From Practice to Policy in Environmental Education
This paper briefly describes an experimental environmental education course introduced into the school curriculum in a mountainous, rural area of Uttaranchal state in Northern India. The rationale for this experiment was the perceived need to try alternative approaches to environmental education to those mandated by existing government policy.The course is a joint venture between a local NGO and the central and state government departments of education. Following a 15-year development and testing phase, the course is being incorporated into the curriculum of all government schools in the state since 2002.
The implications of the results of this experiment for future environmental education policy are discussed. In essence, the experiment has been a collaborative learning experiment among policy makers, educational administrators, curriculum planners, textbook writers, teachers, children and parents. New ways of thinking and doing have emerged and are owned by all participants. The process involves questioning all our existing assumptions about education, science, history and, in general, the contemporary global cultural model.The paper concludes that at present environmental education policy could most usefully focus on fostering a variety of such experiments with the expectation that they will lead to more effective policies and practices in the long run.
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