Category: Uncategorized

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


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 


Shuttle Services for Pune


Colleagues at CEE Urban prepared this paper to highlight the potential for well-organized local area shuttle services, to help reduce short- to intermediate-distance private motorized trips within an area and provide first/last mile connectivity to public transport.

In combination with parking regulations, shuttles could help free up road space for cycles, utilities, trees. Such services should be systematically introduced in selected areas of the city as a key element of the city’s transportation system.



See the paper at

Nature Trail at Pashan Lake

On 26 January 2017, a Nature Trail was organized for students at Pashan Lake.


Nature Trails are a part of the project for awareness about urban ecosystems and bird education taken up through Garden Dept and Indradhanushya, and being implemented by CEE along with Ecological Society and others.

The trail and onsite activities on 26 January were arranged for 30 students from Tara Mobile Creche. Students have been given a specially designed ‘nature observation notebook’.


The trail and activities were conducted by educators from CEE, Ecological Society as well as the nature educators oriented last month.

Shekru Mahotsav and Sahyadri Fortnight

Shekru, or Indian Giant Squirrel. Photo by Thomas Hoffmann

A Shekru Mahtosav is being organized on 1 July 2013 in Pune. This festival marks the beginning of the Sahyadri Fortnight from 1 to 15 July. The initiative to declare 1 to 15 July as Sahyadri Fortnight by the Environment Dept, Govt of Maharashtra is to commemorate and celebrate the inscription of Western Ghats sites as World Natural Heritage by UNESCO last year. This first Sahyadri Fortnight focuses on Shekru or Indian Giant Squirrel. Shri Sanjay Deotale, Environment Minister and Shri Sachin Aher, Minister of State for Environment, Smt Valsa Nair Singh, IAS, Secretary, Environment Dept, Govt of Maharashtra will be present on the occasion. The Shekru Mahotsav will take place at Yashada in two sessions from 9 am to 1 pm and 2 to 5 pm.

Students and teachers from about 30 schools that are part of the Western Ghats (Sahyadri) Special Eco-clubs Scheme of Environment Dept, Govt of Maharashtra and located in the Sahyadris from Nashik to Sindhudurg and Kolhapur will participate in the Shekru Festival. The Scheme is implemented by Centre for Environment Education (CEE). Shekru Festival is being arranged by CEE on behalf of the Environment Dept, Govt of Maharashtra.

Students would participate in games, quiz and an exhibition on the ecology of the Giant Squirrel, threats and conservation efforts. In the afternoon, a slide show, talk by experts and presentations will be made about the projects that schools will be taking up in the Sahyadri Fortnight till 15 July.

The Western Ghats are the habitat of the Indian Giant Squirrel, the State Animal of Maharashtra. Kas Plateau and Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary in Satara District, Chandoli National Park in Sangli District, and Radhanagri Wildlife Sanctuary in Kolhapur District are the sites in the Western Ghats in Maharashtra inscribed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in July 2012.


For more information contact: Avinash Madhale, CEE, Pune. Cell: 9881466529. Email:

Shekru Mahotsav


Shekru Festival aims to:

  • Enhance awareness and knowledge about Shekru or the Indian Giant Squirrel among students of the Sahyadri Eco-clubs
  • Initiate action projects through school eco-clubs for the conservation of Shekru
  • Plant and care for trees that are part of the natural habitat of Shekru
  • Enhance understanding about the importance of Shekru and to increase the popularity of Shekru, the State Animal of Maharashtra, which gives the message of nature conservation to all

Under the Western Ghat (Sahyadri) Special Eco-club Scheme, eco-clubs have been set up in 246 schools in 63 Talukas of the 12 Districts in Maharashtra that have a segment of the Sahayadri mountain range.

Of these, 30 schools from Pune, Ahmednagar Satara, Raigad, Nashik. Kolhapur, Sangli district will be taking up a variety of activities to celebrate Sahyadri Fortnight from 1to 15 July 2013. These would include awareness activities about Shekru, the State Animal of Maharashtra, its protection and conservation, presentations to the community about Shekru, collection of seeds, nursery preparation and plantation of tree species necessary for its survival, survey of the area around the schools to assess the habitat, especially checking for tall trees, tree canopy, sacred groves, etc.

About Shekru

Shekru is the State Animal of Maharashtra. Shekru or Shekra (scientific name Ratufa indica, common name Indian Giant Squirrel) belongs to the squirrel family. The Indian Giant Squirrel is rust coloured and much larger than the commonly seen five-striped squirrel. It is found in the moist forests of the Western Ghats, especially on tall trees such as banyan, wild mango, kinjal, hirada, beheda etc.

However, today, the natural habitat of Shekru is vanishing or getting degraded due to a variety of reasons, such as conversion of forest lands to agriculture, housing or industrial lands, building of dams, monoculture plantations, logging for timber, hunting, etc.

Shekru is present in Maharashtra, mainly in Bhimashankar (Pune district), Phansad Ajoba mountain range, Mahuli, Vasuta region, Chandoli National Park (Sangli district), Radhanagri Wildlife Sanctuary (Kolhapur district), Melghat Tiger Reserve (Amravati district), Tadoba National Park (Chandrapur district).

Physical Features

The weight of an adult Shekru is about 2 to 2.5 kilos, and length of the body is 2.5 to 3 feet, including the tail. Its eyes are red and it has whiskers on its face. The coat is rust or brown coloured on the back. The belly or underside and front legs are usually lighter cream coloured. The head may be brown or beige with a white spot between the ears. The tail, longer than the main body, is a distinctive feature.

Life cycle and Behaviour

Shekru is a solitary creature. The male and female come together during the mating season. The female produces 1 or 2 off-spring once in a year in December-January. Shekrus build 6 to 8 nests for the protection of the young. The nests are round or spherical and made of twigs and leaves, which are usually on the thinner branches of tall trees where predators find it difficult to reach.

Shekru can leap from one tree to the other at distances of 15 to 20 feet.

The average life span is about 15 to 20 years


Its diet includes mainly different types of fruits, seeds, flowers, leaves and bark of a variety of plants available in his habitat

Food Plants and Nesting Plants

Food plants: Anjani, Hirada, Beheda, wild Mango, Phansada, Jackfrruit, Chandada, Ambada, Moi, Jamun, Ombal Vel

Nesting plants: Anjani, Ambada, wild Mango, Beheda, Nana, Satveen, Kinjal


The Handprint – what the fingers signify

Today Arun Wakhlu and Anupam Saraph and I met. We spoke about many things: Pachamama Alliance, Awakening the Dreamer, Poorna Pune, The Pune Wiki, TED and TEDx Pune, DevNadi and the power of individual action and contribution, the Earth Charter and EC + 10 conference in Ahmedabad, code of ethics, the Pune ESR, Ecological Footprint, The Handprint Actions for Sustainability, Indradhanushya, Clean Green Mela, the need to reflect and connect, existing connections, and need for more connections …

From all this came five points as one interpretation of the Handprint, and what each of the fingers might signify:

  • Be Positive and believe in yourself, says the thumb
  • Honour your commitments, abide by the agreed-on ethic, says the index finger
  • Our actions have to be in tune with environmental sustainability, says the middle finger, and as it is the tallest, it also means that we recognize the environment is bigger than all of us and the basis of our life
  • Reach out and connect, and our actions have to be in tune with social justice, says the ring finger
  • My contribution counts, and I will devote some of my personal time every day/ every week and also where possible align my social, work/ business life to working for environmental sustainability and social justice, says the little finger


Clean Green Mela

26 June 2010, Swojas Anand, Anand Park, Aundh, Pune

10 am to 2 pm

CEE and SWaCH are organizing a neighbourhood mela … get to know clean-green stuff happening around you, learn about solutions to make our neighbourhoods more livable

Clean Green Mela
  • Games and activities for children: Web of Life, Waste Segregation, Ropes n ladders, Whats in my compost pit, Tree of Life, Patch Painting
  • V-Collect: Bring your stuff for re-use and recycling – old clothes, toys, utensils, electrnic items
  • Compost Demo: How to start a compost pit and tips to care for your compost pit
  • Paper bag making demo
  • Talks by Dr R Joshi, Aundh Ward Medical Officer and SWaCH
  • Exhibition by EcoExist, SWaCH and CEE of products made of recycled material, books etc
  • Film show
  • Act Now Poster exhibition

Entry is free … Do Come!

And if you’d like to organize this mela in your neighbourhood, get in touch!

Here are pictures of an earlier V Collect, organized in Pushpak Park Aundh (click for slide show)

Pushpak Park

A special book launch at a special bookstore

Sahyadri Adventure by Deepak Dalal, illustrated by Anusha, at Twist n’ Tales

Anusha, Deepak and Janaki, Twist n' Tales, 20 June 2010

Yesterday, Janaki gathered family, friends and neighbours, in an intimate and warm event at Twist n’ Tales to launch Deepak’s new double book Sahyadri Adventure. The books are illustrated by Anusha. Many things were special about yesterday – the store, the author and the illustrator!

Janaki has always wanted Twist n’ Tales to be a neighbourhood bookshop, and that is what it is. Its what you want a bookstore to be. Not a mall. Janaki knows her books and the community of readers; people meet here and strike up friendships. Deepak, a frequent visitor at TnT, writes wildlife adventure stories for children. I first met him when I moved to Pune, and my mentors and friends, philosophers and guides, Meena and Mamata, suggested I meet him, and I did. We are neighbours too! And when Deepak was telling Janaki last year that he needed an illustrator for his new book, it was Janaki who suggested that he ask Anusha.

Deepak remembered all the little doodles – mainly birds – that Anusha has been doing when we all met over coffee with Ashish, and said … ‘why not?’. And so began a new neighbourhood collaboration right here in Aundh.

Wasn’t easy with over 40 drawings to do, with school work, jamming and band practise. Deepak was always encouraging, but firm that she give her best, and its because of him and Aditi Deo’s (also in Aundh!) technical guidance that Anusha’s talent has blossomed. I’m so proud!

Here is a page from the book with Anusha’s illustrations …

Half-title Page from Sahyadri Adventure

See also twistntales: Launch of Deepak Dalal’s new book!

Actions to Address Air Pollution

By Ananya Kaginalkar and Girija Bhapkar

CEE’s Earth Care page in Sakal Young Buzz, March 2010

Ananya and Girija bicycle a lot and use solar water heaters at home.

Vroom…..cough, cough! Vroom… ..cough, cough! This is the condition of most of us city dwellers. Even if we step out of our houses for some fresh air we are immediately engulfed by pollution. This is what set our minds ticking and my partner Girija Bhapkar and I decided to take up ‘Air Pollution’ as our topic for our Environment Studies project with a desire to do ‘something’ about it.

Read on …

Try the Causes of Pollution game on kidsRgreen

Living in a Changing Environment

Photography Exhibition curated by the Maharashtra Cultural Center and the Max Mueller Bhavan

8 April to 8 May 2010 at Max Mueller Bhavan, Boat Club Road, Pune 411 001

The exhibition shows photographs of Bhagyashree Bhutada, Prasad Dabke,  Snehal Date, Sanket Deshpande, Rainer Hoerig, Arul Horizon, Pooja Joshi, Meghana Kulkarni, Shamin Kulkarni, Sanskriti Menon, Sujit Patwardhan, Vikrant Thakar

The exhibition unites twelve personal perspectives of the city of Pune. Some of the photographers take you on a discovery tour to places which contribute to the identity of their city threatened by the dynamics of urban development and neglect. Others take a critical look at the ubiquitous billboards which dominate the appearance of large parts of the city and at the new urban lifestyle symbolized by glass and concrete buildings which are neither adapted to the climate nor to the architectural and cultural context. The photographers hope that this exhibition will make a visual contribution to a discussion about the future of their city – a discussion they feel is necessary and urgent.


The photo-exhibition is the result of a week-long workshop conducted by Stefan Koppelkamm and architect and photographer Peeyush Sekhsaria. Stefan conducted the Places I Like photography workshop in Bangalore in August 2009, and through the facilitation of MMB Pune, we were able to have the workshop in Pune too.

For me, the photo workshop was a way of exploring the old city. We walked about Tulshibagh, Mandai, Kasba, Tambat Ali, Laxmi Road, Narayan Peth looking at paars, changing uses, buildings being pulled down, new buildings replacing old, mandirs subsumed within new buildings, deep stumbhs now standing neglected, little curving lanes, ferns on old crumbling slim red brick walls, shop signs in chalk … We also had thali lunches, nira, kairi panhe, Dharwad pedhe, hot pattice from New Poona Bakery.

Our photos capture some of this flavour and tell stories about Pune.

Pooja’s photos about the brick kilns outside Pune have a story deeper than what is immediately evident. The location of the kiln was probably a farm, now its just a piece of real estate, already sold for construction. The top soil was probably sold separately to another kiln. And so the city and the built environment expands and eats up the surrounding farm land.

Rainer captures the old and the new; physical structures of glass and chrome replace mud and straw huts though remnants of the village are still strewn about. You wonder what became of the people whose village it was. In another photo, the Bombay-Pune road is the setting for the crossing of the Wari that pre-dates the structures in the background – the British water tower and the modern glass-chrome mall. Some collective memories endure and are longer-lived than buildings.

Snehal’s photos of Taljai celebrate the green patches left in our city, though the skyline of the city just beyond tells you just how vulnerable these patches are. Sujit’s photos of shops and vendors in the old core city speak about a type of economy very much alive, vibrant and colourful – but does the key-maker or the Amrutulya know that Pune’s City Development Plan also speaks about a vibrant economy, but that it might mean a very different economy and a very different perception of ‘vibrant’. These little, ‘low-value’ economic activities have no place in the modern city which measures its success by the foot falls in the malls. Vikrant comments on the larger-than-life bill boards and their empty promises.

Arul and I have more personal yet generic stories to tell – of particular people, and the changes in the city seen through their lives. Prasad captures the dull red gleam of the Tambats’ lives. The Mandai that, with its dark, musty and mysterious light, could be a child’s ‘I Spy’ delight – Bhagyashree yearns to see it full of people and life again.

Other photos also show dilapidated structures, beautiful no doubt, but maybe unsafe? A change in land-use, and an increase in the FSI limit will decongest the old core, but de-congest it of what and for what? To replace it with more glass and chrome? Perhaps the photos can be the reason or the excuse or the backdrop for a wider dialogue on what is our city about, whose lives are at stake, and whose vision is shaping the structure of the city and the destiny of its people.

My photos.


Glimpses of the Workshop

Pooja, Peeyush, Stefan
Sujit, Bhagyashree and Snehal compare cameras
Sujit, Bhagyashree and Snehal compare cameras
Rainer and Stefan
Prasad, Stefan, Peeyush