The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) hosted by the United Kingdom has begun and educationists across India have called for major reforms in environment education in Indian schools.
School principals say that the current curriculum is all about making posters and slogans. Earth Day is celebrated by making projects and the students seldom learn to implement it in their regular life. Several school heads said students should be taken beyond class projects and they must be sensitised about the current global climate scenario.
“The hue and cry about saving the planet is audible all around but to no avail. Children are the makers of this planet, hence from nascent stage only, schools must include environment awareness programmes in the curriculum focusing on practical knowledge,” said Seema Kaur, the principal of Pacific World.
Students are taught about the concepts and definitions of pollution, global warming and climate change. They are also taught how to prevent them but when it comes to implementation, students do not consider them in their daily life.
“The need of the hour is to sensitise students about climate threats and change. Environmental education should be much more than light-hearted workshops being operated on special days like Earth Day or World Environment Day,” said Pallavi Upadhyay, the principal of Delhi Public School Ghaziabad/
Educationists have voiced their concern about students not practising what they learn at home or in school. “Schools can also appoint green ambassadors from among the students to lead the charge of the ‘green army’. Schools can introduce a green parameter of assessment in the annual progress card, upon which the children would be graded,” said Neeraj Mohan Puri, principal, Satyug Darshan Vidyala.
Simple tasks like washing vegetables and using that to water plants, switching off the fans and lights before leaving the room and using paper bags can cause great differences.
Some schools have taken a step forward to make their campuses environmentally friendly by introducing plastic-free zones.
“One of our core values is responsibility and a sense of purpose and our comprehensive environmental curriculum permeates every aspect of learning, right from observing and reflecting upon our consumption of resources to waste segregation and tracking the carbon footprint of every event,” said Shashi Banerjee, Director of Education, Shiv Nadar School.