.@PMOIndia Action for environment & livelihood

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Respected Hon'ble Prime Minister

My humble request to you to look into the serious matter of "Appointment of Assistant Professors (Environmental Science/Studies) in colleges and universities" which is related to the life and livelihood of thousands of environment degree holders.

1.    You may be aware that Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in its judgement (November, 1991) directed the Central and State Universities to provide compulsory environmental education in colleges and universities.

2.    UGC in its letter dated 7th August, 2014 to Vice-Chancellors of all Universities reminded about the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India order dated 6-12-1999 in w.p. no. 860/1991 which directed that appropriate steps be taken to introduce environmental studies course in all universities and affiliated colleges. The UGC in pursuant to this order had designed a six month module syllabus for environmental studies for undergraduate courses for all branches of higher education to be compulsorily implemented. This was communicated to all universities on 24-07-2003 for strict compliance. It is brought to your notice that non implementation of the order of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, in its letter and spirit, tantamounts to contempt of court. UGC requested to kindly take all necessary steps for the implementation of the direction of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The module on environmental studies for environmental undergraduate courses is already available on UGC website. In case of failure to do so, the UGC will be constrained to initiate appropriate action. Most of the Universities started implementation of Supreme Court order by starting ‘Environmental Studies’ course at undergraduate level.

3.    UGC further stated that “It hardly needs any mention that the task of teaching the module on environmental studies be entrusted with the teacher who fulfill the qualifications laid down by the UGC”.

4.    However most of the colleges allowed existing teachers to teach this subject. Thus more than 96% colleges didn't appointed teachers having post graduation in environmental science or studies which resulted into loss of more than eighty thousand posts of Assistant Professors.

5.    Some colleges and universities appointed teachers from chemistry, botany, zoology etc (by sidelining environment science postgraduates) who are working as Assistant Professors in various capacities as guest, ad-hoc or permanent faculty.

6.    These appointments are illegal because as per UGC guidelines to become Assistant Professor, candidate must have post graduation in relevant subject along with other criteria like NET/SET/Ph.D.

7.    When thousands of candidates having NET /SET / Ph.D in environmental science / studies are available and waiting an opportunity for years then appointing other than environment candidate is complete injustice to them.

8.    In rare cases candidates from environmental science or studies are appointed as assistant professors to teach this subject. But here also, many times no accountability and transparency.

9.    Further the clarifications regarding the qualifications of the Assistant Professor to teach environmental studies is given in the notice No. AI No.7 of 2016 in WP (c) no. 860 of 1991 sent to all universities by Assistant Registrar, Supreme Court of India directing the respondents to introduce environment as a compulsory subject nationwide at the Central and State level both Government and private educational Institutions, Schools, Colleges and Universities and appoint qualified/eligible teachers/Assistant Professor/ lecturer having specialization in post graduate i.e, M.Sc. Environmental Science with NET qualified in Environmental Science or Ph.D in Environmental Science in terms of University Grants Commission guidelines for providing proper environment education to the student of undergraduate and postgraduate level from academic year 2016-17.

10.  Recently Supreme Court of India said “let the Human Resource Development (MHRD) be the nodal agency to see our directions are complied with. MHRD will bring all the stakeholders on a common platform so that they can share their views and also put difficulties in implementing the court order. We will proceed against the states that have not complied with our orders”.

11.  In my opinion the environment education in India failed for past few decades because of more involvement of vested interests and non environment background people in the decision making by sidelining true environmentalists having specialisation in environment. The failure also happened at the judicial level. Even Supreme Court decisions came in 1991 and 2003 respectively, the decision did not given emphasis on appointments of teachers having specialisation in environment.

 12.  I kindly request you to

1. Constitute a two member committee comprising of retired judges to look into the matter of illegal appointments in the department of environmental science/studies in colleges and universities across India and suggest course of action.

2. Give justice to eligible and deserving environment candidates who are having post graduation in environmental science or studies and eligible in terms of UGC guidelines that is NET/SET/Ph.D by giving their rights to become assistant professor in the department of environment in colleges and universities on permanent basis. Top priority in the appointment should be given to the candidates who received degrees earlier (seniority basis) but did not get the job because of nonavailability of jobs for past 10-20 years in the environment subject.

3. Issue a notification clearly specifying Post graduation in Environmental Science or Studies as a requisite qualification to teach Environmental Science / Studies subject.

9. I request you to kindly involve the students and teachers (who have specialization in environment) in the decision making process, and also in the recently constituted committee by Supreme Court so that our views will be considered positively.

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