Students respond favorably to UGC’s compulsory module on environmental studies

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Understanding the need to educate students about ecology for a sustainable future, UGC had in 2019 asked all its affiliated universities and colleges to introduce a compulsory six-module course on environmental studies in all branches of the courses of undergraduate (UG). Three years later, many universities have implemented this required course, declaring it to be a must-have and popular course among students.


Currently in place


The University of Delhi (DU) implemented the module in 2014. Satyabhama Das Biju, Professor, Department of Environmental Studies, DU, says: “Initially, when the module was introduced, students wondered about the viability of studying the environment when their major was economics. or Mathematics. However, knowing that today every profession has an impact on environmental sustainability, there is a revolutionary change in the perspective of students. »

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In fact, today, students require the course to be spread over more than one semester, adds Radhey Shyam Sharma, Professor, Department of Environmental Studies, DU. Even universities that offer few UG courses have introduced the mandatory UGC module. Sharat Kumar Palita, Vice Chancellor (in charge), Central Odisha University says, “The university only offers one UG course in Integrated Mathematics. We introduced the ‘Environmental Studies’ module in the UG course a few years ago, and it continues to this day,” he says.

As a professor dealing with animal science and biodiversity conservation for almost three decades now, Palita says there is a growing interest among students in environmental studies. “Students in our UG Integrated Mathematics course work on projects that allow them to find a correlation between their major subject and the environment, which leads to more insightful and in-depth research opportunities during their postgraduate courses (PG ),” says Palita.


Future actions

Most institutes of higher learning (HEIs) offer courses in environmental studies or are in the process of introducing them. PK Shajahan, Dean (Academic Affairs), Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, says: “Creating a generation that understands environmental sustainability is key to building a resilient future. Although we do not have a specific module on this for our UG Social Science and Social Work programs, we do have different components within these programs that deal with environmental awareness.

In line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the institute is in the process of introducing a common/value added course focusing on environmental awareness in all UG curricula. “For 2022, we are introducing a new UG curriculum on sustainability analysis and studies. We are awaiting the UG curriculum structure and UGC guidelines to implement the same from our next academic session,” Shajahan adds.

At the DU, UG students of all specializations have adopted the module wholeheartedly. “Most students understand that if the environmental indicators are not up to par, it shows a lack of growth in all areas. Many UG students are involved in sustainability projects such as waste recycling, water recycling and even helping to make the campus greener. Environmental awareness enables the overall growth of students,” says Sharma.

With this in mind, the University is introducing refresher courses in addition to the compulsory six-month module at UG level to help students become green warriors.

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