Components of EE

  • Education about the environment – Basic knowledge and understanding of the environment and our complex relationship with it.
  • Education in or from the environment – Using the environment as a natural laboratory for planned inquiry and investigation.
  • Education for environmental awareness – Values, attitudes and positive actions

(Source: Palmer, J.A., “Environmental Education: Structure and Practice”, Environmental Education in the 21st Century, 1998.)

EE - formal and non-formal

At the formal level, schools, colleges and universities have taken up environmental education. In the year 2003, the Honourable Supreme Court of India directed that Environmental Education should be taught as a compulsory subject at all levels of education. In spite of this order, environmental education as part of formal education is still in its infancy.

EE would be very effective if:

  • teachers, who would integrate EE into the formal curricula, are properly trained and motivated. They should teach EE on a multi-disciplinary basis rather than as a separate subject.
  • greater emphasis is on practical experience related to the environment rather than classroom learning.

Non-formal methods could be more effective, as the theme of environment is topical, practicable and relatable. The focus is mostly on rural – largely illiterate – areas. 

Most efforts in this field are by the local and international NGOs. The lack of educational resources and trained manpower are the major limitations in the effective utilisation of non-formal environmental education.