School EE in India

Sanskriti Menon, August 2012

(This content was originally presented on the Greenteacher website. The website was redeveloped due to bugs, and the original content is now available on Wayback Machine, at these links

https://web.archive.org/web/20150908024808/http://www.greenteacher.org/?page_id=263

https://web.archive.org/web/20150908164500/http://www.greenteacher.org/?page_id=29

 

1 Evolution of EE in India

Section 1 draws upon the book The Green Teacher, authored by Meena Raghunathan and Mamata Pandya, published by CEE with support from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt of India, under the Scheme for Environmental Orientation to School Education

In India, our social values and attitudes have, historically and culturally been in harmony with the environment. If one reads our own literature, the writing of our sages, our religious texts, all of these reflect the recognition that all life on the earth-human life included is intimately dependent on the quality of the environment. These also talk of the humbleness of human in this larger system, and the need and responsibility to protect it.

The Indian constitution captured much of these deep-rooted values and further strengthened them by giving responsibility to its citizens to protect the environment. The constitution enjoins the state to

take measures to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country” (Article 48 -A).

It also makes it a

“fundamental duty of every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forest, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have ecological compassing for the living creatures” (Article 51 A (g)).

EE in India’s National Policy on Education

Environmental education has been an area of concern in all curriculum development programmes in India. The movement of Basic Education launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1937, was perhaps the first serious attempt at relating education in schools to local environmental needs. The essential elements of Basic Education were: productive activity in education; correlation of curriculum with the productive activity and the social environment; and the intimate contact between the school; and local community.

The best that Basic Education had to offer was incorporated in the Report of the Education Commission (1964-66) so as to relate it to the life, needs and aspirations of the nation. For the primary stage, the Report recommended, “the aim of teaching science in the primary school should be to develop proper understanding of the main facts, concepts, principles and processes in the physical and biological environment”.

The National Policy on Education, 1986 (NPE) states that “Protection of the Environment” is a value, which along with certain other values must form an integral part of curriculum at all stages of education. Para 8.15 of the Policy states:

“There is a paramount need to create a consciousness of the Environment. It must be 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”.

The national system of education, as defined in the National Policy on Education 1986, visualized a national curriculum framework which contains a common core including several elements having direct bearing on the natural and social environment of the pupils, such as: Protection of the environment, content essential to nurture national identity, and inculcation of the scientific temper. These core areas are expected to occupy a place of prominence not only in the instructional material, but also in the classroom and out-of-school activities.

Following the National Policy on Education, NCERT brought out detailed curriculum guidelines and model syllabi for classes I to X reflecting these ideas. The approach strongly recommended adoption of innovative teaching and learning techniques. Subsequently curriculum frameworks brought out by the NCERT in 1988, 2000 and 2005 reiterated the importance of EE in school education.

2 EE and the Supreme Court

In 1991, Shri M C Mehta filed an application in the public interest (Writ Petition (Civil) No. 860 of 1991), asking the Supreme Court to:

  • Issue direction to cinema halls that they show slides with information on the environment;
  • Issue direction for the spread of information relating to the environment on All India Radio; and
  • Issue direction that the study of the environment becomes a compulsory subject in schools and colleges.

The consequent order of the Supreme Court dated 22 Nov 1991 is available here.

On 18th December 2003, the Hon’ble Supreme Court further ordered, “We also direct the NCERT….to prepare a module (model) syllabus”, and directed that

“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. 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. 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.”

On 13th July 2004 the Supreme Court directed that “the syllabus prepared by the NCERT for Class I to XII shall be adopted by every state in their respective schools”. It further directed that “NCERT be appointed as a nodal agency to supervise the implementation of this Court’s order”. Compliance to Supreme Court order is mandatory and desirable, and applies to all states and Union Territories (in fact, it is one of the few things that apply to all education in India).

NCERT developed the following syllabus for Environment Education for 1 to 12 standards, which was accepted by the Supreme Court (see document of 13 July 2004) (but this syllabus has subsequently been reviewed and revised in the light of NCF 2005)

NCERT clarified that in order to have compliance, a separate subject is not a necessity. It can be done through infusion, in science, social studies, mathematics, language and other subjects, and/or through a separate subject. It does however have to be part of the compulsory curriculum.

The NCERT submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court, which was accepted by the Supreme Court on 03-12-2010 and the matter of the writ petition is deemed to have been resolved.

The method of implementation of EE in Schools as accepted by the petitioner Mr MC Mehta, the NCERT and the Supreme Court, is as follows (the details are in NCERT’s Affidavit):

Classes Mode of Transaction
I and II Through Activities
III to V Environmental Studies (EVS)
VI to X Infusion Model
XI to XII Project based study 


NCERT Handbook of EE for Std XI and XII (published 2011)

Projects and Activities

Glossary and References

Evaluation pattern for XI and XII

Syllabus for XI and XII 

Reference Documents

Supreme Court order dated 22 Nov 1991  in response to Mr MC Mehta’s PIL

Supreme Court order of 18th December 2003

We also direct the NCERT….to prepare a module (model) syllabus”, and directed that

“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. 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. 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.”

Supreme Court order of 13th July 2004 stating that “the syllabus prepared by the NCERT for Class I to XII shall be adopted by every state in their respective schools”. It further directed that “NCERT be appointed as a nodal agency to …

 

The method of implementation, as agreed between NCERT and the Supreme Court of India, is as described in the NCERT’s Affidavit to the Supreme Court.

NCERT Syllabus for Environmental Education (accepted by the Supreme Court of India) is as below; the syllabus for Std XI and XII was reviewed as explained in the NCERT’s Affidavit and both the old and new syllabi for Std XI and XII are provided below

National Curriculum Framework 2005

Position Paper of the National Focus Group on Habitat and Learning that especially addresses the integration of environmental concerns into the NCF 2005 (this was one of 21 focus groups set up by the NCERT for inputs into the formulation of the NCF 2005)

UGC Syllabus for EE in Colleges 

 

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