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Environmental Studies NOW 2012

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Environmental Studies NOW makes a plea to expand the domain of Environmental problem solving from the domain of the Sciences to include Humanities such Politics, History, Culture for solving problems in Nepal eg Community Forestry and Climate Change governance as well as that of the Earth, by making overdue changes in Environmental curriculum in Universities beginning with Nepal

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Environmental Studies NOW 2012

  1. 1. ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES – NOW! Amulya Ratna Tuladhar Professor of Environmental Sciences
  2. 2. Environmental Studies – Now!  Environmental studies is long overdue in Nepal  Attempts to offer environmental studies  Deficiencies of such programs  ‘Ideal’ program in environmental studies ?
  3. 3. Environmental Studies – Now! Environmental programs classifiable into: a) general environmental science programs; b) environmental technology programs; and c) interdisciplinary environmental programs
  4. 4. Environmental Studies – Now! LACKING : A comprehensive environmental studies program In a coherent package all relevant disciplines for understanding and solving environmental problems in Nepal and in
  5. 5. Environmental Studies – Now! ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLES Existing academic programs in environment
  6. 6. Environmental Studies – Now! An ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM will be proposed DELIVERY of such environmental studies program
  7. 7. Environmental Studies – Now! ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE PROGRAMS Masters and Bachelors program in Environmental Science offered by Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University
  8. 8. Environmental Studies – Now! ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE PROGRAMS  Theory, tools and content of a broad range of environmental problems  Content and approach are science based  Freshwater ecology to mountain ecology, from geology to climate change
  9. 9. Environmental Studies – Now! ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE PROGRAMS  No social science tools like economic or ethnographic analysis  Theoretical coverage is necessarily thin and superficial  Rigor or Content not better than Grade IX to Grade XII S.L.C, CBSE, and “A” level environment
  10. 10. Environmental Studies – Now! ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE PROGRAMS  Falling behind in content, due to Internet  Slow-paced institutional decision-making  Skill-oriented tools dangerously behind market needs  Examples can be given of GIS, Statistical Research Techniques, Social Science Research Skills, EIA, Thesis/Report/Technical Writing, Team and Individual Presentation with PowerPoint, Policy Analysis Skills
  11. 11. Environmental Studies – Now! ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE PROGRAMS  No governmental career track to get into like a Ministry of Environment environmental science cadre like forestry, agriculture and medical cadre.  Career opportunities diffuse, mostly in NGO, INGO, entrepreunial sector in non- environmental sectors
  12. 12. Environmental Studies – Now! ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS, Associated with sectoral ministries related to environment: Forestry, agriculture, water resources, etc My experience in forestry education
  13. 13. Environmental Studies – Now! ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS,  Human resources to solve technical environmental problems important to the country  Foresters conserve the productivity of forests,  Agriculturists are expected to boost food  Water resource engineers harness water for irrigation and power generation.
  14. 14. Environmental Studies – Now! ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS,  Commonality of all environmental technology programs is the skill-oriented, depth training  Limited slew of theoretical menu so unlike general environmental science programs  Lack the theoretical breadth and depth
  15. 15. Environmental Studies – Now! ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS,  Programs high on national agenda  Historically drawn donor support for infrastructure building, human resource capacity  Million dollars worth of grant and loans from World Bank to USAID for Institute Of Forestry
  16. 16. Environmental Studies – Now! ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS,  To produce community forestry oriented ‘officer’ and ‘ranger’ level manpower for the 20 year Forestry Sector Master Plan of 1989  Current turnaround from deforestation to forest increase in the midhills
  17. 17. Environmental Studies – Now! ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS,  Systemic problems: the theoretical depth is limited  Actual job of forestry is 10% science and technology and 90% social, politics, law and administration.  Exposure to social science, economics, political science, development theory, policy and law or environmental ethics is either nil or token
  18. 18. Environmental Studies – Now! ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS,  Forest graduates getting into a government forestry career has dwindled from 100% before the 1980s to less then 20% in 2011  Foresters muddle along  Rarely capable of holding on their own professionally
  19. 19. Environmental Studies – Now! ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS,  These programs do not prepare student for:  Environmental problems such as sustainable development, green economy, climate change, gender mainstreaming, or even higher order ecological and environmental modeling increasing on demand in Nepal and
  20. 20. Environmental Studies – Now! INTERDISCIPLINARY ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS  Academic homes different from the sciences  Examples are Malpi International College :Environmental Ethics.  The School of Environmental Management and Sustainable Development (Schemes) : Masters in Environmental Management  School of Education and School of Arts of Kathmandu University: Masters programs in Environmental Education and Sustainable Development, Development Studies and Human and Natural Resources Studies
  21. 21. Environmental Studies – Now! INTERDISCIPLINARY ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS  Subjects such as Global Climate Change and Sustainable Development, Population and Development, Forestry and Wildlife Management with Conservation of Protected Areas, Conflict and Gender Studies
  22. 22. Environmental Studies – Now! INTERDISCIPLINARY ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS  Less than a decade old  Have donor support  Agile enough to introduce new subjects quickly as market demands
  23. 23. Environmental Studies – Now! INTERDISCIPLINARY ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS  Do not have coherent vision or cadre of teachers  Dependent on the efficiency of the leader (dean or program coordinator  Programs are volatile and fragile  Not recognized as minimum professional degrees for government sectoral ministries  Graduates are destined for nongovernmental environmental job market
  24. 24. Environmental Studies – Now! INTERDISCIPLINARY ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS  Face stiff competition from excess environmental science and technology graduates as well more highly trained manpower with training from abroad or from more experienced human resources.  Most graduate do find some jobs since the environmental market is still booming and can tolerate weak candidates  As demands exceeds supply
  25. 25. Environmental Studies – Now! INTERDISCIPLINARY ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS  Interdisciplinary programs still do not equip the students for the whole range of concepts and skills necessary for the market  Examples include training in political ecology, discourse analysis, climate change vulnerability and environmental modeling
  26. 26. Environmental Studies – Now! AN “IDEAL” ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM FOR NEPAL Offer access to all the necessary disciplines relevant to solving the environmental problems in Nepal now and in the foreseeable future
  27. 27. Environmental Studies – Now! AN “IDEAL” ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM FOR NEPAL  Should not be a science only or technology only or social science only program that has been tried out in various institutions in Nepal  Housed only in a central campus with access to faculty in at least three major categories: the sciences, the technologies, and the social sciences and humanities.
  28. 28. Environmental Studies – Now! AN “IDEAL” ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM FOR NEPAL  An ideal environmental studies program should have a general exposure Bachelor program of 4 years and specialist graduate program of 2 years for Masters and a 3 year for Ph.D.
  29. 29. Environmental Studies – Now! AN “IDEAL” ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM FOR NEPAL  The Bachelor Program should offer compulsory courses with 1/3 weightage in sciences, technology and humanities with the option to major in particular stream in the 4th year.  The Bachelor program should introduce students to all concepts, terms, tools, issues necessary for understanding and solving environmental problems and much of this is downloadable from internet and standard textbooks  The aim is to offer the broad domain of choices in environmental career not to train specialist
  30. 30. Environmental Studies – Now! AN “IDEAL” ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM FOR NEPAL  Currently, nearly all the graduate (Masters) programs in Nepal are at this level:  Internet downloadable concepts, tools, and definitions without any preparations for analysis/synthesis, critical thinking, and presentation to solve real world environmental problems that are NOT downloadable or memorisable from standard textbooks.
  31. 31. Environmental Studies – Now! AN “IDEAL” ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM FOR NEPAL  The Master’s program should be designed to produce specialist (Master) who can solve complex environmental problems that require critical analysis and synthesis of theories, concepts, tools and methodologies across sciences, technologies and social sciences and humanities.
  32. 32. Environmental Studies – Now! AN “IDEAL” ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM FOR NEPAL  First year of synthetic course such as gender issues in environment, environmental history of landuse landcover changes, sustainable development and vulnerability analysis, carbon sequestration modeling, GIS and remote sensing in environment etc  No standard textbook answers or copy and paste internet resources or model answers to model questions
  33. 33. Environmental Studies – Now! AN “IDEAL” ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM FOR NEPAL  Seminar mode of teaching in which students do their own research in libraries, field, internet, discuss and participate in both vertical and lateral learning, make presentations, prepare proposals, conduct research and formulate conclusions that can be disseminated in international refereed journals.  The second year should have at least one semester of internship and one semester of thesis study with the option for delving into depth with selected directed readings on specific topics with the faculty
  34. 34. Environmental Studies – Now! DELIVERY OF ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM  Range of human resources/teachers in a full- fledged mega campus or central university campus  TU administration is too big and unwieldy to deliver fast changing, quality programs needed for environmental studies program as the decision making system is too slow.  The Environmental Science of TU is undergoing syllabus review after 10 years now
  35. 35. Environmental Studies – Now! DELIVERY OF ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM  Contrast this with KU management  Professor are given the trust and liberty to upgrade the course each semester and  Have total control over grading.  Even the program course structure is open to modification every 2-3 years.
  36. 36. Environmental Studies – Now! DELIVERY OF ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM  Second, the environmental studies needs access to quality teachers and students and this self-feeding  Quality teachers, mostly from professional field with recent experience and more relevant trainings are to be hired with attractive pay package and benefits as well as creative freedom  Recruiting top quality students who are willing to pay high fees, face stiff selections  Promise of great training and great job prospects
  37. 37. Environmental Studies – Now! DELIVERY OF ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM  Many TU programs are struggling to fill in seats  Accept whoever applies and  Have poor quality teachers because  Cannot offer good pay nor academic freedom.
  38. 38. Environmental Studies – Now! ANNEXES:  Environmental Studies program from Kentucky University  IOF Master’s program in NRM & Rural Development  NEC Master’s program in NRM and IWRM, Pokhara University  Schemes Masters in Environmental Management, Pokhara U  School of Arts, KU, Masters Program in HNRS & Dev Studies  School of Education, KU, Masters Program in EESD.  School of Science, KU, Masters Program in

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