Simply SCIENCE The fundamental aspect of the nature of

Simply speaking, theory refers to a
particular kind of explanation.  As
pointed out by Boss, Doherty, LaRossa, Schumm, & Steinmetz (1993: 20):
“Theorizing is the process of systematically formulating and organizing ideas
to understand a particular phenomenon. Thus, a theory is the set of
interconnected ideas that emerge from this process”.

The theoretical framework is the
structure that can support or hold the theory of the research study and it
guides the researcher in determining what things he /she needs to measure and
study. A theoretical framework consists of concepts, together with their
definitions, and existing theory/theories that are used for researcher’s
particular study. So the theoretical framework must demonstrate an
understanding of theories and concepts that are relevant to the topic of the
research paper.

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In the present study the researcher has
developed the theoretical framework on the basis of the history of
environmental education and the history of science education. Nature of science
and different educational commissions has also been taken account of. Since the
present study is basically about the responsiveness of the science curriculum
towards the environmental issues, the first topic to start with is the nature
of science, without which the essence of the study could not be highlighted.





The fundamental aspect of the nature of science has
developed over a period of time by the ways of observing, thinking,
experimenting, and validating. And this certainly reflects how science tends to
differ from other modes of knowing. The union of science, mathematics, and
technology forms the scientific Endeavour and this is that makes it so successful.
The nature of science is the key ideas and principles through which we can know
about the characteristics of scientific knowledge and which describes science
as a way of knowing. The nature of science consists of those seldom taught but
very important features of working science i.e.,its realms and limits , its
biases, its level of uncertainty , its socio aspect and the reasons for its

The main ideas regarding the nature of science are:

-scientific knowledge while durable has a tentative

is empirically based (based on or derived from
observation of the natural world)

– Science cannot provide a complete answer to all
the questions

-Science demands evidence

is inferential, imaginative and creative

-Science explains and predicts

– Science follows very specific rules and its
results are subject to testing and, if necessary, revision

-Science is not authoritarian

– There
Are Generally Accepted Ethical Principles in the Conduct of Science



Environmental Education today must be understood as
education for sustainability. The flow information and knowledge caused by
Environmental Education have the potential to build a new vision of the world
capable of guiding actions towards sustainability.

The history of environmental education can be searched back in
the 18th century when Jean
Jacques Rousseau stressed
the importance of an education that focuses on the environment in Emile: or, On Education.  There after several decades later, Louis Agassiz, a
Swiss-born naturalist, echoed Rousseau’s philosophy as he encouraged students
to “Study nature, not books.” The work of these two influential scholars helped
lay the foundation for a concrete environmental education program, known as nature study,
which took place in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

The nature study movement used fables and moral lessons to
help students develop an appreciation of nature and embrace the natural world. Anna Botsford Comstock, the head of
the Department of Nature Study at Cornell University, was a prominent figure in
the nature study movement and wrote the Handbook for Nature Study in 1911,
which used nature to educate children on cultural values. Comstock and the other leaders of the
movement, such as Liberty Hyde Bailey, helped Nature Study garner tremendous
amounts of support from community leaders, teachers, and scientists and change
the science curriculum for children across the United States.

A new type of environmental education, Conservation
Education, emerged as a result of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl during the 1920s and 1930s.
Conservation Education dealt with the natural world in a drastically different
way from Nature Study because it focused on rigorous scientific training rather
than natural history. Conservation
Education was a major scientific management and planning tool that helped solve
social, economic, and environmental problems during this time period.

The modern environmental education movement, which gained
significant momentum in the late 1960s and early 1970s, stems from Nature Study
and Conservation Education. During this time period, many events – such as
Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War – placed Americans at odds with
one another and the U.S. government. However, as more people began to fear the
fallout from radiation, the chemical pesticides mentioned in Rachel Carson’s Silent
Spring, and the significant amounts of air pollution and waste, the
public’s concern for their health and the health of their natural environment
led to a unifying phenomenon known as environmentalism.

education was born of the realization that solving complex local and global
problems cannot be accomplished by politicians and experts alone, but requires
“the support and active participation of an informed public in their
various roles as consumers, voters, employers, and business and community

One of the first articles about environmental education as a
new movement appeared in the Phi
Delta Kappan in 1969,
authored by James
A. Swan. A definition of
“Environmental Education” first appeared in The Journal of
Environmental Education in
1969, authored by William
B. Stapp. Stapp later went
on to become the first Director of Environmental Education for UNESCO, and then
the Global Rivers
International Network.

Ultimately, the first Earth
Day on April 22, 1970 – a
national teach-in about environmental problems – paved the way for the modern
environmental education movement. Later that same year, President Nixon passed
the National Environmental Education Act, which was intended to incorporate
environmental education into K-12 schools. Then, in 1971, the National
Association for Environmental Education (now known as the North American
Association for Environmental Education) was created to improve environmental
literacy by providing resources to teachers and promoting environmental
education programs.

Internationally, environmental education gained recognition
when the UN Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm, Sweden, in
1972, declared environmental education must be used as a tool to address global
environmental problems. The United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO) and United Nations
Environment Program (UNEP)
created three major declarations that have guided the course of environmental

Stockholm Declaration

June 5–16, 1972 

The declaration
of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. The document
was made up of 7 proclamations and 26 principles “to inspire and guide the
peoples of the world in the preservation and enhancement of the human
environment.”The Stockholm Conference produced, among others, the Human
Environment Declaration, with environmental guidelines to the participating
countries’ governments contained in the World Action Plan, and, in particular,
recommending the establishment of an Environmental Education international
program directed at the common citizen’s qualification training, in order to
enable citizens to manage and control their environments. The Conference
granted education the status of key element for confronting the emerging
worldwide environmental crisis

Belgrade Charter

October 13–22, 1975

The Belgrade Charter was
the outcome of the International Workshop on Environmental Education held in
Belgrade, Jugoslavia (now Serbia). The Belgrade Charter was built upon the Stockholm Declaration and adds goals, objectives, and
guiding principles of environmental education programs. It defines an audience
for environmental education, which includes the general public.

Tbilisi Declaration

October 14–26, 1977

The year of 1977 represented a
milestone for the history of Environmental Education. The Tbilisi Conference in
URSS held by UNESCO in collaboration with PNUMA (UNEP), granted Environmental
Education the status of international policy, establishing principles and
general guidelines for programs to be prepared all over the world. Since then,
what is now called Environmental Education focus its efforts on informing and
providing the necessary knowledge to make people aware of environmental
problems. Awareness-training, consciousness-raising and participation are key
words and include, respectively, the following goals: to awaken individuals and
collectivities to environmental problems; to give meaning to these problems by
relating them to daily life; and to offer the indispensable knowledge so that
individuals may be able to undertake actions on behalf of their environment and
quality of life.
– The Tbilisi Declaration “noted the unanimous accord in the
important role of environmental education in the preservation and improvement
of the world’s environment, as well as in the sound and balanced development of
the world’s communities.” The Tbilisi Declaration updated and clarified
The Stockholm Declaration and The Belgrade Charter by including new goals, objectives,
characteristics, and guiding principles of environmental education.

Later that decade, in 1977, the Intergovernmental Conference
on Environmental Education in Tbilisi, Georgia emphasized the role of Environmental
Education in preserving and improving the global environment and sought to
provide the framework and guidelines for environmental education. The
Conference laid out the role, objectives, and characteristics of environmental
education, and provided several goals and principles for environmental education.

In 1992, at the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development, Rio-92, the importance of Environmental Education as a tool for a
qualitative change in mankind’s behaviour towards the environment was
reaffirmed. The document proposed by this Forum, the Agenda 21, includes a
chapter specifically dedicated to this theme, entitled Promoting Environmental
Education (Cap. 36, section IV), which deals with the redirection of
Environmental Education towards sustainability.

To be successful in reaching this goal, Environmental
Education should be taught not only at formal schools but also at the so-called
non-formal and informal spaces. For consciousness-raising and sensitization to
happen in a wider spectrum, programs must be established both at formal
educational places and at teacher training schools and courses, and at places
designed for non-formal and informal education. Within formal education, we
already find Environmental Education as part of the school disciplines.
Nevertheless, it is in non-formal educational places that major programs may be
identified. Non-formal education pursues goals that are planned but not
specifically directed to grant scores as part of the official educational
system. It is a system complementary to formal education, playing an important
role in the renewal of attitudes and values currently demanded by our society.
Examples of non-formal education are: museums, science centres, exhibitions,
parks, and cultural centres. Other examples include the actions of neighbourhood
environmental associations, and sets of activities promoted by a company or a
union for their employees. The main goals of such initiatives are to improve
the quality of community life and strengthen the sense of citizenship.

Therefore, informal education consists of non-planned
education taking place during the socialization process related to the actual
environment, including the daily relationships established with family members,
neighbours, co-workers, etc. Its importance is related to its multiplying
effect, as each person will be, by his/her turn, a potential promoter of this
daily social interaction.

Associated to citizenship notions, Environmental Education in
non-formal spaces is responsible for actions that are more conscious and ethic,
and for strengthening local development initiatives in their path towards


UN activity in the field of environment has been
driven by major conferences and reports.

UN Conference on the Human Environment (1972)
World Commission on Environment and Development
United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development (1992)
General Assembly Special Session on the
Environment (1997)
World Summit on Sustainable Development (2002)
UN Conference on Sustainable Development (2012)


Economic and Social Council resolution 1346 (XLV) of 30 July 1968 recommended
the General Assembly consider convening a UN conference on problems of the
human environment.
Conference convened by General Assembly
resolution 2398 (XXIII) of
3 December 1968
Held in Stockholm, 5-16
June 1972
Led to the establishment of the
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Outcome document: A/CONF.48/14/Rev.1


Established by General Assembly resolution 38/161of 19 December 1983
Prepared a report for General Assembly in

Based on a four-year study
Transmitted by A/42/427
Entitled Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland report
Developed the theme of sustainable development


Convened by General Assembly resolution 44/228 of 20 December 1988
Held in Rio
de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992
Known at the time as the Earth Summit
Later came to be called the Rio Conference
Led to the establishment of the Commission on
Sustainable Development
Outcome document in 3 volumes: A/CONF.151/26/Rev.1

Vol.I + Corr.1: Resolutions
adopted by the Conference
Proceedings of the Conference
Vol.III + Corr.1:
Statements made by Heads of State or Government at the summit segment of
the Conference

Three major agreements adopted (found in Vol.I + Corr.1):

Rio Declaration on
Environment and Development, a series of principles defining the rights
and responsibilities of States
Agenda 21,
a global plan of action to promote sustainable development
Statement of Forest
Principles, a set of principles to underpin the sustainable management of
forests worldwide

Two multilateral treaties were opened for

United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Convention on Biological

Called for several major initiatives in other
key areas of sustainable development, such as, a global conference on
Small Island Developing States; negotiations began for a Convention to
Combat Desertification, and for an agreement on highly migratory and
straddling fish stocks


Called for by General Assembly
resolutions 47/190 and 51/181
Known as the Earth Summit +5
19th special session of the General Assembly
Held in New York, 23-27 June 1997
Review of
the implementation of Agenda 21
Outcome document: General Assembly resolution S-19/2 of
27 June 1997, Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda


Convened by General Assembly resolution 55/199 of
20 December 2000
Also known as Rio +10
Held in Johannesburg,
26 August – 4 September 2002
Reviewed progress
in the implementation of Agenda 21 since its adoption in 1992
WSSD website still
Outcome document: A/CONF.199/20 + Corr.1,

Johannesburg Declaration on
Sustainable Development
Plan of Implementation


Called for by General
Assembly resolution 66/197
Known as Rio+20
Held in Rio de Janeiro, 20-22 June
Rio +20 website
Outcome document  A/CONF.216/16,
includes “The future we want”



According to NCF 2005″The present status
of Environmental Education (EE) in schools had its genesis in the National
Policy of Education (NPE) 1986 (modified in 1992), in which ‘Protection of the
Environment’ is stated as a common core around which a National Curriculum
Framework (NCF) would be woven. The National Policy on Education 1986
emphasized the need to create awareness of environmental concerns by
integrating it in the educational process at all stages of education and for
all sections of society. Accordingly, the National Curriculum for Elementary
and Secondary Education: A Framework 1988 presented the NCERT’s view: “The
school curriculum should highlight the measures for protection and care of the
environment, prevention of pollution and conservation of energy.” In
consonance with these documents, Environmental Studies was introduced as a
subject at the primary level. The topics related to environment were suitably
infused with different science and social science subjects at all school
stages. Understanding of the environment in its totality, both natural and
social, and their interactive processes, the environmental problems and the
ways and means to preserve the environment was one of the General Objectives of
Education as per National Curriculum. Framework 2000.”

Thanks to a two-year study that
identified the gaps and anomalies in environmental education in India, 800
schools now have a new and improved syllabus that promotes an understanding of
environmental issues.

More than 100 schools in the state of Maharashtra,
and 700 more around India, now have a syllabus that aims to improve children’s
understanding and knowledge of the environment.

This change stems from a World
Bank-aided study, undertaken by the Indian government since 1999, with the
objectives of strengthening environment education in the formal school system.
Apart from Maharashtra, seven other states — Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Jammu
and Kashmir, Orissa, Punjab and Uttaranchal — were selected for the pilot
implementation of this project.

The project was designed in two phases.
In the first phase, a critical content analysis was undertaken in order to find
out the status of environmental content in the textbooks currently being used
in the schools. On the basis of the findings, the second phase of pilot
implementation was designed, to ensure that environmental education is covered
through infusion in existing subjects and not as a separate subject. Practical,
hands-on activities, field experiences, work experiences etc are important
components of environmental learning. These need to be planned and
operationalised with inputs from NGOs and learning centres like museums, zoos

The eight states were selected for the
project on the basis of their geographical spread, existing environmental content
in textbooks and willingness of the state to participate in the exercise. Eight
hundred schools in these states (100 schools in each state) were selected for
the initiative.

The Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of
Environment Education and Research (BVIEER), Pune, did a two-year content
analysis of more than 1,800 textbooks from all over the country, studying their
handling of environmental subjects. Textbooks in General Science, Geography and
Languages were analysed to assess the environment education inputs.

The BVIEER content analysis identified
99 environmental concepts including Natural Resources, Biodiversity, Pollution,
People and Environment, Energy etc. Each concept was assessed for accuracy,
relevance to the text, appropriateness to the age-group, consistency, bias etc.
Once the matrix was complete it was easy to identify the lacunae or ‘gaps’ in
the curriculum.

While most of the Geography textbooks
did discuss the importance of the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere in
detail, and focused on the greenhouse effect, ozone depletion etc, the
researchers found that there is little effort to interlink environmental
concepts and real life experiences. This means that most students learn the
subject by rote and do not identify or believe in the cause of environmental
protection. There is a serious absence of locale-specific information and
several gaps in the appreciation of ecosystems, their structure, functions,
uses, degradation and conservation. There is hardly any information on
sustainable lifestyles and what individuals can and should do for environmental
preservation as a part of personal day-to-day activity.

Several simple environmental topics such
as the variety of plant and animal species in the world, in India and in each
state, do not find appropriate representation in the curriculum. Very often,
information provided is dated. For instance, DDT in most books is mentioned as
a common pesticide, even though commercial production and use of DDT is banned
in India.

While solar energy is frequently focused
on, other sources of non-conventional energy are not dealt with adequately. In
most instances it is observed that the complexity and frequency of each concept
does not progress over the years.

Comprehension and the will to teach
these topics seemed dismal amongst most teachers. Most put this down to lack of
time, lack of sufficiently locale-specific environmentally relevant educational
material, lack of institutional and parental support and a host of such

The researchers subsequently suggested
changes in the textbooks. Dr E K Bharucha, the director of BVIEER says,
“Based on the analysis we made of the textbooks, the textbooks of
standards 6, 7 and 8 have been redrafted in eight states of the country.”
In Maharashtra, BVIEER actually sat with the textbook writers to bring about
changes in the curriculum.

the pilot implementation of Phase II, textbooks of science, social sciences and
languages at middle school level (standards VI to VIII) were targeted. The
concerned textbooks in these states have been modified to strengthen the
infusion of environmental concepts and have been introduced in the selected
project schools in six states. The remaining two states are in the process of
introducing these modified textbooks. The project also involved orientation for
all the major stakeholders. This was done through workshops for the Educational
Administrators, concerned officials of the State Council of Educational