records of learners’ progress would need to be maintained and their profiles, so developed, would be utilised for effecting improvement leading to desirable understanding and behavioural actions towards the environment.

 

A multi-pronged approach to evaluation meeting local needs would have to be evolved by the teachers in the context of EE. Multiple approaches and instruments can be used for monitoring and assessment of desirable behavioural changes in the learners. This could be accomplished by carefully observing the learners individually as well as in groups during participation in field activities, excursions, discussions, project work and co-scholastic activities. In addition, assessing learners’ progress by peers, parents, teachers and community members could also be undertaken. It would also be desirable to undertake institutional evaluation.

 


 

Secondary Stage

Classes IX-X

1.      Expected Learning Outcomes

The learner

*        understands eco-systems and their interrelations;

*        develops awareness about the utilisation, overexploitation of natural resources;

*        recognises the need for keeping pollution under control for maintaining quality of life;

*        develops ability to identify, analyse and reflect upon different environmental concerns;

*        acquires skills to collect, analyse and interpret data and information relating to environmental problems;

*        develops skills for effectively tackling problems related to the local environment;

*        adopts habits helps makes judicious utilisation of resources and materials for maintaining balance in nature;

*        acquires leadership qualities through participation in specifically designed activities;

*        develops love, affection, sensitivity and sense of responsibility towards all living beings;

*        participates in activities and programmes for protecting, preserving and conserving environment and its resources;

*        appreciates and respects legal provisions for protection of animals and plants; and

*        imbibes the essence of environmental values and ethics to live in harmony with nature.

 

2.      Content

The focus of EE will be on developing healthy attitudes and encouraging positive actions through activities, projects, field interactions and co-scholastic activities. Ability to establish cause-effect relationships would also be nurtured. This is the right stage for further strengthening value inculcation, habit formation, and development of commitment towards protecting the environment. The learners will acquire all the skills necessary for creative, productive and successful adult life.

 

Class IX

I.       Understanding Ecosystem

*        Types of ecosystem - forest, grassland, desert, aquatic, costal, marine

*        Interaction between biotic and abiotic factors in an eco-system

*        Energy flow and its importance, cycles of nutrients in terrestrial and aquatic (fresh water and marine) ecosystems, nature’s mechanism in maintaining balance

*        Destruction of ecosystem due to changing patterns of land use; factors responsible for this _ population growth, migration, industrialisation and urbanisation, dwelling units, transport; encroachment on water bodies, forests and agricultural land, shifting cultivation; facilities for tourism, pilgrimage, recreation and adventure; construction of large dams, mining and war

*        Impact of ecosystem destruction - loss of habitat, stress on resources

*        Conservation of ecosystem - alternative practices including indigenous conservation practices, planning for proper land use

*        Role of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in maintaining the quality of the environment

II.      Depletion of Resources

*        Natural resources -air, water, soil, metals, minerals, forests and fuels,

*        Causes of depletion of resources -over-use/irrational use, non-equitable distribution of resources, technological and industrial development, population growth

*        Impact of resource depletion - imbalance in nature, shortage of materials, struggle for existence; slackening of economic growth

*        Practices for conservation of resources - search for alternatives, promotion of renewable resources

III.     Waste Generation and Management

*        Sources of waste - domestic, industrial, agricultural, and commercial

*        Classification of waste - bio-degradable, non-biodegradable; toxic, non-toxic, bio-medical

*        Impact of waste accumulation - spoilage of landscape, pollution, health hazards, effect on terrestrial and aquatic (fresh water and marine ) life

*        Need for management of waste

*        Methods of safe disposal of waste - segregation, dumping, composting, drainage, treatment of effluents before discharge, incineration, use of scrubbers and electrostatic precipitators

*        Need for reducing, reusing and recycling waste

*        Legal provisions for handling and management of waste

IV. Environmental Values and Ethics

*        Human rights, fundamental duties and value education

*        Women and Child Welfare

 

Exemplar Activities

The activities suggested below are neither exhaustive nor prescriptive. Teachers may design their own set of activities keeping in view the overall objectives of teaching and learning of EE at this stage. They will have to make use of local flora and fauna and the available resources and facilities and take cognizance of local environmental problems. The learners should be encouraged to initiate action on their own.

 

Arranging visits to a few establishments in the locality like motor repair workshops, kilns, pottery making units, fish and vegetable markets, restaurants and dyeing units and helping learners to find out the types of waste and methods prevalent for its disposal; organising discussions on the information collected to suggest measures for improving the environmental conditions

*        Helping learners prepare reports on changing patterns of land use during the last five years in the village, city, region and state through collection of information from different sources about the area of the land utilised for:

         -        housing,

         -        markets, hospitals, schools and other facilities,

         -        construction of roads, and

         -        industries

*        Discussing the possibility of finding economical and environment friendly alternatives to deal with the scarcity of resources like fuels in the locality

*        Organizing visits of learners to nearby hospitals or health centres and helping them collect information about diseases caused due to the prevailing environmental conditions

*        Helping learners plan and execute awareness campaigns through community participation on major environmental problems at the local and/or national level like deforestation, energy conservation, air pollution due to automobiles and noise pollution

*        Encouraging learners to disseminate information through bulletin boards and school magazines, about the Impact of construction of large dams, natural disasters like floods, droughts or cyclones on ecosystem

*        Helping learners list different types of industries in the states and collect information about the types of raw materials used, modes of their procurement and disposal of wastes generated; organising discussions to classify these industries as polluting or environment friendly and suggesting possible ways of reducing pollution caused by these units

Class X

I.       Restoring Balance in Ecosystem

*        Need for adopting control measures to check spoilage of landscape

*        Need for conservation and management of water -integrated water shed management, recharging of ground water including rain water harvesting, development of appropriate technology

*        Conservation and management of forests, grasslands, and semi arid ecosystems

*        Conservation and management of ocean resources marine and coastal eco-systems, importance of coral reefs

*        Conservation and management of soil - alternate cropping, judicious use of inputs like water, fertilizers, pesticides; use of manure, bio-fertilizer and bio-pesticide; plantation and conservation of grasslands to check soil erosion; forest conservation including Joint Forest Management (JFM), afforestation including social forestry and agro-forestry

*        Measures to conserve wildlife - national parks, sanctuaries and bio-reserves; breeding programmes for endangered species; preventing poaching, hunting and bio-piracy; enforcement of legal provisions

*        Application of bio-technology

*        Public awareness programmes concerning conservation of water, soil, air, forests and other resources

*        Relevance of indigenous practices

*        Tribal culture and its linkages with forest resources and their conservation

II.      Pollution

*        Types of pollution - air, water (fresh and marine), soil, radiation and noise

*        Sources of pollution and major pollutants; oil spills

*        Effects of pollution on - environment, human health and other organisms

*        Abatement of pollution

III.     Issues of the Environment

*        Decline in forest, agricultural and marine productivity and its effect on economy

*        Resettlement and rehabilitation of people

*        Energy crisis - urban and rural sectors

*        Greenhouse effect and global warming

*        Climatic changes

*        Acid rain

*        Ozone layer depletion

*        Disaster-natural and manmade; disaster management and its mitigation

IV.    Striving for a Better Environment

*        Use of efficient and eco-friendly technology

*        Sustainable use of resources

*        Adoption of indigenous practices; sacred groves

         Consumer education - consumer rights, making correct choices while buying different items, food adulteration

*        Community participation for ecological restoration and conservation

*        Protection of wildlife; stopping of cruelty to animals

*        Enforcement of acts, laws and policies

*        Some success stories - use of CNG, Chipko Movement, water harvesting, Silent Valley and the like

Exemplar Activities

The activities suggested below are neither exhaustive nor prescriptive. Teachers may design their own set of activities keeping in view the overall objectives of teaching and learning of EE at this stage. They will have to make use of local flora and fauna and the available resources and facilities and take cognisance of local environmental problems. The learners should be encouraged to initiate action on their own.

*        Organising discussions and debates on issues of environment like pollution of air, water and soil, depletion of resources, disposal of plastics, and urbanization.

*        Guiding learners to collect data from owners/drivers of the private/commercial vehicles through interview-cum-discussion method and to prepare reports. The information may be sought about: 

         -        frequency of checking air pressure

         -        maintenance of vehicles

         -        types of horn fitted in the vehicle and frequency of their use

         -        frequency of checking the pollution level

         -        average driving hours per day

         -        state of drivers, personal health

*        Guiding learners to collect data from different households through interview-cum-discussion method and to discuss and suggest ways and means for saving electricity and fuels. The information may be collected on:

         -        types and quantity of fuel used per month in the kitchen

         -        amount of electricity used per month or the fuel used for generator or any other sources used for lighting

         -        amount of fuel used per month in car, motor cycle, scooter, tractor

         -        measures/steps taken for saving fuel and electricity

         -        Helping learners find out sources of pollution of water bodies in the locality and to determine the quality of water.

*        Guiding learners to make plans for beautification of school campus or a park in the locality, identify suitable plants and trees, undertake plantation and look after them. (This may be introduced as a class/group activity as a part of van mahotsva or eco-club programme.)

*        Organising visits to water treatment plants, sewage treatment plants or garbage dumping or vermi composting sites in the locality and helping learners study their working.

*        Guiding learners collect information about global environmental issues and problems and communicate their findings through appropriate modes (like posters, charts, collages, cartoons, handouts, letters, street plays, rallies, campaigns) to all concerned.

*        Organising eco-clubs and activities like debates, quizes, exhibitions, essay competitions on the themes related to environmental concerns and problems and guiding the learners to synthesize information gathered from books, journals, magazines and internet.

3.      Teaching-Learning Strategies

Teaching-learning needs to be so designed that it facilitates enhancement and concretisation of understanding, refinement of habits, attitudes, values and skills. Besides, linkages between theory and practice need to be strengthened. This would ensure learners’ proactive role in addressing environment related problems. The strategies may involve the following:

*        Providing opportunities for the application of the knowledge gained and the understanding acquired

*        Providing opportunities through simple projects for identifying environmental problems which catch their attention

*        Encouraging independent handling of projects and activities

*        Providing opportunities for critically analysing the data and information collected on environmental issues

*        Encouraging nature study using the case study approach

*        Involving learners in surveys pertaining to environment related problems/phenomena

*        Involving learners in community based environment improvement programmes

*        Arranging excursions and visits and preparing reports

*        Organising brainstorming sessions to identify areas of action

*        Encouraging self-learning through hands-on experiences

*        Utilising group activities for nurturing leadership qualities

 

4.      Evaluation

At this stage, evaluation in this area will be at par with that in other subject areas. A public examination like in other subjects at the end of class X will be conducted for EE, allocating marks/grades in proportion with other subjects. Evaluation of projects and activities will be carried out internally and grades awarded will be reflected in the co-scholastic activity report card.

 

Evaluation would be based on the assessment of learners’ performance, both in theory and practical assignments. Multiple criteria would be adopted for assessing learners’ progress. Performance in theory and practice would be assessed separately. Both formative and summative evaluation will be organised using school based continuous and comprehensive evaluation and the end-of-year assessment. Grading system will be used for recording the outcome of evaluation. Opportunities for improvement in grades would be inbuilt in the system. The features of evaluation would include:

*        Evaluation of cognitive learning outcomes through written tests

*        Evaluation of conative and affective aspects of learners by peers, teachers and the community could be undertaken through observation of their participation in individual and group activities, field interactions, projects and co-scholastic activities, and their involvement in community based projects

In addition, it would be desirable to undertake institutional evaluation.

 


 

Higher Secondary Stage

Classes XI-XII

(Academic Stream)

1.         Expected Learning Outcomes

The learner

*        develops an in-depth understanding of various environmental issues and concerns of national and global importance;

*        develops a balanced view of the relationship between environment and development;

         understands basic concepts related to sustainable development vis-a-vis improvement of quality of life;

*        develops a deeper concern for the environment and a sense of commitment and responsibility to take proactive action;

*        appreciates the variety in living organisms and recognises India as a mega- diversity nation;

*        appreciates the role of individual, community, national and international agencies in resolving environmental problems;

*        practises ways of bringing about qualitative improvement in the environment by assuming leadership role;

*           identifies self with one’s environment with a desire to personally contribute towards its improvement;

*        respects customs and traditions related to local conservation practices and accepts indigenous eco-friendly technologies;

*        develops skills to undertake and participate in investigative studies on various environmental issues; and

*        motivates others and participates in social and community activities in dealing with environmental problems.

 

2.         Content

The academic stream offers a variety of combinations of subjects to the learners drawn from languages, sciences, mathematics, social sciences and commerce. The content suggested for subjects like biology, chemistry and geography at this stage provides sufficient scope to the learners who opt to study these subjects to further strengthen their knowledge and understanding about various aspects of environment and its problems. The learners who opt to study commerce and other subjects of social sciences hardly get any opportunity to study about the environment and its problems. Therefore, it is desirable to introduce EE as a compulsory subject for all at this stage. EE as a compulsory subject will be taught in the first semester of each year of the higher secondary stage.

 

The content suggested for EE as a compulsory subject has been identified with the assumption that up to the secondary stage all subjects are compulsory. It is also presumed that learners entering the higher secondary stage would comprehend the concepts of environment and identify the Impact of human activities on the environment. They will be mature enough to effectively participate in formulation, planning and implementation of projects and investigative studies pertaining to environmental problems.

 

Class XI

I. Man and Environment

*        Dimensions of environment - physical, biological and social

*        Human being as a rational and social partner in environmental actions

*        Society and environment in India; Indian traditions, customs and culture - past and present

*        Population and environment

*        Impact of human activities on environment

*        Environmental problems of urban and rural areas

*        Natural resources and their depletion

*        Stress on civic amenities; supply of water and electricity, waste disposal, transport, health services

*        Vehicular emissions

*        Urbanisation - land use, housing, migrating and floating population

II.      Environment and Development

*        Economic and social needs - as basic considerations for development

*        Agriculture and industry as major sectors of development

*        Social factors affecting development - poverty, affluence, education, employment, child marriage and child labour; human health - HIV/AIDS, social, cultural and ethical values

*        Impact of development on environment - changing patterns of land use, land reclamation, deforestation, resource depletion, pollution and environmental degradation

*        Impact of liberalisation and globalisation on - agriculture and industries, dislocation of manpower and unemployment, implications for social harmony

*        Role of society in development and environment - public awareness through education, eco-clubs, population education programme, campaigns, public participation in decision-making

III.     Environmental Pollution and Global Issues

*        Air, water (fresh and marine), soil pollution - sources and consequences

*        Noise and radiation pollution - sources and consequences

*        Solid, liquid and gaseous pollutants

*        Handling of hazardous materials and processes; handling and management of hazardous wastes

*        Ozone layer depletion and its effect

*        Greenhouse effect; global warming and climatic changes and their effects on human society, agriculture, plants and animals

*        Pollution related diseases 

*        Disasters - natural (earthquakes, droughts, floods, cyclones, landslides) and man-made (technological and industrial); their Impact on the environment; prevention, control and mitigation

*        Strategies for reducing pollution and improving the environment

IV.       Energy

*        Changing global patterns of energy consumption - from ancient to modern times

*        Energy consumption as a measure of quality of life

*        Rising demand for energy, gap between demand and supply (Indian context)

*        Conventional energy sources - fossil fuels and firewood, potential (Indian context) and limitations of each source, methods of harnessing and environmental consequences of their use

*        Non-conventional energy sources - types of non-conventional sources (bio-mass, solar, wind, ocean, hydel, geothermal, nuclear), potential (Indian context) and limitations of each source, methods of harnessing and their environmental consequences, need to promote non-conventional energy sources

*        Conservation of energy sources - efficiency in production, transportation and utilisation of energy

*        Planning and management of energy; future sources of energy _ hydrogen, alcohol, fuel cells

*        Enhancing efficiency of the devices and optimising energy utilisation

Class XII

I.       Biodiversity

*        Concept and value of biodiversity

*        Types of biodiversity - species, eco and genetic

*        Balance in nature

*        Biodiversity for sustenance of mankind

*        Resource limitations

*        Ecological role of biodiversity

*        Interdependence between different species

*        India as a mega diversity nation

*        Economic potential of biodiversity

*        Loss of biodiversity - threatened, endangered and extinct species

*        Strategies for conservation of biodiversity - in situ and ex situ

*        Mitigating the people-wildlife conflict

II.      Environmental Management

*        Need for environmental management vis-a-vis development

*        Aspects of environmental management - ethical, economic, technological and social

*        Legal provisions for environmental management

Approaches for environmental management - economic policies, environmental indicators, setting of standards, information exchange and surveillance

III.     Sustainable Development

*        Concept of sustainable development

*        Concept of sustainable consumption

*        Need for sustainable development for improving the quality of life for the present and future

*        Challenges for sustainable development - social, political and economic considerations

*        Support base for sustainable development - political and administrative will, dynamic and flexible policies, appropriate technologies, comprehensive review and revision mechanism, humane approach

*        Development of skilled manpower

*        Role of individual and community

*        Role of national and international agencies (both governmental and non-governmental)

IV.    Sustainable Agriculture

*        Need for sustainable agriculture

*        Green revolution - Impact on environment

*        Importance of soil for crops

*        Irrigation systems, use of manure and fertilizers

*        Crop protection - major plant pests and diseases, measures for their control agrochemicals

*        Impact of agrochemicals on environment

*        Elements of sustainable agriculture - mixed farming, mixed cropping, crop rotation, biological and economic considerations, use of bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides, biological pest control, integrated pest management

*        Applications of biotechnology in crop improvement

*        Management of agricultural produce - storage, preservation, transportation and processing

 

Exemplar Projects and Activities

It is expected that students will undertake at least two projects or activities each year, one of which should be undertaken individually, and they will prepare a report in each case. Teachers may plan and design projects and activities depending upon the local situations, available resources and environmental issues of concern. The projects and activities given below are only suggestive and not prescriptive.

 

*        To study the changes that have taken place in the given land area of a city/village/locality/market during the last five years in respect of at least five parameters like number of houses, residents and families, food habits, number of household goods in a family, consumption of water, electricity and fuels including that for personal vehicles by a family, sources of noise (public address systems being used, television, radio and vehicles on the road), common facilities like number of schools, hospitals, shops, theatres, public convenience, public utilities, public transport; number of factories, industries and/or the facilities for production and processing of goods, loss of water bodies, types and quantity of wastes, their disposal and treatment facilities with a view to discussing the patterns of changes and Impact on the environment and quality of life. One specific project on these aspects may be to study the changes that have taken place in a given land area during the last five years in respect of the number of houses, residents and families and to prepare a report on their effects on civic amenities like availability of water, electricity and fuels; the drainage system, disposal of wastes including night soil.

*        To study the environmental profile of a town/locality/village in respect of population density, green cover, educational level of residents, social problems and sources of pollution and their effect on air, water and soil.

*        To improvise two models of greenhouses of similar dimensions made from low cost/no cost materials, to place them in the open under identical conditions and put some potted plants in one of them to note the temperature inside and outside of both the greenhouses every two hours from dawn to dusk for two weeks. To explain the reasons for the differences in temperature, if any, between the two green houses.

*        To collect data on monthly consumption of electricity and fuels from at least five families, any two commercial establishments and four public utilities in a given locality. To plan strategies for educating consumers to economise on the consumption of electricity and fuel by reducing their over-use, misuse and improper use.

*        To study, for a period of one month, the status of sanitary conditions and methods of waste disposal of a given locality vis-a- vis the role of Panchayat, Municipality or Corporation and to prepare an action plan for making the conditions more environment friendly.

*        To investigate the Impact of an industry or a large manufacturing unit on the local environment. The parameters could be land use, the ratio of the covered area and the open space, the raw materials used for production, inputs like electricity and water the types of waste generated and the modes of waste disposal, use of environment friendly and efficient technology, types of pollutants emitted or discharged, the average health status of the employees and residents in the area.

*        To study the Impact of changes in agricultural practices or animal husbandry including poultry, piggery, fishery and apiculture over a period of time on the local environment of a given locality or village. The components for analysis may include: types of crops, land area under cultivation, mechanisation, use of electricity, mode of irrigation and agrochemicals, agro-wastes and their disposal, types of animal breed and their feed, types of shelter and health care, methods of preservation and processing of products and animal wastes and their disposal. To suggest an action plan for modifying the prevailing practices so as to make them environment friendly and sustainable.

*        To collect samples of water from different sources and study their physical characteristics like turbidity, colour, odour; the measure of pH, the nature of suspended and dissolved impurities and pollutants, the presence of toxic materials like mercury, lead, arsenic, fluorine and the presence of living organisms. For testing the presence of toxic materials and living organisms the help of a local laboratory or institution may be taken, if available. To identify the most polluted sample of water and locate the sources of its pollution. To devise an action plan for mobilising public opinion for checking the pollution.

*        To study the practices followed in the region for storage, preservation, transportation and processing of perishable or non-perishable farm products and to assess the extent of their wastage due to faulty practices.

*        To study the status of an endangered species listed for the region by collecting information through different sources and observation, if possible and to assess the reasons for its diminishing number. Suggest ways and means to protect the species.

*        To prepare a status report on the prevalence of child labour in a given area through simple surveys on children engaged as domestic help and as workers in farms, commercial establishments and manufacturing units. The survey may be in respect of age group, education, wages, working hours, working conditions, safety in work place, health, handling hazardous materials and the like. Units dealing with hazardous materials and processes may be identified and an action plan for mobilising public opinion against the practice of child labour may be prepared.

*        To conduct a survey of plants and trees in the locality and collect information about their cultural, economic and medicinal values from the local people and the available literature. To prepare an action plan for the propagation of trees that are most valuable in terms of their cultural, economic and medicinal use.

*        To prepare a flow chart to show different steps involved in the supply of tap water from the source (river, bore well) to houses in the locality. To collect information from the concerned authorities about the quantity of water processed and the amount of energy required for the purpose at each stage. To compute the energy spent for supplying 1 kilolitre of water to the consumer. To plan and execute a campaign to educate the community members about the implications of wastage of water in terms of energy.

*        To make a list of raw materials used by the family for preparing different types of dishes. To identify the plants and animals and their parts from which each food material is obtained. Also to make a list of plants on which the animals in the list depend for their food. To name the processes, if any, in which action of microorganisms is made use of. To identify those plants and animals which are found in the locality. To prepare a report supported by diagrams/photographs/pictures/graphs to focus on the importance of biodiversity in providing food to human population.

 

3.         Teaching-learning Strategies

Teaching-learning of EE at the this stage would require a different perspective as compared to the teaching-learning of EE up to the secondary level. The focus of the expected learning outcomes would now be on developing a deeper understanding of the environmental phenomena and their ramifications at national and international levels besides developing the capacity to contribute meaningfully towards strengthening the process of sustainable development. In addition, development of attitude for striking a balance between an earnest desire for continuous improvement of the environment through promotion of efficient eco-friendly technologies and actions required for resolving national and international environmental issues. Learners at this level would also be expected to exhibit leadership qualities for promoting community participation in resolving the environmental issues. The teaching-learning strategies would, therefore, be geared to achieving these objectives, which may include the following components:

*        Providing opportunities for personally observing and analysing environmental issues related to sustainable development;

*        Providing opportunities for doing critical analysis of the issues and problems related to EE through group discussions and brain storming sessions and working out their plausible solutions

*        Undertaking case studies and surveys in the field of EE;

*        Conducting community-based projects to help learners identify environmental problems and their causes;

*        Providing opportunities for interaction at various fora for sharing of experiences about national and global perspectives of the environment;

*        Providing opportunities for conducting experiments and drawing conclusions with regard to environmental problems, and

*        Organising campaigns and drives with community participation

 

4.         Evaluation

At this stage, evaluation of EE will be at par with that in other subject areas. A public examination at the end of Class XII will be conducted for EE, allocating marks/grades in proportion with those in other subjects. Evaluation of projects and activities will be carried out internally and grades awarded will be reflected in the co-scholastic activity report card.

Evaluation of EE at this stage will have both the components-theory and practicum. The theory papers will pitch at developing a higher level of understanding, analysis, synthesis, critical examination of issues and providing logical arguments in favour of and against certain propositions. Situations calling for in-depth analysis and evaluation could be provided. The practical aspects could be assessed in a variety of ways through internal assessment of project work, case studies, surveys, participation in and drives for community mobilisation and the like. Proper records will need to be maintained on pre-determined criteria by involving peers, teachers and community members. Monitoring of such records will be done through assessment in terms of grades, advice and counselling for making further improvements. Rating by peers and teachers may also be utilised for assessing the learners’ behavioural changes in group activities and their individual accomplishments. Separate grade point averages will be desirable for both theory and practical aspects at the end of the year. Special importance will be given to innovative ideas and actions. The significant achievements could be shared and disseminated at local levels and beyond. Scope for self-evaluation could also find place in the total scheme of evaluation at this stage.

 


 

Higher Secondary Stage

Classes XI-XII

(Vocational Stream)

I.          Expected Learning Outcomes

The Learner

*        understands environment in its totality, the interrelationships in the living world and the complexity of the environmental problems

*        understands the types of occupational hazards and their causes

*        handles hazardous materials and processes in the work place in a safe and environment friendly manner

*        takes precautions for occupational safety and for maintaining safe work environment

*        assesses environmental problems and handles them effectively

*        understands the concepts of sustainable development

*        integrates issues of sustainability into a range of consumption and livelihood patterns

*        correlates the effect of various global environmental concerns

*        develops skills to undertake projects and activities concerning various environmental issues

*        adopts efficient modes and environment friendly technology for judicious use of resources

*        appreciates the relationship between environment and development

*        appreciates the potential of rural development programmes, agencies and models

*        initiates appropriate action to protect and improve the environment

*        imbibes values to live in harmony with nature and empathy for all life forms

 

2.      Content

Vocational education at the higher secondary stage prepares students for the world of work. Vocational courses are intended to help learners become more skilful, productive and efficient workers or technicians. It is important for every learner in the vocational stream to perceive and evaluate the Impact of his/her activities on the environment as a part of professional work. It is, therefore, essential that learners of vocational stream acquire attitudes and behaviours desirable for environmental improvement, safety management and sustainable development.

 

This stage is viewed as critical since it is the terminal stage of education for a large number of students who would be joining the world of work through self or wage employment. In view of this it is expected that learners at this stage would not only comprehend the concepts of environment and appreciate the need for environmental protection but also acquire skills and imbibe habits to effectively deal with environmental problems by taking necessary action at the workplace.

 

Class XI

I.       Man and Environment

*        Dimensions of environment - physical, biological and social

*        Human being as a rational and social partner in environmental actions

*        Society and environment in India; Indian traditions, customs and culture - past and present

*        Population and environment

*        Impact of human activities on environment

*        Environmental problems of urban and rural areas

*        Natural resources and their depletion

*        Stress on civic amenities; supply of water and electricity, waste disposal, transport, health services

*        Vehicular emissions

*        Urbanization - land use, housing, migrating and floating populations

II.      Environment and Development

*        Economic and social needs - as basic considerations for development

*        Agriculture and industry as major sectors of development

*        Social factors affecting development - poverty, affluence, education, employment, child marriage and child labour; human health - HIV/AIDS, social, cultural and ethical values

*        Impact of development on environment - changing pattern of land use, land reclamation, deforestation, resource depletion, pollution and environmental degradation

*        Impact of liberalization and globalisation on agriculture and industries, dislocation of manpower and unemployment, implications for social harmony

*        Role of society in development and environment - public awareness through education, eco-clubs, population education programme, campaigns, public participation in decision making

III.     Environmental Pollution and Global Issues

*        Air, water (fresh and marine), soil pollution - sources and consequences

*        Noise and radiation pollution - sources and consequences

*        Solid, liquid and gaseous pollutants

*        Handling of hazardous materials and processes; handling and management of hazardous wastes

*        Ozone layer depletion and its effect

*        Greenhouse effect; global warming and climatic changes and their effects on human society, agriculture, plants and animals

*        Pollution related diseases

*        Disasters - natural (earthquakes, droughts, floods, cyclones, landslides) and man-made (technological and industrial); their Impact on the environment; prevention, control and mitigation

*        Strategies for reducing pollution and improving the environment

IV.    Safe Work Environment and Occupational Hazards

*        Safe work environment - adequate light, ventilation, cleanliness, good house keeping

*        Safety awareness and management - safety precautions-home and work (laboratory, workshop, work site); safe handling of equipment and materials

*        Occupational safety-proper posture, safe design, safe operation and proper maintenance of machinery and work place

*        Occupational hazards-physical, chemical, mechanical, electrical, biological, radiational and psychological

*        Accidents and disasters (natural and man-made)- prevention, control and management and their mitigation

*        Major hazards in industries and occupations - fire, explosion, toxic release

*        First aid measures

*        Laws and regulations related to occupational health and safety

Class XII

I.       Environmental Actions

*        Meeting basic human needs - food, water, shelter and fuel for all

*        Population control

*        Changing consumption patterns

*        Prevention and control of environmental pollution

*        Waste management - reduce, re-use, recycle

*        Environmental protection and conservation - role of governmental agencies and international organisations

*        Legal provisions for environmental management - national and international

*        Community movements for ecological restoration and conservation of environment like Van Mahotsava, Chipko, Silent Valley, Project Tiger, Ganga Action Plan, Joint Forestry Management (JFM), students participation in tree rearing, social and agro-forestry

II.      Sustainable Development

*        Concept of sustainable development

*        Concept of sustainable consumption

*        Need for sustainable development for improving quality of life for the present and future

*        Challenges for sustainable development - social, political and economic considerations

*        Support base for sustainable development - political and administrative will, dynamic and flexible policies, appropriate technologies, comprehensive review and revision mechanism, humane approach

*           Development of skilled manpower

*        Role of individual and community

*        Role of national and international agencies (both governmental and non-governmental)

III.     Rural Development and Environment

*        Human and natural resources

*        Resource mapping

*        Health and sanitation

*        Rural infrastructure

*        Rural industrialization - agro based and other industries

*        Planning and management of rural development - role of panchayats, governmental agencies, Self Help Groups (SHGs), women empowerment, rural financing

*        Rural development models - Gandhian model, growth centre model, meta industrial village of solar age culture, watershed based models; case studies on land reforms and cooperative movements

IV.    Development Programmes and Appropriate Technology

*        Agriculture and allied sector

*        Harnessing water resources

*        Employment

*        Planning, management and implementation - role of governmental agencies like Council for Advancement of Peoples’ Action and Rural Technology (CAPART), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Social Welfare Board (SWB), National Dairy Development Board (NDDB)

*        Role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in developmental processes

*        Appropriate Technology - concept, meaning and scope (eco-friendly technologies), criterion and selection of appropriate technology (AT)

*        Examples of the application of appropriate technology - study of project profiles (land and water management, waste recycling, non-conventional energy - solar, wind, bio-based, housing, farm and non-farm sectors)

*        Environment friendly enterprises - concept and indicators

 

Exemplar Projects and Studies

It is expected that students will undertake at least two projects or activities each year one of which should be undertaken individually and they will prepare a report in each case. Teachers may plan and design projects and activities depending upon the local situations, available resources and environmental issues of concern. The projects and activities given below are only suggestive and not prescriptive.

 

To study the changes that have taken place in a given land area of a city/village//locality/market during the last five years in respect of at least five parameters like number of houses, residents and families, food habits, number of household goods in a family, consumption of water, electricity and fuels including that for personal vehicles by a family, sources of noise (public address systems being used, television, radio and vehicles on the road), common facilities like number of schools, hospitals, shops, theatres, public conveniences, public utilities, public transport; number of factories, industries and/or the facilities for production and processing of goods, loss of water bodies, types and quantity of wastes, their disposal and treatment facilities with a view to discussing the patterns of changes and Impact on the environment and quality of life. A specific project on these aspects may be

*        To study the changes that have taken place in a given land area during the last five years in respect of number of houses, residents and families and to prepare a report on their effects on civic amenities like availability of water, electricity and fuels; drainage system, disposal of wastes including night soil.

*        To study the environmental profile of a town/locality/village in respect of population density, green cover, educational level of residents, social problems and sources of pollution and their effect on air, water and soil.

*        To improvise two models of green houses of similar dimensions made from low cost/no cost materials. To place them in the open under identical conditions and put some potted plants in one of them. To note the temperatures inside and outside of both the green houses every two hours from dawn to dusk for two weeks. To explain the reasons for the difference in temperatures, if any, between the two green houses.

*        To study, for a period of one month, the status of sanitary conditions and methods of waste disposal of a given locality vis-a-vis the role of Panchayat, Municipality or Corporation and to prepare an action plan for making the conditions more environment friendly.

*        To investigate the Impact of an industry or a large manufacturing unit on the local environment. The parameters could be a land use, the ratio of covered area and the open space, the raw materials used for production, inputs like electricity, and water, types of waste generated and modes of waste disposal, the use of environment-friendly and efficient technology, types of pollutants emitted or discharged, the average health status of the employees and residents in the area.

*        To study the Impact of changes in agricultural practices or animal husbandry including poultry, piggery, fishery and apiculture over a period of time on the local environment of a given locality or village. The components for analysis may include: types of crops, land area under cultivation, mechanisation, use of electricity, mode of irrigation and agrochemicals, agro-wastes and their disposal, types of animal breed and their feed, types of shelter and health care, methods of preservation and processing of products, and animal wastes and their disposal. To suggest an action plan for modifying the prevailing practices so as to make them environment friendly and sustainable.

*        To collect samples of water from different sources and study their physical characteristics like turbidity, colour, odour the measure of pH, the nature of suspended and dissolved impurities and pollutants, the presence of toxic materials like mercury, lead, arsenic, fluorine and the presence of living organisms. For testing the presence of toxic materials and living organisms the help of a local laboratory or institution may be taken, if available. To identify the most polluted sample of water and to locate the sources of its pollution. To devise an action plan for mobilising public opinion for checking the pollution.

*        To study the practices followed in the region for storage, preservation, transportation and processing of perishable or non-perishable farm products and to assess the extent of their wastage due to faulty practices.

*        To prepare a status report on the prevalence of child labour in a given area through simple surveys on children engaged as domestic help and as workers in farms, commercial establishments and manufacturing units. The survey may be in respect of age group, education, wages, working hours, working conditions, safety in work place, health, handling hazardous materials and the like. Units dealing with hazardous materials and processes may be identified and an action plan for mobilising public opinion against the practice of child labour may be prepared.

*        To make a list of raw materials used by the family for preparing different types of dishes. To identify the plants and animals and their parts from which each food material is obtained. Also to make a list of plants on which the animals listed depend for their food. To name the processes, if any, in which action of microorganisms is made use of. To identify those plants and animals which are found in the locality. To prepare a report supported by diagrams/photographs/pictures/graphs to focus on the importance of biodiversity in providing food to human beings.

*        To conduct a survey through observations and interviews about the prevailing work environment of an establishment such as workshop, factory, manufacturing unit, hospital or any other related to a specific vocation and to prepare a report highlighting the presence or absence of the desirable environmental conditions.

*        To study through observation and interviews practices followed by the workers in handling hazardous chemicals or hazardous processes and to prepare an action plan suggesting to remedial measures.

*        To prepare a model action plan for generation of biogas and other useful products from biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes on the basis of data collected for a village or locality indicating environmental and economic benefits.

*        To study through observation and interviews the extent of adherence to the prescribed norms of safety in the manufacturing units and automobile workshops in the locality and to prepare a report thereon.

 

3.      Teaching-Learning Strategies

Teaching-learning of EE at this stage would require a different perspective as compared to the teaching-learning of EE up to the secondary level. The focus of the expected learning outcomes would now be on developing a deeper understanding of environmental phenomena and their ramifications at national and international levels, besides developing the capacity to contribute meaningfully towards the strengthening of the process of sustainable development. In addition, the development of an attitude for striking a balance between an earnest desire for continuous improvement of the environment through promotion of efficient eco-friendly technologies and the action required for resolving national and international environmental issues. Learners at this level would also be expected to exhibit leadership qualities for promoting community participation in resolving environmental issues. The teaching-learning strategies would, therefore, be geared to achieving these objectives, which may include the following components:

*        Providing opportunities for personally observing and analyzing environmental issues related to sustainable development;

*        Providing opportunities for doing critical analysis of the issues and problems related to EE through group discussions and brain storming sessions and working out their plausible solutions;

*        Undertaking case studies and surveys in the field of EE;

*        Conducting community-based projects to help learners identify environmental problems and their causes;

*        Providing opportunities for interaction at various forum for sharing of experiences about the national and global perspectives of environment;

*        Providing opportunities for conducting experiments and drawing conclusions with regard to environmental problems, and

*        Organizing campaigns and drives with community participation.

 

In addition, since vocational education prepares students for the world of work, the teaching-learning mechanism should also contribute to developing participatory skills, positive attitudes and values in the students and to tackle the multiple environmental challenges at work place and at home. For this purpose, more emphasis should be put on project work, field and industry visits, experimentation, activity-based learning, analysis, problem solving, etc. The use of information and communication technology, multi-media and audio-visual aids needs to be encouraged.

 

4.         Evaluation

Evaluation of Environmental Education at the higher secondary stage (Vocational Stream) will have both the components-theory and practicum. The theory papers will pitch at developing a higher level of understanding, analysis, synthesis, critical examination of issues and providing logical arguments in favour of and against certain propositions. Situations calling for in-depth analysis and evaluation could be provided. Group and institutional evaluation will also find a place.

 

The practical aspects could be assessed in a variety of ways through internal assessment of : laboratory work, workshop practice, project work, case studies, surveys, field projects/studies, participation and drives for community mobilization and the like. Students’ behaviour and performance during these activities will need to be assessed and recorded. These records should be used to provide feedback to students and to take remedial measures to bring necessary improvement in this learning. For practical work, cumulative grades will be awarded on the basis of this assessment during the term. No separate practical examination will be held at the end of the term.

 

For theory, the evaluation will be continuous and comprehensive consisting of both the internal assessment and the terminal examination. The continuous assessment of theory will be based on assignments and periodic tests. For the end-of-term examination there will be a written test in theory. Weightage to continuous evaluation and to the end-of-term assessment will be 50 : 50. Grades will be awarded to students accordingly.

 

Practical and theory grades will be shown separately. However, for giving cumulative grades, weightage to practical and theory will be 60 : 40 respectively.

 

5.         Management of Implementation

The implementation of the proposed curriculum and syllabi of EE needs to be considered in an all-inclusive manner. The syllabi, developed with the age, mental level and the local environmental context of the students in view, have a systematic and graded progression for ensuring continuity as well as opportunities for revisiting and practicing certain concepts following a spiral approach. Effective implementation of the proposed curriculum of EE will depend on:

 

*        a comprehensive understanding of the curriculum and syllabi for EE among all the stakeholders;

*        motivation and commitment for achieving the objectives of EE in larger social interest;

*        availability of relevant and useful materials, both for students and teachers;

*        effective pre-service and in _ service teacher education using face-to-face, distance and self-learning modes;

*        active and meaningful involvement of parents and community in general;

*        adequate and appropriate resource mobilisation and management;

*        meaningful networking among school, community, non-governmental organisations, media and government;

*        effective participatory monitoring;

*        regular renewal/updating of curriculum based on proper feedback and new frontline areas of knowledge; and

*        due recognition of the indigenous traditions and cultural practices related to the environment

 

The following deserve systematic consideration in the process.

 

Strategy

Availability of both human and material resources and their proper management would be crucial to achieving the goals of EE. The real spirit behind the introduction of EE as compulsory subject in schools has to be understood by the teachers. No separate set of teachers would be required to handle the subject. Every teacher would act as an EE teacher. The curricular materials already available in the system could be used for providing necessary content input as well as the desirable experiences to the learners. Besides, additional materials need to be developed for use at all levels in order to meet the additional requirements of the EE curriculum.

 

At the primary level, in Classes I and II, the children would be provided a close acquaintance with their immediate environment and appreciation for the sense of beauty in it will be developed in them. The content of language, mathematics and the Art of Healthy and Productive Living (AHPL) would be carefully woven around the children’s immediate environment. The AHPL would also provide for the participation of all children in the activities of their interest, giving due importance to local factors.

 

In Classes III-V also, language and mathematics will continue to have the children’s environment as their central concern. Besides, as at present, there would be a separate subject of EE. Children would now also learn how to respect their environment. Their teachers will help them understand how the environment contributes to their healthy development and what their duties towards their environment are. Attitudinal changes among children would be of paramount importance and this needs to be made possible through teachers’ love and care for the children, resourcefulness and skill in organising activities and providing the requisite local specific materials through community support. The AHPL would continue to reinforce this. Both individual and group activities including participation in various celebrations, fairs and festivals, plays and other cultural programmes, and social awareness programmes would constitute the most consequential feature of EE at this stage.

 

At the upper primary level, the syllabus of EE will have to be dealt with in an independent manner. The content will be mostly drawn from the subjects of science and technology and social sciences with proportionate organisation of time within the general timetable. Besides, the conceptual and logical understanding of environmental concerns, the practical aspects of observation, analysis, comparison and drawing of inferences would be attempted through opportunities for participation in various drives, undertaking and completing small projects, participation in plays, skits, fancy dress shows, debates, essay competitions and the like. For this, resources available in a cluster of schools may have to be pooled and utilized. Community support in general may be of great help at this stage. Due attention will have to be paid to the developmental exercises and the profile of each child has to be carefully maintained so that the positive aspect of development may be further promoted and the others be suitably controlled and corrected. Children would be helped gain self-confidence and general felicity. For all this, supplementary reading materials, activity guides, activity banks would need to be provided by teachers who will focus on the special features of the local environment, address local problems and suggest ways for their solution in a participatory mode.

 

At the secondary stage the concerns will have to be dealt with in two ways. First, the study of logical relationships, problems and consequences will constitute the transaction of EE for maintaining continuity on the one hand and generating awareness on the other. Secondly, children’s interest, creativity and skills will have to be nurtured through individual and group projects, organisation of activities by children and their attempts at finding solutions to their day-to-day problems. The teacher is expected to be only a guide and facilitator in these. The culture of working independently would result among learners in a greater sense of responsibility and ability to show empathy and concern towards the environment around them. Consideration and love for nature would be strengthened by this time. The criteria for ascertaining the level of achievement of the goal in EE would be focused in their actual performance and social and interpersonal conduct rather than the sole memorisation of facts, information, principles and statistics.

 

At the higher secondary stage, students under both the academic and the vocational streams would study EE as a compulsory subject comprising theory and practicum. This would be one paper as a part of the compulsory Foundation Course in the first semester of each year. The students now would show their competence in dealing with environmental issues independently and critically examine and appreciate the pros and cons of situations related to the environment in general. Their conduct would be obviously environment friendly that would successfully generate among others awareness about the environment. This would create some kind of proactive leadership in society. Special materials will have to be procured or/and developed to meet the requirements of the syllabus. The co-scholastic development of the learners will be distinctly evident through their general conduct in a big way.

 

Thus, while in the primary years, EE would focus on concrete experiences and active participation, in the upper primary classes it would emphasise habit formation and skills. At the secondary stage, students would learn through group activities and solve problems. At the higher secondary stage, they would grow into critical thinkers, willing partners in action and providers of community leadership in matters of environment related issues.

 

At all these stages appropriate forms and degrees of acknowledgment and appreciation for notable achievement of EE goals promise rich dividends. Schools and community would do well to reward high achievers in the field of EE.

 

Curriculum Load

The apprehension that the introduction of EE as a compulsory subject would result in added curriculum load is not quite real. At the primary stage environment already happens to occupy an independent place because in Classes I and II all that a child reads and learns is built around its immediate environment. In Classes III-V, environmental studies is an independent and compulsory subject.

 

At the upper primary and secondary stages, however, the number of subjects prescribed for study would increase by one when EE is included as a compulsory subject. But this inclusion does not add to the actual learning load.

 

Syllabus

Time allocation

Evaluation

Primary

*        In the existing syllabus for Classes I and II, teaching-learning of language, mathematics and AHPL is woven around the child’s immediate environ-ment, integrating environmental concerns.

*        For Classes III to V, EE exists as a separate subject under the name of Environmental Studies.

*        The proposed syllabus presents the same content laying greater focus on participation of learners in activities so as to develop skills, proper habits and positive attitudes.

Upper Primary

*        The EE contents included in science and technology and social science are largely retained.

*        In addition, emphasis has been given to activities and projects with the aim of developing skills, attitudes, habits and values in learners leading to positive environmental action.

Secondary

*        The EE contents included in ‘science and technology’ and ‘social science’, are largely retained with some realignment and readjustment.

*        Projects and activities find a prominent place in the new syllabus, with a view to developing skills, attitudes, habits and values leading to desired environmental action.

Higher Secondary

*        The contents covered upto the secondary stage have been reconsolidated and strengthened, with some new dimensions and correlations.

*        The time allocated at present will be utilized for transaction of the proposed syllabus. No additional time will be required.

*        60 periods in a year.

*        The time allocated for ‘science and technology’, ‘social science’ and co-scholastic activities will be proportionately redistributed.

*        60 periods in a year.

*        The time allocated for transaction of ‘science and technology’, ‘social science’ and co-scholastic activities will be proportionately redistributed.

*        45 periods during the first semester each in Classes XI and XII excluding the time needed for project work is recommended. This time may be drawn from the total time allocated for the General Foundation Courses and co-scholastic activities.

*        Internal evaluation will be carried out using grades.

*        Evaluation will be at par with that in other subject areas.

*        A public examination as per other subjects at the end of Class X will be conducted for EE, allocating marks/grades in proportion with other subjects.

*        Evaluation of projects and activities will be carried out internally and grades awarded will be reflected in the co-scholastic activity report card.

*        Evaluation will be at par with that in other subject areas.

*        A public examination as per other subjects at the end of Class XII will be conducted for EE, allocating marks/ grades in proportion with other subjects

*        Projects and activities will be evaluated internally and the grades awarded will be reflected in the mark sheet/result card issued by the boards.

 

The curriculum load Plan for Implementation: Time allocation and Implementation in the area of integrated social sciences from Class VI to X has been substantially reduced as per the National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE) 2000. In the place of three or four separate books for one subject, now the students have to read just one. Moreover, there will be stress on the transaction of syllabus through projects, activities, group work, group learning and the like. In view of this, the actual load on the student would not increase. This factor notwithstanding, effort will have to be made, during the next exercise of curriculum review, to carefully remove repetition, overlap and obsolescence in subjects like science/science and technology and social sciences. That will reduce the learners’ load further.

 

At the higher secondary level, since the subject is to be introduced in the form of one compulsory paper of the General Foundation Course in the first semester of each year, and since it is proposed to include projects and activities, the overall advantage to the learner will definitely outweigh any marginal increase in curriculum load.

 

Teacher Education

Teachers would have to play the pivotal role in total transaction of the EE curriculum. Consciousness about environment, conceptual clarity about environmental issues, attitudinal transformation and the practical ability to guide students would be the principal requirements of EE teachers at all levels of schooling. They are already familiar with certain routine transactional strategies in a formal, year-end examination set up. Now the proposed syllabi of EE would additionally necessitate laying of equal emphasis on the affective and conative domains of education besides working for the cognitive enrichment of their students. This would, in quite definite terms, generate a need for greater involvement of teacher educators in developing and teaching appropriate transaction strategies that would produce better, quicker and more enduring results.

 

Pre-service teacher education would urgently need an overall review for all the stages of schooling with a sharper focus on sensitisation and awareness building about the environment and the issues related to it and on the acquisition of competencies for organising the transaction of EE in consonance with the learners’ requirements. This will have to be a compulsory segment of all teacher education programmes at all levels because all teachers are supposed to be teaching EE at their respective levels. The NCERT could provide model syllabus in this area as well.

 

Specific programmes of in-service teacher education for generating awareness of various pedagogical issues associated with EE would have to be planned and implemented speedily. The entire infrastructure of teacher education including the state government run institutions and university departments of education will have to play an effective role in this.

In the process of reformulating in-service and pre-service teacher education programmes all their curricula and syllabi will have to be suitably changed. Experiences gained by the institutions and the outcome of surveys and studies conducted by state and national level institutions could be analysed to facilitate suitable revision of these curricula and syllabi at all levels.

 

The major thrust of teacher education programmes would have to be on:

*        a thorough and clear understanding of the Environment, the concept of EE and an appropriate pedagogy;

*        transformation of habits and attitudes that may present teachers as role models;

*        aptitude and skill of effective presentation, motivating and guiding students through various activities and projects;

*        understanding the community and winning its confidence to procure community support in EE related activities;

*        indepth understanding and discernment needed for producing resource materials for EE to be used by teachers, teacher educators and managers of curriculum implementation;

*        relevant elements pertaining to the content, processes and pedagogy of EE including the indigenous ones; and

*        skills of proper and effective monitoring of the implementation of EE in its totality.

It needs to be mentioned that the existing teacher education institutions have to be utilised for strengthening teacher education programmes as per the requirement of EE.

 

Monitoring

Translation of syllabi into the learning outcomes of children involves a large number of processes characterised by person-to-material and person-to-person interactions. All interpersonal interactions need to take place in an environment of mutual understanding, trust and sense of responsibility and, above all, a desire for achieving something good (health and happiness) for humanity and improvement of the surroundings. Success of any programme depends on its implementation in which monitoring of the planned activities and their execution plays a significant role in achieving the desired results. It applies to implementation of the syllabi of EE as well.

 

Monitoring provides an opportunity for improvement in planning, implementation, feedback strategies and evaluation procedures. Its coverage would include assessment of progress in development of materials, the availability and delivery systems, teacher preparation programmes, classroom processes, the co-scholastic activities, assessment of pupil performance and the like. It becomes all the more important to evolve strong monitoring mechanisms to achieve the desired results in terms of necessary awareness, knowledge, skills, habits, attitudes and values inculcated among the students following the proposed curriculum of EE at various stages of schooling.

 

The existing machinery of education will have to be made “environment conscious” and committed to realise the goals of the proposed EE syllabi. Roles and responsibilities would need to be delineated for personnel at different levels of educational administration. A clear awareness of the shift from mere cognitive understanding to acquisition of desirable behaviours reflected in practice may be emphasised. A system of participatory monitoring will need to be introduced from national to the grassroot level. The purpose of such monitoring would be entirely different from mere mechanical supervisory practices and would be focused on qualitative improvement.

 

It needs a special mention that the monitoring system would be particularly effective if it carries with it both positive and negative forms of incentive. Above all, timely and thoughtful recognition and appreciation and, if possible, even reward would go a long way to strengthen the implementation of the EE.

 

Networking

Since the EE syllabi will have to be implemented at all levels of schooling nationally, both linkages and networking among various educational and supportive systems and sub-systems will have to be strengthened. All state governments would need to constitute task forces for the purpose which would develop appropriate strategies for implementing the EE curricula and syllabi. Orientation programmes for all categories of personnel involved would have to be planned and organised. Development of teacher education curriculum and the materials needed for the purpose would assume a very high priority. Use of ICT and media, especially the electronic media, may be made in full to cover all teachers and teacher educators at all levels in all regions. The task forces would help the states decide the mode of transaction and evaluation of outcomes and monitoring of their execution.

 

Proper networking of institutions at the national level, such as, NCERT, NIEPA, NCTE, Ministry of Environment and forest and other related agencies will have to be done by specifically defining their roles and responsibilities. They will act as catalysts by way of providing guidelines, support materials and professional support for effective organisation of events and providing professional assistance upto the grassroot level. The NCERT in particular may provide model curriculum, curriculum guidelines and model instructional materials. The state level organisations may adopt these as per their requirements at their levels. The support of community and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will also be necessary in affecting the change.

 

Professional support for teachers and teacher educators will have to be strengthened with the help of Information and Communication Technology using video conferencing and multi-media packages, both for creating awareness and enhancing understanding of the environmental issues. The teacher education institutions will have to be galvanised to share responsibilities with regard to implementation of the EE syllabi.

 

Very active and meaningful support from the community will be central to the implementation of EE. Teachers or the school system in isolation will not be able to mobilise adequate resources required for creating any perceptible Impact of EE. Moreover, when it comes to including the indigenous cultural traditions and ethos in the over-all EE curriculum, the contribution of the local community emerges as a precious resource.

 

The role of a strong politico-administrative will is underlined for achieving the stated objectives which are to be realised through the existing human power available with the system. It is hoped that with concerted efforts made by the various government and non-governmental organisations, community in general, parents, teachers and media, particularly the electronic media, would create an environmentally awakened and proactive society.

 


 

Environmental Education in National Policy Documents

National Policy on Education 1986

(With Modification Undertaken in 1992)

Ministry of Human Resource Development

 

NATIONAL SYSTEM OF EDUCATION

The National System of Education will be based on a national curricular framework which contains a common core along with other components that are flexible. The common core will include the history of India’s freedom movement, the constitutional obligations and other content essential to nurture national identity. These elements will cut across subject areas and will be designed to promote values such as India’s common cultural heritage, egalitarianism, democracy and secularism, equality of the sexes, protection of the environment, removal of social barriers, observance of the small family norm and inculcation of the scientific temper. All educational programmes will be carried on in strict conformity with secular values. 

 

EDUCATION AND ENVIRONMENT

There is a paramount need to create a consciousness of the environment. It must permeate all ages and all sections of society, beginning with the child. Environmental consciousness should inform teaching in schools and colleges. This aspect will be integrated in the entire educational process.

 

NATIONAL CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK FOR SCHOOL EDUCATION - 2000

National Council of Educational Research and Training

Context and Concerns

Responding to the Impact of Globalisation

Education should be the catalyst for the desire to live together in their own society on the one hand, and the global village on the other through the teaching of universal values such as tolerance and human rights, the diversity of cultures, respect for others and for the environment by searching for the right balance between the society’s concerns and the integrity of the individual. 

 

Education for Value Development

Besides, curriculum in schools has to develop the key qualities like regularity and punctuality, cleanliness, self-control, industriousness, sense of duty, desire to serve, responsibility, enterprise, creativity, sensitivity to greater equality, fraternity democratic attitude and sense of obligation to environmental protection. 

 

Integrating Diverse Curricular Concerns

At a time when concerns such as ‘literacy’, ‘family system’, ‘neighbourhood education’, ‘environmental education’, ‘consumer education’, ‘tourism education’, ‘AIDS education’, ‘human rights education’, ‘legal literacy’, ‘peace education’, ‘population education’, ‘migration education’, ‘global education’ and ‘safety education’ are making a case for separate place in the school curriculum, the best approach would be to integrate these ideas and concepts, after a careful analysis in the existing areas of learning. Appropriate strategies for this integration may be suitably worked out in the detailed subject curricula. 

 

Relating Education to World of Work

Many skills can be taught through services which benefit the community as a whole, bringing the school close to its environs and helping the students become aware of their commitments to the school and the community. Cooperative activities can promote friendships, communal harmony and empathy for others.

All vocational education programmes and activities must stress the concept of sustainable development with a focus on fostering the awareness of the key environmental concerns and the rights of all to a decent standard of living. 

 

Toward a Frontline Curriculum

Some of the learning areas that would deserve inclusion in this Frontline Curriculum right now could be the latest developments in communication system, space technology, biotechnology, genetic engineering, recent health issues, energy and environment, world geography, multinationals, archaeological findings and the like. 

 

Organisation of Curriculum at Elementary and Secondary Stages

Common Core Components

The Fundamental Duties as laid down in Article 51A of Part IVA of the Indian Constitution, also have to be included in the core components. These are to: protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, wildlife and to have compassion for the living creatures; 

 

Toward an Indigenous Curriculum

Adequate attention shall have to be paid to the country’s cultural plurality and the enormous amount of wisdom and experience that can be drawn from the various regions and sections of the Indian society. It may also mean making judicious use of and drawing from traditional knowledge systems and solutions to issues of health, water management, population explosion etc. At a time when there is worldwide recognition and patenting of items like neem and turmeric, this kind of information must become an integral component of learners’ knowledge. 

 

General Objectives of Education

*        understanding of the environment in its totality both natural and social, and their interactive processes, the environmental problems and the ways and means to preserve the environment; 

*        knowledge, attitude and habits necessary for keeping physically and mentally fit and strong in perfect harmony with the earth, water, air, fire and the sky; 

*        appreciation of the various consequences of large families and over population and need for checking population growth; 

 

Scheme of Studies

A.        Classes I and II

(a)       One Language - the mother tongue/the regional language

(b)       Mathematics

(c)        Art of Healthy and Productive Living

Experiences to be provided in areas (a) and (b) will constitute an integrated whole taking into its fold, the natural and the man-made environment. Teaching and learning of language and mathematics would be woven around the environment of the learners and integrate environmental concerns as well. 

B.        Classes III to V

(a)       One language - the mother tongue/the regional language

(b)       Mathematics

(c)        Environmental Studies

(d)       Art of Healthy and Productive Living

Children will be provided with experiences to help their socio-emotional and cultural development with a realistic awareness and perception of the phenomena occurring in the environment. This may be accomplished by emphasising, observation, classification, comparison and drawing of inferences through activities conducted within and outside the classroom. 

 

Science and Technology

Primary Stage

Science forms an integral part of learning at the primary stage. Essentially it has to be learnt mainly through concrete situations related to immediate environment during the first two years. The focus would be on sharpening senses of the learners and encouraging them to discover, observe and explore their environment and surroundings. This will lead to enrichment of the experiences, mostly on their own and supplemented occasionally by the teacher. The experiences and activities can be gradually structured during the remaining three years of primary education where environmental studies is to introduced. The focus would, however, remain on objects, events, natural phenomena and learner’s environment. Children would continue to learn to observe, explore and identify occurrences in their environment.

 

Upper Primary Stage

The environment should continue to be a major source of the learning and the students should try to understand the changes taking place all around. They would also gain an understanding of living world, balance of nature and the role of air, water and energy. Due emphasis should be given to conservation of natural resources. ...They can also be made aware of some of the local and global concerns and need to be constantly aware of these particularly in areas like drinking water, environment, health, nutrition and family welfare and others. 

 

Secondary Stage

Science, technology, society and environment would coalesce in teaching and learning of science at this stage. Teachers could help the learners devise appropriate experimentation and activities within the school and also outside school involving immediate environment such as farming, factories, industries and community.

 

Social Sciences

The component of social sciences is integral to the total quantum of general education upto secondary stage helps the learners in understanding the human environment in its totality and developing a broader perspective and an empirical, reasonable, and humane outlook. 

Food security, population growth, poverty, water scarcity, climatic changes and cultural preservation are some of the major issues of the twenty-first century, which have relevance for the social sciences curriculum. As such ‘Environment, resources and sustainable development’ and ‘man-environment interaction’ would be drawing their content mainly from geography, economics, sociology and other related areas.

 

Primary Stage

In Classes I and II, children are introduced to the environment in its totality. No clear cut distinction between natural and social environment has to be made. Its content will be drawn from the immediate environment of the child.

 

In Classes III to V, the natural and social elements of environment may be introduced under a separate area of study called Environmental Studies. Starting from the surroundings of the children - home, school and neighbourhood, they may be familiarised with their state and country in a gradual manner. Stories and narratives concerning their everyday life - food, clothes, houses, fairs and festivals, and the changes taking place in their surroundings will make the curriculum relevant and enjoyable for the young learners. 

 

Upper Primary Stage

The components of environment and their interaction will be studied in terms of processes and patterns.

 

Secondary Stage

Contemporary India may be the focal theme. It may include the processes and patterns of man-environment interaction and the issues related to environment, its resources, and development.

 

Art of Healthy and Productive Living - Primary Stage

Classes I and II

Teachers will have to develop activities keeping in mind local environment, cultural background of children and available resources.

Organisation of Curriculum at Higher Secondary Stage

Academic Stream

            i)          Scheme of Studies

            ii)         Elective Courses

some new potential subjects of study have also emerged. These include computer science, bio-technology, genomics, yoga and environmental education, for example. 

 

Vocational Stream

Scheme of Studies

(ii)        General Foundation Course

Addressing environmental issues at the grassroot level is necessary for sustainable development. Therefore, the students of vocational education, who are expected to enter the world of work at an early age, have to be made aware of the concerns and issues related to environmental conservation and development.

 

Environmental awareness education - Supreme Court directions dt. 22.11.1991, directing the States and other authorities to create environmental awareness among the students through the medium of education ordered to be strictly implemented under the supervision of the state authorities - The agencies (NCERT) also directed to prepare a module syllabus to be taught at different grades providing for environmental awareness.

Citation: 2003 SOL Case No. 865

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Before:- N. Santosh Hegde and B.P. Singh, JJ.

Interlocutory Application No. 1 in Writ Petition (C) No. 860 of 1991. D/d. 18.12.2003

M.C. Mehta - Petitioner

Versus

Union of India & Ors. - Respondents

For the Appearing Parties:- C.S. Vaidyanathan, Sarup Singh, Sr. Adv., (Addl. Adv. General for Punjab) P.P. Mahotra, Sr. Advs., P.N. Ramalingam, V. Balaji, S. Wasim A. Qadri, Mrs. Anil Katiyar, Neeraj Kumar Jain, Bharat Singh, Ms. Kavita Wadia, T.V. Ratnam, Ms. Hemantika Wahi, Ms. Archna, Ms. V. Hazarika, Ms. Madhu Sharma, Ms. Sunit Hazarika, Kuldip Singh, R.S. Suri, Tara Chandra Sharma, Ms. Neelam Sharma, Gourab K. Banerjee, Saurav Agrawal, Ms. Ruby Singh Ahuja, Chaya Badrinath Babu, R.P. Goal, Anurag Sharma, Ms. Indu Malhotra, Jaideep Bedi, Ms. Ruchi Khurana, Kumar Rajesh Singh, Ms. Sunita R. Singh, B.B. Singh, Vineet Sinha, J.S. Attri, Sakesh Kumar, Satish K. Agnihotri, R.K. Rathore, Addl. Adv. Gen. Punjab, V.G. Pragasam, Vipul Maheshwari, P.K. Chakravarti, D. Stephen K. Yanthan, Ms. Krishna Sarma, Ms. Asha G. Nair, R.K. Singh, Ms. Deepa Rai, Ms. Hema Gupta, A. Mariarputham, Ms. Aruna Mathur, Y.P. Mahajan, R.K. Rathore, D.S. Mahra, J.S. Attri, Ms. A. Subhashini, Sapam Biswajit, K.N. Nobin Singh, Anil Shrivastava, Janarajan Das, Swetaketu Mishra, Ms. Moushumi Gahlot, Wasim Quadri, Kamlendra Mishra, Rajeev Kumar Dubey, Ravindra K. Adsure, Avtar Singh Rawat, Addl. Adv. General for State of Uttranchal, Jatinder K. Bhatia, Ms. Rachna Srivastava, Prakash Shrivastava, Ms. Sushma Suri, Mukesh K. Giri, Ashok Mathur, Ms. Kamini Jaiswal, Anis Suhrawardy, Pradyot Kumar Chakravarty, Gopal Singh, K.V. Mohan, Sanjay R. Hegde, Rameshwar Prasad Goyal, Ranjan Mukherjee and K.R. Sasiprabhu, Advocates.

Environmental awareness education - Supreme Court directions dt. 22.11.1991, directing the States and other authorities to create environmental awareness among the students through the medium of education ordered to be strictly implemented under the supervision of the state authorities - The agencies (NCERT) also directed to prepare a module syllabus to be taught at different grades providing for environmental awareness.

 

JUDGMENT

1.      N. Santosh Hegde, J. - All the respondents have filed their response indicating the steps taken by them in implementing the orders of this Court.

2.      Shri M.C. Mehta, Petitioner-in-person requested the Court to first consider the steps taken by the respondents-States in regard to the 4th direction issued by this Court as per its order dated 22nd November, 1991 and consider other directions separately on any other subsequent date.

3.      The direction No. 4 issued by this Court reads thus: “We accept on principle that through the medium of education awareness of the environment and its problems related to pollution should be taught as a compulsory subject. Learned Attorney General pointed out to us that the Central Government is associated with education at the higher levels and University Grants Commission can monitor only the under graduate and post graduate studies. The rest of it, according to him, is a state subject. He has agreed that the University Grants Commission will take appropriate steps immediately to give effect to what we have said, i.e. requiring the Universities to prescribe a course on environment. They would consider the feasibility of making this a compulsory subject at every level in college education. So far as education upto the college level is concerned, we would require every State Government and every Education Board connected with education upto the matriculation stage or even intermediate college to immediately take steps to enforce compulsory education on environment in a graded way. This should be so done that in the next academic year there would be compliance with this requirement.”

4.      It is seen that as per this direction this Court has directed the respondents-States and other authorities to create environmental awareness amongst the students through the medium of education. Accepting the suggestion made by the then Attorney General, this Court required the State Governments and other authorities connected with the education to introduce compulsory education on environment upto matriculation stage or even in intermediate stage in a graded way. Though belatedly, we notice from the replies filed by the respondents, some steps have been taken by the States and other authorities concerned to comply with the said directions issued by this Court.

5.      However, Shri M.C. Mehta contends that the steps taken by the various States and other authorities are insufficient and not in conformity with the spirit and object of the above order of this Court. He submitted that the States and other authorities concerned should prescribe a suitable syllabus by way of a subject on environmental awareness, not only in the primary level of education but also in the higher courses leading upto even post graduate level. He submits that the University Grants Commission, NCERT and AICTE who are some of the apex bodies in prescribing and controlling educational standards should be directed to work out a proper syllabus to be taught at different levels uniformly all over the country. In the absence of such uniform prescribed syllabus in the educational institutions in various States, different institutions are adopting different methods some of which are only basic which do not fulfill the requirements of the directions issued by this Court.

6.      Having heard the learned counsel for the parties and bearing in mind the burden that may be imposed on the students by introducing an additional subject, we think for the present the steps taken by the respondents as indicated in their affidavits would be accepted pending further consideration in this regard. However, to make sure that these steps taken by the concerned states are implemented without fail, we direct all the respondents-States and other authorities concerned to take steps to see that all educational institutions under their control implement respective steps taken by them and as reflected in their affidavits fully, starting from the next academic year, viz., 2004-2005 at least, if not already implemented. The authorities so concerned shall duly supervise such implementation in every educational institution and non-compliance of the same by any of the institution should be treated as a disobedience calling for instituting disciplinary action against such institutions.

7.      This acceptance of an interim arrangement, however, will not prevent the respondents-State and other authorities from drawing up or of taking further steps to more effectively fulfill the objects of the directions issued by this Court earlier.

8.      We also direct the NCERT which is a respondent herein to prepare a module syllabus to be taught at different grades and submit the same to this Court by the next date of hearing so that we can consider the feasibility to introduce such syllabus uniformly throughout the country at different grades.

GALLERY

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Go Green - Protect Our Mother Earth