In India, environmental education is mandated by the Supreme Court of India and overseen by the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT). The National Curriculum Framework, developed by NCERT, includes a “Protection of the Environment” component. Educators may engage in EE professional development through distance learning, in-service teacher training, conferences, nature camps, and environmental courses. They may also engage with national and regional environmental education associations, including the Centre for Environment Education, India (CEE), the South Asia Co-Operative Environment Programme (SACEP), and the South and Southeast Asia Network for Environmental Education (SASEANEE). Within the national government, environmental education is supported by various ministries, including the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, and the Department of Science and Technology. EE activities in India may be funded by a variety of sources, including government grants, foundations, and corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Policy & Practice
EE is compulsory by directive of Supreme Court of India. The National Council of Educational Research and Training is the nodal agency to oversee the directive. The Constitution of India 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)). Education is recognized as a primary means of achieving to environmental protection. The present status of Environmental Education (EE) in schools in India has its genesis in the National Policy of Education (NPE) 1986 (modified in 1992), in which “Protection of the Environment” is stated as a common core around which a National Curriculum Framework (NCF) would be woven.
EE in K-12 Education
The National Council of Educational Research and Training is responsible for developing the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) and reviewing the framework at regular intervals.
In-service teachers in India may engage in EE professional development though the distance education program Green Teacher: Diploma in Environmental Education. The program was established by the Centre for Environment Education, India (CEE) and Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Canada. In addition, the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) developed a manual on Environment Education for pre-service teachers. Teachers take part in exposure visits, conferences, nature camps, and specific environmental courses. They may also take up curriculum-linked research projects. In-service teacher training is a very common approach to professional development, especially amongst government teachers.
Environmental educators in India may engage with the Centre for Environment Education, India (CEE), and regional networks such as the South Asia Co-Operative Environment Programme (SACEP) and the South and Southeast Asia Network for Environmental Education (SASEANEE).
EE in the National Government
The Department of Education in Science and Mathematics (DESM) at NCERT is a think-tank for Education in Science, Mathematics, Environment and Computer Science at the school stage (Upper Primary to Higher Secondary). It is responsible for carrying out research, development, training, evaluation and extension activities in these areas. The Department assists and advises the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India and extends its cooperation and expertise to other Departments of NIE as well as other constituents of the NCERT, SCERT’s, State Boards of School Education and other state agencies in matters related to Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has had a division for Environmental Education.
EE Campaigns and Funding
The government of India, under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and Ministry of Human Resource Development have various schemes through which the projects and programs related to environmental education. Department of Science and Technology also has some schemes and projects to support environmental education. NGOs raise resources for different environmental education activities through government grants, foundations, and now under corporate social responsibility (CSR).
The Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS) is a one-of-a-kind mobile science exhibition led by the Government of India’s Department of Science & Technology (DST) and managed by the Vikram A. Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC).
This case study describes the development, successes, and challenges of a compulsory environmental education (EE) program in India.