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The GREEN Olympiad: An innovative experiment in the field of Education for Sustainable Development

INTRODUCTION

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is all about education practices within the framework of sustainability. ESD focuses on a whole school approach and bridges gaps between the social, economic and ecological concerns facing the entire school community. A concerted effort to impart education that will create an enlightened and empowered citizenry is a step towards attaining development that is socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. Project GREEN Olympiad by TERI is an excellent case study that talks about practical implications of adoption of ESD in the school framework.

What is the GREEN Olympiad?

The Environment Education and Awareness group within The Energy and Resources Institute organizes India's premier 'Environment' Olympiad held in a bilingual medium. The 'GREEN Olympiad' is a written examination comprising objective questions that tests the student's knowledge, application and analytical skills; and simultaneously spread awareness through informative questions in a booklet that can be retained by the student. The growth of the Olympiad in terms of its extent and numbers indicate its success and acceptability in the academic circle. From an outreach of 200 schools in 1999, it now reaches out to approximately 2000 schools and can be attempted by students of classes 4-10.

The 'GREEN Olympiad' is not just restricted to India, but has gone international with participation of schools from Nepal, Singapore, Kenya Indonesia, Iran, Bhutan, Sultanate of Oman, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Mexico D.F. Another indication of the quality of the Olympiad can be gauged from the fact that it is endorsed by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The Olympiad has forged strong linkages with the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, and Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, and has also been endorsed by Goa State Education Department here.

This Olympiad provides youth in Goa an opportunity to test, compare and assess their green quotient vis-a-vis national as well as international standards. On an average, around 20 schools with around 1000 students have been participating in this Olympiad in Goa annually since 2004. It is hoped that each and every student in Goa benefits by increasing their environment quotient, and further takes positive action for their environment, through participation in this Olympiad in the coming years.

This year the 'GREEN Olympiad' is themed under 'Our Environment' and schools can choose the examination date from the two options provided. To register, download sample question papers and for additional information log on to www.terin.org/olympiad

Student's view:

"The GREEN Olympiad examination aims at testing our knowledge and simultaneously developing it. It gives us a wider perspective in the form of a challenging, and at the same time, an interesting set of questions based on every aspect of environment and sustainability. This is such an Olympiad where just "test preparation" doesn't help, but years of casual reading about the topics gives you an upper edge while answering. Forme, it also made me face questions on issues which I hadn't even heard before, which in turn compelled me to know more about it later. Overall, with the anxiousness to perform well, combined with the enormous learning aspect, answering the GREEN Olympiad is an exciting, interesting and enriching experience." - Atharva Kenkre, Mushtifund High School, Panjim, Goa

Teacher's view:

A Goan school teacher's views on the GREEN Olympiad: The GREEN Olympiad is a written quiz introduced and conducted by TERI for the children of 4th standard onwards. It not only aims at creating an awareness on the sustainability of the environment but reinforcing the same. It increases the thirst for knowledge by tapping their questioning minds for which they have to be one with nature. - Ms Perpetua Araujo, Coordinator, Junior School-Sharada Mandir, Mira-mar, Goa

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