Environmental science was made a compulsory subject in schools and colleges in 1991. Twenty-three years later, in 2014, the Delhi University (DU) introduced the subject. Now, those who have completed their course are up in arms as teachers being recruited for teaching the subject are not from that stream.
Teachers and students have come together to form a body, the All India Environment Science Student Union, saying this also amounts to violation of the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines. They will stage a protest at the Arts Faculty Saturday.
The UGC guideline states that the teachers being recruited for a subject must be from that stream. According to the union, in just 23 of the 70-plus colleges, those teaching the subject have an MSc, MPhil or a PhD in environmental science/studies. After the implementation of the Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS), environmental science is a compulsory subject in the first year, irrespective of the stream.
“Recently, a DU college held an interview for a teacher for environmental studies. Of the three candidates called, two of them were PhD in the subject. But the college declared that none of them were found suitable. This is happening after almost 23 years since the subject was started in DU,” said Sanjay Marale, the president of All India Environment Science Student Union.
He said he has been lucky that he is teaching in Kamala Nehru College (KNC) but the situation is grave. DU officials could not be reached for a comment despite repeated attempts. “This is going to hamper the future of students (who have taken up the subject). It is high time the university does a course correction. Despite having a department for environment studies, this is the situation in DU,” said Yashpal Singh Narwaria, a PhD in environmental science.
In March this year, the Supreme Court had asked the central government whether environmental studies was being taught in colleges. The government had said there are 306 universities in the country where the subject is yet to be started, but had assured the court that the UGC is taking necessary action.