Though formal education is the mandate of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), the Ministry of Environment & Forests has been interacting with the MHRD, NCERT, State Departments of Education etc. to ensure that environmental components are adequately covered at the school levels by infusion into the school curricula at various levels. The major initiatives taken by the Ministry in this direction recently are mentioned below:
Environment Education in School System
Under this project, which was initiated in 1999, an exercise to strengthen environment education in the formal school curriculum has been undertaken. During the first phase of this project, a comprehensive study was conducted to assess the status of infusion of environment content in the school curriculum in the country and to assess the effectiveness of classroom teaching. The study was conducted in all the States/UTs of the country and textbooks of all the classes from standards I to XII were analysed. Based on the findings of the study, the textbooks in Science, Social Science and Languages of middle school level in eight States (100 schools in each State) are being modified to strengthen the infusion of environmental concepts. The modified textbooks would be used for one academic session (2002-2003) in the selected schools of the selected States on pilot basis. The concerned teachers of the selected schools would also be trained to effectively teach the modified textbooks. The States participating in this project are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab and Uttaranchal. Depending upon the success of the pilot implementation, the revised curriculum may be taken up in the remaining schools. The findings of the Phase I study are also being shared with the States/UTs which are not participating in this project so that they can also environmentalise their textbooks.
Environmental Appreciation Course
Though there are several courses on environmental sciences at present in the formal system, there are no structured courses available outside the formal system for people who desire to learn about environmental issues. The Ministry has taken an initiative in this regard and it presently working out a frame work for environmental appreciation courses in consultation with IGNOU.
Environmental Concepts in Management & Business Studies
Realising that the industry Managers and leaders need to be sensitized towards environmental issues and concepts of Environmental Management so that they can play an important role in introducing environmentally sound practices in their operations, the Ministry has taken an initiative to introduce/enhance environmental concepts in the Business/Management Education. A committee comprising representatives from Management Institutions, AICTE, UGC, Industry and MoEF is already looking into various aspects like course content and syllabi of the existing courses so that gaps could be identified and suggestion could be given for enhancing/introducing the environmental content where necessary.