11th November is celebrated as National Education Day in India every year since 2008. The day is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad – the first Union Education Minister of India.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
Maulana Azad is considered to be the driving force behind shaping of the modern education system of the country. The first IIT, IISc, School of Planning and Architecture and the University Grants Commission were established under his tenure as the education minister. He was also behind the establishment of the most prominent cultural and literary academies including the Sangeet Natak Academy, Lalit Kala Academy, Sahitya Academy as well as the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
Importance of Inclusion of Waste Management in Modern Education System
With increasing population and new innovations, the needs of humans evolve with time. Education needs to adapt to this evolution in order to manage the ecosystem efficiently.
Lack of including waste management in education for so long has resulted in the accumulation of waste in landfills. The ignorance of people towards it has contributed to the problem rather than solving it. In order to tackle this, lessons on the waste management need to be included in the curriculum of children so that they can be pioneers of conservation of the environment in the future. On this National Education Day, let us look at a CSR initiative that is making an effort to introduce a digital curriculum on waste management in public schools of Maharashtra.
Waste No More – A CSR initiative for Modern Education System
Hindustan Unilever Limited and India2022 Coalition led by Xynteo has announced a collaboration with the School Education Department, Government of Maharashtra to launch a year-long initiative ‘Waste No More’. The initiative offers specially curated digital school curriculum on waste management for public schools’ students through DIKSHA app, developed by the Government of Maharashtra.
Shri Vishal Solanki, Commissioner, Education, State of Maharashtra said, ‘Children play an important role in advocating environment conservation within the communities. The Government of Maharashtra is committed to its vision of improving cleanliness and sanitation in the state through waste management and segregation. Through the ‘Waste No More’ initiative, we will be able to collectively as a community bring about a change in attitude and behaviour within communities and children have the potential to lead the transformation.’’
The digital curriculum is curated by Academy for Earth Sustainability (AES), organisation engaged in co-designing, building, and facilitating experiential learning programs in partnership with HUL and Xynteo. The curriculum focuses on the Waste No More programme, self-learning modules, interesting interactive content and cartoon animation videos to ignite students’ and teachers’ passion for the environment.
Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman and Managing Director, Hindustan Unilever Limited, said, “At Hindustan Unilever, we are deeply committed to playing our part in India’s fight against environmental damage and plastic pollution. We see children as the powerful changemakers, drivers of behavioural change at home and in the communities. Our collaboration with Xynteo and Government of Maharashtra is one more step towards cultivating our change catalysts while spreading awareness in the communities.”
As part of the India2022 coalition, Waste No More pilot programme was executed in Kolhapur and Nashik, where 80,000 students across 1,550 schools were inducted on sustainable waste disposal and segregation methods. It was also induced in the MSCERT ‘Summer Camp’ initiative’, wherein Waste No More content has received over 83,940 views on DIKSHA App.
Subhashini Chandran, Managing Director, Xynteo India said, “The ‘Waste No More’ programme has received a tremendous response from children in school. We are delighted to bring this programme to Government schools across the State under the guidance of the Maharashtra State Council of Educational Research and Training. This programme will help sow the seeds of environmental consciousness in every student it reaches, laying the ground for building a future abundant with aware and responsible citizens.‘’
India2022 Coalition is in discussion with three states to extend the ‘Waste No More’ programme as part of the educational curriculum, with the aim to reach at least 2.5 million children.