1. INTRODUCTION

Environment and sustainable development have become a buzz word today. With the growing environmental problems around us, policy makers have realized that tackling these problems must involve the large scale participation of the society. It therefore becomes essential to sensitize the people regarding various environmental issues. Environment education in schools and colleges is seen by many as a necessary tool for making people aware regarding these issues and inculcating environmental values in them. The purpose of this research is to find out how far this tool has been effective in the IIT Delhi scenario.


1.1 Environment Education in India

By the later part of the 20th century, environmental issues had become a major concern, and the international community realized a need to make people aware about their natural environment and how they can live sustainably. The United Nations Conference on Human Environment, held in Stockholm, in June 1972, had adopted the principle of environment education, stating that "education in environmental matters . . . is essential in order to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises and communities in protecting and improving the environment" (Stockholm Declaration, 1972). In India, environment education was formally started after the Honourable Supreme Court of India, in 2003, directed Indian schools and colleges to have Environment Education (EE) as a compulsory subject in their curriculum.

Accordingly, the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India decided that a "six-month compulsory core module in environment studies may be prepared and compulsorily implemented in all Universities/Colleges of India" (Bharucha, 2004). The UGC gave out a syllabus for the compulsory EE course at undergraduate level, made by the Expert Committee on Environment Studies. The syllabus consists of a wide range of issues and pertinent questions concerning environment, and includes both classroom lectures and field activities to give students a holistic knowledge about environmental concerns. The UGC recognizes that "there are bound to be gaps between the ideal and real" and that "genuine endeavour is required to minimize the gaps by intellectual and material inputs. The success of this course will depend on the initiative and drive of the teachers and the receptive students" (Bharucha, 2004).

Both the Supreme Court and UGC of India, however, do not define any clear cut objectives or goals that such a course must fulfil. They recognize that the purpose of the course is to "enhance knowledge skills and attitude to environment" and make students aware of the "local and global environmental issues" (Bharucha, 2004). But since the objectives are not properly stated in their documents, it makes the evaluation of these courses difficult. IIT Delhi curriculum included a compulsory EE course for undergraduate students from the academic year 2008-09 onwards. For this purpose, no new courses, according to the UGC syllabus, were started; but some of the earlier courses, floated by the Department of Civil Engineering, Humanities and Centre for Energy Studies were put under the 'Environment Studies' category and students were required to do atleast one course from this category. The goals and objectives of such courses are not defined in the IIT Delhi prospectus.



1.2 Importance of Environment Education

W. B. Stapp, in his article, The Concept of Environmental Education, gave a definition of environment education and the aspects it should include. He said that environment education "is aimed at producing a citizenry that is knowledgeable concerning the biophysical environment and its associated problems, aware how to solve these problems and motivated to work towards their solution" (Stapp, 1969). The Belgrade charter adopted by the United Nations, identifies that the goal of environment education is "to develop a world population that is aware of, and concerned about, the environment and its associated problems, and which has the knowledge, skills, attitudes, motivations and commitment to work individually and collectively towards solutions of current problems and prevention of new ones" (Belgrade Charter, 1975).

The first Intergovernmental Conference on Environment Education, organized by UNESCO in cooperation with UNEP, updated and established the objectives of environment education as:

i. Awareness: to help social groups and individuals acquire an awareness of and sensitivity to the total environment and its allied problems.
ii. Knowledge: to help social groups and individuals gain a variety of experience in, and acquire a basic understanding of the environment and its associate problems.
iii. Attitudes: to help social groups and individuals acquire a set of values and feelings of concern for the environment, and the motivation for actively participating in environmental improvement and protection.
iv. Skills: to help social groups and individuals acquire the skills for identifying and solving environmental problems.
v. Participation: to provide social groups and individuals with an opportunity to be actively involved at all levels in working toward resolution of environmental problems. (Tbilisi Declaration, 1977)

1.3 COURSES OF "ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES" CATEGORY

A student must also earn valid credits (audit not permitted) for a course of Environmental Studies category under OC for graduation.

Department Course Code Course Details Credits
Centre for Energy studies ESL710 Energy, ecology and environment 3 credits (3-0-0)
Department of Civil Engineering CEL100 Earth and earth process 3 credits (3-0-0)
Department of Civil Engineering CEL110 Basic concepts in sustainable development 4 credits (3-1-0)
Department of Civil Engineering CEL120 Pollution, prevention and control 3 credits (3-0-0)
Department of Civil Engineering CEL140 Environmental studies 3 credits (3-0-0)
Department of Civil Engineering CEL411 Industrial waste management 3 credits (3-0-0)
Department of Civil Engineering CEL412 Environmental assessment methodologies 3 credits (3-0-0)
Department of Civil Engineering CEL443 Transportation safety and environment 3 credits (3-0-0)
Department of Chemical Engineering CHL724 Environmental Engineering and waste Management 4 credits (3-1-0)
Department of Chemical Engineering CHL275 Safety and hazards in the process industries 4 credits (3-1-0)
Centre for Energy studies ESL330 Energy, Ecology and Environment 4 credits (3-1-0)
Centre for Energy studies ESL340 Non-conservational sources of energy 4 credits (3-1-0)
Department of Humanities and Social Science HUL262 Environment psychology 4 credits (3-1-0)
Department of Humanities and Social Science HUL275 Environment, development and society 4 credits (3-1-0)
Centre for Rural development and Technology RDL340 Technology and community development 4 credits (3-1-0)
Department Course Code Course Details Credits
Centre for Energy studies ESL710 Energy, ecology and environment 3 credits (3-0-0)
Centre for Energy studies ESL720 Energy conservation 3 credits (3-0-0)
Centre for Energy studies ESL722 Integrated energy systems 3 credits (3-0-0)
Centre for Energy studies ESN725 Energy auditing 1 credit (1-0-0)
Centre for Energy studies ESL735 Hazardous waste management 3 credits (3-0-0)
Centre for Energy studies ESL740 Non-conventional sources of energy 3 credits (3-0-0)
Centre for Energy studies ESL745 Environmental audit and impact assessment 3 credits (3-0-0)
Centre for Energy studies ESL777 Environmental science and engineering 3 credits (3-0-0)
Centre for Energy studies ESL776 Industrial energy and environmental analysis 3 credits (3-0-0)
Centre for Energy studies ESL778 Industrial waste management and recycling 3 credits (3-0-0)
Centre for Energy studies ESL756 Energy policy and planning 3 credits (3-0-0)
Centre for Energy studies ESL764 Environmental economics 3 credits (3-0-0)
Centre for Energy studies ESL804 Pollution control in power plants 3 credits (3-0-0)
Centre for Energy studies ESL746 Non-conventional energy systems and energy conservation 3 credits (3-0-0)
Department of Civil Engineering CEL736 Environmental dynamics and management 3 credits (3-0-0)
Department of Civil Engineering CEL744 Ground water flow and pollution 3 credits (3-0-0)
Department of Civil Engineering CEL745 Water management 3 credits (3-0-0)
Department of Civil Engineering CEL763 Environmental rock engineering 3 credits (3-0-0)
Department of Civil Engineering CEL705 Geo-environmental engineering 3 credits (3-0-0)
Department of Civil Engineering CEL714 Special topics in geo technical and geo environmental engineering 3 credits (3-0-0)
Department of Chemical Engineering CHL724 Environmental engineering and waste management 4 credits (3-1-0)
Department of Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology BEL715 Biological waste treatment 4 credits (3-0-2)