Even after the introduction of Environmental Studies (EVS) as a compulsory subject in all schools following a Supreme Court ruling,the subject being a graded one is often taken lightly by most students. In a bid to make environmental studies easy through fun and activity-based learning,the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has designed activity modules for secondary municipal school students.
As part of the project,TERI organised an eco fest for students of TMC schools on Friday. Around 400 students from over eight schools participated in various competitions based on environment themes at the fest. Thane deputy mayor Ashok Bhoir said: The eco fest is a welcome change for these schoolchildren,most of whom rely on bookish knowledge. It will make school students understand the importance of environment conservation.
TERI and TMC had specifically chosen Class IX students as they have to prepare EVS projects as part of their curriculum. The fest not only serves as a medium to create awareness among students and teachers about their local environment but also to encourage them to take up short-term projects. We chose TMC schools because we wanted to provide these students with opportunities to learn and get involved in saving ecology, said Kedar Gore,research associate,TERI.
Rekha Vijaykar,principal,Guru Har Kishan High School,Santacruz,concurs: We usually have to push students to make good projects. We ensure that EVS doesnt get boring by organising excursions. EVS is a subject that has to be made interesting.
For Sachin Panhalkar,student of TMC school number 5,EVS had always been dull till he decided to work on a project on paper recycling for the eco fest. Our teachers worked with us closely and helped us in making these objects of papier mache. We also made a plastic mattress out of waste plastic found in Upvan lake, he said.
Yogesh Mahane,14,of TMC school number 48,who had worked on a project on compost manure along with his classmates,said: During the one-month that we worked on this project,we learned that environment conservation can start from your own backyard.
TERI experts have organised 40 seminars on environment conservation in these schools since July last year. TERI plans to expand this project forward and encompass BMC and NMMC schools also, Gore said.