New Delhi, May 4: While school textbooks contain concepts of sustainable development, bringing the same into practise seldom seems to be a part of the curriculum.
The seventh edition of Project SEARCH, an initiative of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Tetra Pak India was launched here recently to inculcate a sustainability mindset among school students.
"The program was first launched in the year 2009 and aims to enable school students, teachers, school communities and the society at large to adopt a life cycle approach to day to day living," says Supriya Singh, Fellow, Educating Youth for Sustainable Development, TERI.
The idea is to encourage young students and teachers to practice the 4Rs refuse, reuse, reduce, and recycle in their daily lives and make sustainable consumption choices. "The choices they make will ensure the sustainability of the planet in the years to come," says Singh.
The Project, has been implemented in 213 schools across India in the past six years. The objective of the programme, Singh says, is "to develop and hone leadership qualities of students and teachers to steer environmental campaigns and movements that are locally needed and globally relevant."
Under the project, which was awarded the 2012 Wenhui Award for Educational Innovation by UNESCO, the schools are expected to collect dry recyclable waste from the school premises, canteens, households and neighborhoods, to be picked up periodically by a local collection agency.
They are also expected to engage in knowledge workshops, leadership development programs, competitions and community campaigns throughout the year.
"It is a solutions oriented program that looks at the sustainability challenge as an opportunity to act in a manner that will have a huge impact on the society. Just in the last one year, we saved 47 tons of dry recyclable waste from going to the landfills," says Singh.
However, she points out that Project Search must not be seen merely as a school environment program. Instead, she says, "It is a mission to influence the overall development of school children. The very philosophy of Project SEARCH is to enable a young person to comprehend his or her relationship with self, family, society and most importantly with the environment."