ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION IN THE SCHOOLS OF COIMBATORE DISTRICT, TAMIL NADUChandran R. and P.A. Azeez
Subsequent to the directives from the Supreme Court of India, Environmental Education (EE) was incorporated in Indian school curricula as an infused subject, for more than a decade now. The EE subject was aimed to produce environmentally informed citizens who are knowledgeable concerning the local environment and its associated problems, aware of how to solve these problems, and motivated to work towards their solutions. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that environmental education in its present form is not meeting the directives of the Indian Supreme Court order because of poor integration. In this context, the study reported in this paper was designed and implemented to investigate the reasons behind the sensed anecdotal failure of environmental education in Indian secondary schools. The focus of the study was on subject-specific impacts from the perspective of secondary schools students in the Coimbatore region (Tamil, Nadu). A set of variables (learning atmosphere, teaching practice, coping with aspirations of the students and bringing in behavioral changes) were taken into consideration to assess the impacts of the subjects in the curricula on the students. A custom-made questionnaire was used for collecting data and responses were obtained from 347 individuals from nine schools. Subject-wise impact study revealed that school has given special focus to Science teaching (frequently handled), because, studentsâ higher educational plans were highly revolved around this subject learning. The Social studies was most instrumental in instilling studentsâ learning interests and the mother tongue (Tamil language) was influential in evoking positive behavioral changes among the students. The overall impact of EE was minimal (9%) in the classroom, securing the last position among all subjects. The study, while revealing the status of EE in high school education system as unsatisfactory, highlights the pressing need for standardizing and upgrading the learning environment for it as a separate subject.