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Exploring the ecology

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The United Nations along with the Indian Astrobiology Research Centre has launched a program that will familiarise school students across the country with the status quo of forests that lie between the Himalayas and the Amazon,says Neha Ghatpande

A study shows that almost 40 per cent of the salary of Indian parents is invested in their child’s education and many of them like their children to participate in various global initiatives and learn of different ways to be environmentally conscious.

The United Nations along with the Indian Astrobiology Research Centre (IARC) will be conducting two certification programs for school students from Mumbai, through which students will get to know more about forests and through them of the ecology of the world.

The General Assembly of the United Nations has declared the year 2011 as the International Year of Forests and will therefore be conducting several activities throughout the year to ensure that the new generation learns about the ecology.

“There is a study published recently which states that India will be hit the worst due to the global environmental problems. This program targets school children in an effort to reach directly to the roots and will make the new generation aware about the environment and the various problems that besiege it,” said Pushkar Vaidya, head scientist, IARC.

The course will be year long and which will include audio visuals based on DVDs, books and films. At the end of the course an exam will be conducted to test the understanding of students about forests around the world. This program is specifically built for the Indian school students. The UN along with IARC has approached 40 schools each from Surat, New Delhi and 50 schools from Bangalore. In Mumbai, the schools have been sent a circular in the first week of September and the enrolment will begin soon.

“The Brihanmumbai municipal corporation schools will be approached by us and for free of cost. We will be visiting class by class to make children get involved in the course,” added Vaidya.

Demographics of the Course at school level
The program is designed by scholars and scientists around the world to make students aware of the status quo of ecology of the world.
The students will also learn about the latest forest conservation techniques and the role of forests in global warming. The certification given to the students can help them in getting into various environment related courses as well as getting in the green jobs, which is according to the UN jobs that deal with agricultural and environmental sectors. The questions on environment are now part of the competitive exams as well in India.
To get the program in the school, schools will have to approach IARC at pushkar@astrobiology.co.in. This course is limited to the age group of 8 to 14years.

The qualifiers for the schools

This certification program is open for school affiliated to recognised education boards and educational trusts. The school conducting the program may offer special coaching and is permitted to charge up to Rs.100 as fees. This interaction is between the school and students will not be mediated by the IARC. School is allowed to retain Rs.20 per student to cover administrative costs including cost to conduct exam on premises. The registration for the schools will be within the period of October to December and the students will have to appear for examination in the month of January or February. 

Advanced course via distance education
A short-term course offered through the IYF 2011 Certification Program; is officially listed on the United Nations Calendar. It is a first of its kind short term course available in India, albeit for a limited period. The course will be available between September to December, 2011 and all undergraduate students are eligible for the course. The course is only an English CD based course enriched with several power point presentations, videos and e-books. The duration of the course will be two months through the distance learning and online examination will be conducted between January and February 2011 and the fees will be Rs.999.
 

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