University Programme: An Overview

Introduction/ Background:
Environment is central to the idea of sustainable and inclusive development. And so is the need for effective dissemination of environmental knowledge in our educational institutions both at school as and at university levels. 

As a logical extension to the successful Green Schools’ Programme that for a decade has made a mark in schools, CSE launched its University intervention in early 2016. University Grants Commission (UGC) has made it compulsory for all colleges to introduce a six months module on environment. Titled, 'Environmental Studies', is now offered as an interdisciplinary, course at the undergraduate level across all disciplines in India. A common refrain about ‘Environmental Studies’ is that it is poorly executed and indifferently received by students, who find the course boring (18 year old, fresh out of school!). Faculty members, on their part, cite a lack of training/teaching help (pedagogic approaches, lack of readings, other resources, etc.). The Supreme Court’s mandate for all University students to study Environmental Studies in the first semester has reinforced the idea that meaningful environmental education is a key priority for a sustainable and equitable future. 

Vision: CSE’s vision is to reach out and nurture the youth of the country through Faculties teaching environment by making them more aware about the science and politics of environmental issues. This in turn is bound to stimulate them to question the prevailing developmental patterns, lifestyle, and governance systems. 

Objective: Build capacity of Faculty to teach EVS, and provide ready reference material to enrich their teachings and Provide platforms such as the Green Educators' Network, Knowledge Conclave, summer courses such as Agenda for Survival (AfS), online lectures to develop the capacity of those (faculty, students as well as young environmental professionals) to bring alive the vast subject of environment.

Components of the University Programme:
Green Educators’ Network – was launched in January 2016 to provide teachers a platform, a space to interact amongst themselves and with others who teach the subject. The Educator’s Network aims to enhance their knowledge about environmental issues, politics and impart learnings for solutions. More than 500 educators have registered for the network, while around 250 plus of these educators have attended the Knowledge Conclave. 

Educators teaching EVS or Environmental Engineering or Environmental Science can click here and submit their registration forms, if interested in becoming a member of the network. The Environment Education Unit (EEU) is constantly working towards the expansion of the Educators network by approaching colleges situated in each and every corner of the country.

During the last two years, network members have been actively sharing nominations of faculty members from different institutions, teaching papers related to environment. Should you like to nominate another faculty member of environment, please write to us at ileena.roy@cseindia.org.

Knowledge Conclave – This forum provides the members of the Green Educators’ Network access to CSE's vast network of environment educators, scientists, activists, policy makers, regulators, lawyers and journalists. The focus of the Conclave is environmental education for a sustainable and equitable future. In addition to four National Knowledge Conclaves conducted in the year 2015 and 2016, CSE has conducted two 'Regional Knowledge Conclaves' at Kolkata and at Mysuru in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Readers for Universities – Based on feedback by members of the network that topical resource material was limited, CSE introduced its first Environmental Reader for universities aimed at providing a well – rounded perspective towards the various environmental issues with the help of case studies, current data, infographics, etc. CSE’s Green Educator Network members are actively using and recommending the Reader as part of the curriculum or are planning to propose the inclusion of the same from the next session onwards. Valuable and encouraging feedback from the users of the Reader cited it to be highly informative, include how educators are able to link with the UGC syllabus. 

Following the success of the first reader and realising the seriousness of the climate change issue, CSE felt the urgent need to bring out a new reader on Climate Change alone. The Climate Change Reader was recently launched during CSE’s 4th National Knowledge Conclave held in March 2019. For the initial development of reader content, an online survey was conducted wherein our network members had provided useful feedback in terms of the potential themes/ topics to be considered for inclusion in the Reader. As a result, several topics such as climate change impacts, carbon economy, climate science, and climate change policies and politics, etc. have been included.

E - Newsletter – E-newsletters are released every month to the faculty members of CSE’s Green Educators’ Network. The content of the newsletter is based on the case studies/articles/blogs/ videos of Down to Earth magazine and the DTE TV. These newsletters help our educators stay updated and also provide teaching assistance during their daily lectures. The newsletter is divided into different sections - ‘Lead story’, ‘In-focus’ story, ‘’Notice board’, ‘From the Educators’, ‘Publication’, etc.

Links of useful ‘teaching handouts’ covering the theme of the Lead story or In-focus story are embedded to enhance overall teaching of various environmental issues. Information such as suggested field visit sites, definitions of important terms, additional resource materials for students to refer, tasks and assignments, etc. are included in these teaching handouts.

The content of ‘From the Educators’ section of newsletter is completely driven by the members of Green Educators’ Network. Information related to the following are included in this section:

  1. any recently published research paper on environment,
  2. any green initiatives taken up by an institution/ eco-society or eco-club,
  3. details of an upcoming environmental event to be organised by any of our network institutions,
  4. fellowship opportunities/ internship opportunities/ PhD opportunities offered by a particular network institution
  5. details of field/ exposure visits related to environment/ ecology/ socio-political environment/ environmental geography/ urban planning/ environmental management, etc., as organised by network institutions
  6. details of innovative teaching methods as used by ou network members, aimed at making environmental learning interesting and holistic.

Quarterly Online Lectures – This is a recently launched initiative that helps us reach out to students of environment (our young environmentalists) across the country. Educators first have to become a member of CSE’s Green Educators’ Network to enable their students to watch these online lectures. Thematic/ issue related discussions take place during these online lectures. Students actively participate by asking questions related to the theme being discussed. Quarterly online lectures have proved to be an efficient medium for students to get a quick overview of the issue in question and to also interact directly with the resource person.

Topics such as climate change, air pollution and solid waste management were covered during the first three online lectures conducted by CSE between August 2018 and Jan 2019. These sessions have received an overwhelming response in terms of the total number of views/likes, numerous meaningful questions asked by students of environment, etc.

Green Campus – CSE’s University Programme also believes in providing practical solutions or alternatives/ strategies to help these colleges transform themselves by increasing resource efficiency, improving ecosystem management for sufficiency, minimizing waste, pollution and promoting healthy lifestyle. In this regard, CSE launched its Green Campus Toolkit at the Regional Knowledge Conclave in Kolkata.

While several institutions have shown interest in participating in the audit, three of our network institutions – Gargi College, Guru Nanak Dev University and University of Mysure have already signed a MoU with CSE’s Sustainable Building and Habitat Programme with the objective of greening their campuses.

Collaborative research opportunities - CSE teams often conduct collaborative research studies with our network colleges in various states. For instance, CSE’s Clean Air and Sustainable Mobility Programme had recently worked with the West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) to improve the public transport system through bus reforms, in Kolkata. As part of this study, CSE, in collaboration with 3 of its network colleges - Jadavpur University, Presidency University and Calcutta University, conducted a user perception survey to gauge the level of satisfaction of bus passengers in Kolkata. The study was conducted with the help of students from these three colleges. Testimonials submitted by Faculty in-charge from the three colleges highlighted the valuable exposure this collaboration provided to the participating students. As a member of Green Educators’ Network, your institution can also participate in such collaborative studies.

Agenda for Survival - Held each June, this flagship month long summer school started in 2008 designed by CSE offers a range of experiences to participants such as study of issues, interaction with policy-makers, field work and interaction with communities. It has alumni well placed in premier institutions of this country. This four week innovative program gives the youth of India an opportunity to evaluate issues that lie at the interface of environment and development; poverty; democracy, equity and justice. This interactive programme has a number of assignments weaved in to make learning exciting and to help participants to polish their communication skills, field-based reporting and writing to understand environment as a subject.

 

CSE Green Educators' Network
To become a member of CSE's Green Educators' Network, please click on the link given below and submit the form.

 
 
Sunita Narain's online lecture