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Outreach


Outreach has been a core mandate of the institution since its inception. Its voluntary effort at training teachers in imparting environment education in schools since its inception in 1994 has today resulted in the development of a special expertise that the institute is known for nationally. This has also resulted in the development of a separate department for outreach activities besides the regular activities of NSS.

The School Environment Education Program has included 90 schools over the last five years and has trained more than 500 teachers through 56 workshops and seminars. The total number of students who have been involved in the program over the last five years is around 40,000. Indirectly by virtue of being the Resource Agency for the NGC program the Institute reaches to 8850 schools in the state.

The Masters students are provided with opportunities to participate in the school program that helps in enhancing their communication skills as well as provides them with direct experience of working with schools during the course itself.

A description the outreach projects are given below :

Ongoing

Ongoing

Environment Education and Action for Sustainable Development for schools in Maval, Mulshi and Karjat Tehsils, funded by the Tata Power Company

The Mulshi, Mawal and Karjat talukas lie in the Northern Western Ghats a hotspot of biodiversity. Pressures of unsustainable development destroy the rich biodiversity in the area. While development is aspired by the population, it is essential that they have the requisite knowledge and abilities to make the decisions that foster sustainability and result in long term benefit. Thus the long term well being of the people of Maval, Mulshi and Karjat region will depend on the perception of its people on the pattern of development envisioned for it’s the changing land use pattern for the area. Sustainability cannot become a felt need unless people become conscious of the problems that will be increasingly faced by the community that lives in this highly man-modified landscape. The initiatives that can be taken by the people to better their own environment can only take place through a locale specific environment education program based on the three pillars of sustainability namely economic, social and environmental.

The best way to attempt to bring about a change in the society is through children. They have no vested interests. They are impressionable. They are our future.. Schools and school children are important conduits to society. This program aims to utilize this opportunity to reach out to community. The program mainly focuses on knowledge construction, skill development and harnessing traditional knowledge of the region to design sustainability initiatives.

The program in being implemented in twenty five rural and wilderness schools in these regions where apart from knowledge construction sessions students are involved in environment action such as setting up vermicomposting drums, garden of indigenous vegetables, documenting their local biodiversity, solid waste surveys in the villages and communicating environmental concerns to their own community. It facilitates transfer of traditional knowledge from the elders in the community to the children and scientific concepts of conservation from the school to the community.

BVIEER Environment Action Programme, funded by Godrej Lawkim Motors Group

The long term wellbeing of the people of Shirval region will depend on the perception of its people on the pattern of development envisioned for the changing land use pattern for the area. Sustainability cannot become a felt need unless people become conscious of the problems that will be increasingly faced by the community that lives in this highly man-modified landscape. A realization of how the regions environmental assets have today become problems is essential if people need to be motivated to act for environmental preservation. The initiatives measures that can be taken by the people to better their own environment can only take place through a locale specific environment education program based on the three pillars of sustainability namely economic, social and environmental.

This project is specifically designed for the needs of this region and consists of developing a locale specific environment education program in schools that is supported by school teachers trained in environment education. This envisions training teachers in delivering environment programs and planning and implementing action projects along with the development of clearly defined action oriented environment education (EE) modules for classes between standard V and IX. The issues that have been dealt with include linking concepts such as energy, waste management, forest and biodiversity conservation, sustainability and local governance to the school students existing curriculum. This is implemented through action oriented learning using a whole school approach. The program has been structured with a specific focus on capacity building of teachers and implementation of specially designed environment education modules at the school level through the trained teachers and supported by expertise from BVIEER.

  • A locale specific environment education program for the Mulshi and Mawal talukas in Pune distict funded by the Tata Power Company. (2011-2013)
  • DNA Club Program (Ongoing from September 2007) funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.

The Institute of Environment Education and Research, Bharati Vidyapeeth University (BVEER) has been appointed as the Regional Resource Agency for the DNA Club Program by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India for the states of Maharashtra and Goa.

The DNA Club program that seeks to proactively involve school children into a process that enhances the development of a better understanding of bio-resources and the role biotechnology can play in their sustainable management and utilization is a small but important step in this direction. This National program is being implemented across the country and involves capacity building at the teacher and student level alongwith development of interactive teaching-learning modules.

‘Conservation education for critically important National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries through a comprehensive environment education program’ funded by the India-Canada Environment Facility, New Delhi (2004-07)

The Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of Environment Education and Research, (BVIEER) Pune has been implementing a conservation education project in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The project covers local schools, the local communities and the Forest Department staff who are the key stakeholders in the vicinity of two Protected Areas and the nearest district headquarters in each of the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

In Uttar Pradesh the project is implemented in 30 schools around the Dudhwa National Park and 30 Lucknow Zoological Park along with the nearby towns of Kheri and Lucknow. In Madhya Pradesh the Protected Areas include Sanjay National Park and Bandhavgarh National Park along with the neighbouring towns of Sidhi and Umaria where the project is being implemented in 30 schools around each of the Protected Areas./p>

The main project purpose was to enhance community support for biodiversity conservation in Protected Areas through a locale specific structured environment education program at the school level, with capacity building among local Government officials, village communities and tourists. This comprehensive programme focused on three target groups: local communities (including teachers and students), frontline staff of the Forest Department and tourists for fostering greater awareness and interest in conservation.

Project Components

Project Components

The project had several major components as given below. These have been implemented over a three year period (2004-2007)

  • Building partnerships with the State Department of Education and the State Forest Department for implementation of the project.
  • Strengthening intersectoral linkages
  • Environmentalizing school curricula
    • Empowering teachers to deliver environment concepts
    • Conducting school programs as part of the curricula
    • Developing relevant resource material
  • Empowering the community
    • Capacity building for participation in the tourism trade
  • Developing practices for sustainable tourism around National Parks
    • Bringing interventions in state policy for ecotourism and conservation education
    • Training forest guides as nature interpreters
    • Setting up interpretation centres to orient visitors
  • ‘Preparation of an under graduate textbook on Environment’ funded by the University Grants Commission (2005)

    The project involved preparing the teaching material based on the six months compulsory core module syllabus for Environmental studies for Undergraduate courses of all branches of Higher Education in the form of book. Environmental studies was introduced as a compulsory subject for all the B.A, B.Com and B.Sc students.

‘Study of status of infusion of environmental concepts in school curricula and the effectiveness of its delivery’ through the India Environment Management Capacity funded by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India, New Delhi through the World Bank. (1999-2003)

This project is the first of its kind to be taken up at such a large scale by any country in the world. The first part of the project involved analyzing the textbooks of all the 32 states of the country to assess the level of infusion of environmental concepts in school curricula in the textbooks of Science, Social Studies and Languages. A new methodology for Content Analysis was developed to be able to make qualitative and quantitative assessments.

The second part of the study involved conducting a sample study in 10 states of the country to assess teaching methods presently used for delivering environmental concepts in schools to provide insights into the methods and materials being used to teach these concepts in an effective way and to investigate the major barriers towards effective environmental education.

The project has identified a variety of key issues.

  • a) The project has reviewed the contents of the National and all State curricula and 1849 textbooks for standards 1 to 12 against the criteria developed and prepared a report on the same. This report provides a State summary, a standard wise overview of the content coverage and gaps and a detailed commentary on each state’s curricula and textbooks and their environmental content. The report has also highlighted the specific concepts, information, data, examples and activities that have been included to help students understand the biogeography, environmental resources, environmental problems of their State, etc.
  • b) A set of criteria and listing of concepts related to environment and sustainable development, which should be taught at various levels of school education through a participatory process involving experts from various disciplines has been developed.
  • c) Guidelines for desirable and effective teaching methods and practices for environment education have been outlined.

On the recommendations of the Institute the findings of this project were implemented in ten states in the country. The new textbooks designed on the basis of the findings of the report were used in 100 schools for standards VI, VII and VIII in the ten selected states in the second phase of the project as a pilot study. In Maharashtra the Institute has been actively involved in the design of these new textbooks, which have been produced through a series of meetings attended by BVIEER faculty. The SCERT conducted workshops for teachers of the 100 schools, in which the BVIEER played a major role in training the teachers.

‘Design of Evaluation Strategies for the Environment Education in School system’ funded by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (2004)

The evaluation study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of EE materials developed for the ‘Environment Education in the School System’ (EESS) project with regard to process documentation of development of new textbooks by textbook writers, effectiveness of new textbooks and effectiveness of new supplementary educational materials. It also involves evaluation of the efficacy of the training workshops for capacity building in environment education and use of the environmentalized textbooks. The project focused on designing strategies for evaluating change in teacher capacities, change in students environment related behaviour and to evaluate the overall implementation of the EE program in the selected schools. A wide spectrum of tools such as written questionnaires, interviews, observations and content analysis of the new textbooks were used while evaluating the implementation of the program.

‘Evaluation of the Environment Education in the school system’ project, funded by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. (2005)

The evaluation program for the implementation of the EESS project entailed visits to the eight states for accessing textbook writers, teachers and students. The project evaluated the level of expertise developed at the textbook writer level, teacher level for implementing environment education and the student level in terms of enhancing knowledge and initiating action.

The Evaluation Report has commented on the following aspects:

  • Effectiveness of the content of the new textbooks through a comparative content analysis
  • New terminologies used in the textbooks and comment on the process of infusion of these new concepts.
  • The process of production and infusion of environmental concepts and other new EE materials for the project.
  • Adequacy of training for teachers provided in terms of enhancement of knowledge,skills and attitudes.
  • Enhancement of teacher capacity in delivering environmental concepts and their involvement in organizing EE programmes.
  • Document implementation of various innovative activities done both within the curricula and co-curricular along with an assessment of the pattern of activities carried out in the different schools from each State.
  • Change in students' knowledge about the environment, change in attitude and behaviour of the students towards the environment.
  • The role of materials, activities, and teaching methods introduced under this program in bringing about these changes in students’ knowledge, attitude and skills.
  • Overall implementation of the EE program in the selected schools.

An action oriented locale specific conservation awareness program for prioritized wetlands in Maharashtra’, funded by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India (2008-2010)

This project is being implemented in the three prioritized wetlands which include two major Protected Areas of Nandur Madhmeshwar in Nashik district and Jaikwadi in Aurangabad District and the extremely fragile backwaters of Ujjani dam near Bhigwan in Pune district. Five villages around each of these wetlands were identified and used for conservation awareness program and one or two adjacent townships.

The major activities done included:

  • Mapping of productive and consumptive resource use and resource use areas, seasonal water quality monitoring and assessment of impacts through socio-economic surveys.
  • Assessment of the socio-ecological values, biodiversity values, aquatic floral and faunal values, cultural and religious values of wetlands.
  • Enumeration of birds, assessment of habitat quality and changes in agricultural patterns
  • Preparation of locale specific educational material.
  • Dissemination of information on the importance of conservation through school programs, community meetings.

An assessment of the wetland resources and resource consumption patterns for the various seasons was done. This involved mapping of productive and consumptive resources use and resource use areas, seasonal water quality monitoring both pre-monsoon, monsoon and post-monsoon, an assessment of environmental impacts through socio-economic surveys, semi structured interviews and seasonal bird counts. This study also included an evaluation of the less overt resources and functions of the wetland, which constitute gaps in local knowledge has been done.

The findings were discussed with a small group of local people and this has led to the development of a conservation awareness action program using locale specific environment education material in surrounding villages and towns. A set of posters in local language with visuals were conceptualized, designed and produced for the three prioritized wetlands. Copies of this have been distributed in the schools in the five villages and the neighboring towns.

A school environment education program is being conducted in 15 schools around each of the three wetlands. The modules include audio-visuals on the environment, environmental games, mapping of resource use and land use patterns around the wetlands, bird identification sessions, preparation of posters and competitions.

‘Health Care and Environment Education for Underprivileged Groups in Pune’ funded by the Anil and Chitra Deshpande Foundation, USA (2008-2010)

The disease patterns in society that is prevalent due to inadequate management of their common environment and that prevalent in their waste and dumping areas, both authorized and unauthorized is an important concern especially in the lower socio-economic groups. The need to reuse resources such as water, plastic, etc. that even in this resource starved area are invariably disposed off as being useless is another example of a locale specific concern that needs to be addressed. Even the small open space left between dwellings can frequently be used for planting a tree that can give shade in hot summer months. This project focused on connecting environmental education to several health related issues for mainly the lower economic strata of Pune which could be used to upscale the model in future.

The program involved two main components. The first an environment action program in 20 schools from the lower socio-economic strata situated in and around slums. The program has involved students in selected classes from 6th , 7th and 8th standards in environment action programs based on their own observation of problems and their own ideas for improvements of their surroundings. Thus health surveys identifying commonly occurring diseases, water quality analysis, setting up vermicompost pits have been done. The program has reached out to 1435 students.

The second component involved developing planning strategy and planning guidelines with the involvement of experts in the subject with a view to promote this as a tool for future expansion of Pune and for further development by the Municipal Corporation. Quality of life indices have been prepared for various areas of the mega and the information has been widely disseminated to official and non official agencies and individuals.

Clean-India Program funded by Development Alternatives (2004-2009)

The CLEAN India is a national level program of the Development Alternatives, an NGO based in New Delhi. The program envisions the involvement of school students throughout the country in environmental monitoring and taking relevant action. This involves orientation workshops for the NGO coordinators and teachers of the selected schools. These trained teachers will then train school children of local schools. The activities included are water monitoring, air monitoring, tree plantation, vermicomposting, anti cracker campaign, bird watching, campaign for Natural Holi colors etc. 15 schools from Pune are involved in this program.

Strategy for Enhancing Biodiversity Education and Awareness’ funded by the world Wide Fund For Nature- India and the Biodiversity Support Program which is a USAID Consortium. (1998)

The Biodiversity Conservation Prioritisation Project (BCPP) had a large number of modules under several Project leaders to assess the status of biodiversity at different sites, suggest through a participatory process a framework for understanding the status of wild plant and animal species as well as that of wilderness habitats. It also focused attention on community participation in documenting and managing biodiversity at the community level. The study also included a variety of other important field studies. The study on Biodiversity education, awareness and training in both the formal and non-formal education sectors in 8 states of the country, was awarded to the Director of the BVIEER, Pune.

To achieve this the BVIEER team studied the curricula and textbooks for biodiversity related issues from the 8 selected States, met personnel from National and State level Departments of Education, NCERT and SCERT officials, School Principals, teachers, students and NGOs involved in the process of education and awareness generation. The project included 22 focal studies.

The conservation education program identified those individuals who maximally effect biodiversity and those who can effectively induce a change in behavior of a large number of people to conserve biodiversity. The objectives of the Biodiversity Education, Awareness and Training aspects of the Biodiversity Conservation Prioritisation Project were :

  • 1. To study the status of education and awareness aspects of biodiversity conservation. (This includes formal curricula, activities of NGOs and the information provided through mass communication).
  • 2. To assess the levels of information and gaps in knowledge in different sections of society Urban, Rural, Wilderness dwellers and key individuals who manage biodiversity.
  • 3. To establish how an interest in `nature' conservation is initiated in society.
  • 4. To establish how information changes to awareness and produces a concern for biodiversity which leads to conservation action.
  • 5. To conceptualize and design a more effective method of enhancing knowledge of biodiversity in the educational sector.
  • 6. To identify the most effective methods to sensitize different target groups towards bringing about conservation. Thus prioritizing the most important methods to influence people so as to move towards a mass awareness movement.

This led to a practical and implementable action orientated strategy to further the cause of biodiversity conservation in the country.

‘Awareness generation and capacity building of local communities for sustainable generation and resources in an ecologically sensitive area in Mulshi and Maval Taluka of Pune District’ funded by the UNDP’s - Small Grants Program (2002-2004)

The project area is situated in the Western Ghats in the Mawal and Mulshi talukas and covers 22 villages. These villages are situated in the 'hotspot' of biological diversity of global, National and state level significance. In the Mawal and Mulshi Talukas changes in land use patterns, due to population growth as well as land and resource pressures induced by development processes have led to a rapid escalation in the rate of depletion of local natural resources.

This project is providing the necessary information that would assist local people in selecting the appropriate measure that would help mitigate the deepening environmental crisis in the region. This project is being done through the collective efforts of rural schoolteachers, community leaders, women and interested NGOs. The outreach aspects of this activity through the use of highly locale specific visual material are displayed in village market squares, village fairs and another appropriate occasions. The development of pisciculture in village ponds and setting up nurseries of indigenous plant species in some of the villages is a part of the project.

The project is aimed at enhancing pro-environmental behavior among the community at large and through the local school students by using a mobile environment education facility that includes audio-visual material on land and water management, biodiversity conservation, local livelihood concerns and gender issues that will lead to conserving the natural resource assets of the area. The ultimate goal is to conserve local natural resources, which would help support the livelihood needs of the local farming, fishing and hunter-gather communities.

‘Training of Environment education for teachers through a formal Diploma’ funded by UNESCO, Paris (1998)

This initial grant from UNESCO helped BVIEER initiate a much needed formal training course for school teachers in environment education. This course has built capacities among teachers to be able to independently implement environment programs in the school.

‘Training teachers in Environment Education through the Diploma course’ funded by the Coorg Wildlife Society, Coorg (1998)

The Coorg Wild life Society sent eight teachers to undergo training in environment education through the Diploma course. The trained teachers have initiated successful programs in their own schools without support from resource persons. Several schools have taken up action projects for betterment of their immediate environments.

  • Similar Diploma courses were also conducted especially for the teachers from the Ahmednagar Education Society sponsored by the Bhausaheb Firodiya Trust.
  • Adapting a CD-Rom on Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable future’ funded by UNESCO, Bangkok (2002)

    This contract was award to BVIEER based on its expertise in designing and implementing environment education projects. This project involves adapting a CD-Rom that has been developed by UNESCO to suit Indian conditions and dissemination in schools in India.

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