Environmental Education in school Curriculum an overall perspective

Environmental Education in school Curriculum an overall perspective


The education system in India had incorporated certain aspects of environment in school curricula as early as 1930. The Kothari commission (1964-66) also suggested that basic education had to offer EE and relate it to the life needs and aspirations of the people and the nation. At the primary stage, the report recommended that " the aims of teaching science in the primary schools should be to develop proper understanding of the main facts, concepts, principles and processes in physical and biological environment” Environmental education at primary, secondary, higher secondary levels was treated in a different way. Environmental education is an essential part of every pupil's learning. It helps to encourage awareness of the environment, leading to informed concern for active participation in resolving environmental problems. It was introduced without any delay from class –1 as EVS, as a subject so that right from their childhood, the right attitudes towards environment will be nurtured in the young minds.

It is important that we capture this enthusiasm and that no opportunity is lost to develop knowledge, understanding and concern for the environment through school education. The curricular, cross-curricular attempt of environmental education also should be a joy for the learner. In this direction, NCERT has published in collaboration with the Centre for Environmental Education, Ahemadabad a book titled "Joy of learning” with lot of environmental activities, a handbook for teachers. Similarly, several workshops were conducted to orient school teachers and educational functionaries of the state boards on various aspects of environmental education. Strategies for successful implementation of EE in schools were discussed in detail in these interactions.

A curricular framework of environmental education: -

  • It envisages the place of EE in the school curriculum. 
  • Place of EE vis-à-vis other subjects of study. 
  • Mode and strategy of inclusion of chapters at different levels. 
  • EE in terms of time and allocation of marks. 
  • Development of syllabi and instructional material for dissemination at different levels of school education. 

Aims & Objectives of environmental education: -

The objectives of environmental education are to increase public awareness about environmental issues, explore possible solutions, and to lay the foundations for a fully informed and active participation of individual in the protection of environment and the prudent and rational use of natural resources. The resolutions provide the following guiding principles for environmental education:

  • The environment as a common heritage of mankind. 
  • The common duty of maintaining, protecting & improving the quality of environment, as a contribution to the protection of human health and safeguarding the ecological   balance; 
  • The need for a prudent and rational utilisation of resources; 
  • The way in which each individual can, by his own behavior and action, contribute to the protection of environment; 
  • The long-term aims of environmental education are to improve management of environment and provide satisfactory solutions to environmental issues. 
  • Provide opportunities to acquire the knowledge, values, attitudes, commitment and skills needed to protect and improve the environment. 
  • Encourage pupils to examine and interpret the environment from a variety of perspectives-physical, geographical, biological, sociological, economic, political, technological,   historical, esthetic and ethical. 
  • Arouse pupil's awareness and curiosity about the environment and encourage active participation in resolving environmental problems. 
  • Environmental education is closely linked to the other cross circular themes of other subject areas. 

Promoting positive attitudes towards the environment is essential if pupils/students are to value it and understand their role in safeguarding it for the future.
Encouraging the development of attitudes in personal qualities listed below will contribute to the process.

  • Appreciations of care and concern for environment. 
  • Concern for other living things on earth. 
  • Independent thought on environmental issues. 
  • Respect for others opinion. 
  • Respect for rational argument and evidence. 
  • Tolerance to face others views. 
  • Environmental education can be thought of as comprising three linked components: 
  • Education about the environments (Knowledge). 
  • Education for the environment (Values, Attitudes & Positive actions). 
  • Education through the environment (A Resource). 

Environmental education is a process that aims at the development of environmentally literate citizens who can compete in global economy, who have the skills and knowledge and inclinations to make well informed choices concerning the environment, and who exercise the rights and responsibilities of the members of a community. Environmental knowledge contributes to an understanding and appreciation of the society, technology and productivity and conservation of natural and cultural resources of their own environment.

Environmental education has an ability to solve the societal needs, the needs of a community problem and their solutions and workforce for tackling cooperative minds. We need the school children to share and develop the motivation from school about various environmental issues, which are the challenges of today and prepare them for the future.

Environmental education must become a vehicle for engaging young minds in the excitement of first hand observation of the nature and understanding the patterns and processes in the natural and social worlds in order to take care of the habitat and its surroundings which becomes a major part of EE in both primary and upper primary stages of school education. In the secondary and senior secondary stages also some of the major issues such as environmental protection, management and conservation are to be dealt in more detail.

SOURCE: National Curriculum Council, Environmental Education

The author of this article is Asst. Professor, Pioneer Institute of Professional Studies, Indore

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