Principals and educators across the country want to be heard about the change in the way environmental education is delivered in schools right now. This comes in the context of the 26th United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP26) being hosted by the UK from Sunday. Representatives from more than 190 countries are expected to attend the meeting, which runs until November 12.
The problem raised by school staff is that environmental education is limited to slogans and the making of posters on calendar events like Earth Day and Environment Day. The demand is for a more practical approach to education to prepare them for the future.
Pallavi Upadhyaya, Director, DPS-RNE Ghaziabad, told PTI: “The need of the hour is to educate students about climate threats and change. Environmental education should be much more than light workshops held on special days like Earth Day or Environment Day. Students, future decision-makers, must become responsible citizens to monitor their daily practices and commitments. Something as simple as saying ‘no’ to plastic and carrying a paper or jute bag to shop for groceries can have a significant positive impact on our environment. . ”
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According to Seema Kaur, principal of the Pacific World School, the slogans “Save the environment” and “Save the trees” sometimes resonate only for a day. “The voices and cries to save the planet are audible all around, but in vain. Children are the creators of this planet, therefore, from the infancy only, schools should include environmental awareness programs in the curriculum focused on life skills, ”she said.
Sangeeta Hajela, Principal, DPS Indirapuram, believes that environmental education must be mainstreamed in Indian schools, in all sincerity and definitively, as environmental degradation is no longer a gradual transformation. “The process of school education remains incomplete without setting an example for students, so there is a need to change the course of environmental awareness from being subjective to practical,” she said. “Environmental awareness should not be a pen and paper education for a day or a week, but a way of life, practiced every day, leading to the formation of habits,” she added. .
According to Divya Jain, founder and director of The Class of One, an online-only school, the majority of environmental degradation results from a lack of education. “We have integrated the SDG projects into the primary education curriculum to educate children to grow up and lead sustainable and environmentally friendly lives. As India is a diverse country and every place here needs a different type of solution, all of our projects are location specific and help kids better understand their location and find a solution for it. There is a compulsory environment class in the program from primary level. A monthly activity is planned with the parents as accomplices, ”she said.