UGC made environmental studies compulsory

October 11, 2014

Delhi University (DU) students now have to take up a compulsory course in Environmental Studies in the first or second semester for its undergraduate courses as mandated by University Grants Commission (UGC). The course is being introduced in the current academic session and, according to DU, "shall be taken up by a student either in the first or second semester of his/her study as a qualifying course for 100 marks as per the scheme notified for the three-year undergraduate programme", according to PTI. "The evaluation for the course will be undertaken by the respective colleges who will later send the evaluated marks to the examination branch through the existing mechanism," Dean of Examinations Prof Rup Lal added in a circular to the principals. While the course will be available only in English during the present session, efforts are on to introduce it in Hindi as well in the coming sessions, said M.K. Pandit, a professor in DU's Environmental Science department. Directives were issued by the UGC to colleges and varsities all over India in 2004 as per a Supreme Court order for starting a six-month mandatory environmental science course. However, the implementation of the course was delayed due to the time-consuming process of curriculum development and infrastructural upgrade, varsity officials said. "The course will not be completely theoretical but will include 25 per cent weightage for field work. Students will be taught through lectures, seminars, video presentations, field visits, excursions, project work, report writing and presentations," said Pandit. According to the teachers in the Environmental Science department, it is important for the students to have a knowledge about what is happening to the earth and its resources. "The interdisciplinary course will be helpful in imparting knowledge to undergraduates from all educational backgrounds. "It will not only give them a better understanding of environmental issues at the local, regional and global levels but also help them develop lateral thinking in this area," added Pandit. Ecosystems, renewable and non-renewable natural resources, biodiversity and conservation, pollution, environmental policies and practices, exploitation of mineral, land, water resources and deforestation will be among the subjects covered as part of the course.

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