Minutes of October 10, 2008 Meeting, Mahila Mandal, 12:00 - 1:30 PM

Dear Educators, Esteemed Principals,

Here are the minutes of our meeting, organized under the points of discussion from our agenda.

Principals & Others Attending:  Shrimati Mohan Devi Sharma, General Secretary/Mahila Mandal; Ms. Madhu Sareen, Principal/Mahila Mandal; Premilla Dixit, director/Big Medicine; Father Remigius, Principal/St. Pauls; Shri Shiv Ji Gaur, Principal/Fateh School;  Shri Kamalendra, Principal/Bhuwana School; Shri Jagdaish, Director/Happy Homes School; Shrimati Rajna Kulshreshta, Principal/RMV School.

Topic 1)  That the attending principals join Big Medicine and Mahila Mandal to form a core group of  active Indian Educators for Environmental Education and Sustainable Development, in Udaipur.

That this core group will be committed to work towards the greening of Indian education starting on their own campuses.  It will also reach-out to, work with and expand this initial network of educators and institutions.

That this core group develop a charter to establish its mandate. (Please see the Tbilisi Declaration and Talloires Declaration as examples)

Group Response: We agreed to create such a core group, with the name suggested: Educators for Environmental Education and Sustainable Development.  We agreed that as our work helps open other chapters in India, we will be the founding Udaipur chapter.

Topic 2) That this core group will implement a green audit program for their own institutions as a step in the direction of mainstreaming environmental education (EE) on their campuses. 

Big Medicine will work with this core group, and with the Udaipur District Office for Education, the Center for Science and Environment and other relevant agencies to help set up a teacher's Green Audit training program.

Group Response: We agreed that St. Paul's will host a 2-day Green Audit training program for teachers on their campus this winter, and that the Principals will select teachers from their own schools as well as inform other schools to select teachers for this training.  That Big Medicine will work with the CSE and related agencies to bring about this training program.

Topic 3) That this core group, in a time-bound framework will form a joint-action game plan for bringing EE into the center of their school curriculum, from kindergarten to senior secondary.

That together, this core group will take the necessary, incremental steps on their own campuses for teachers training for EE, curriculum assessment and development for EE, reorientation of management and school board towards EE,  reorientation of campus operations for environmental sustainability, and creating relevant institutional affiliations and networks for EE.

Group Response: We agreed that the first step in moving this forward will require Big Medicine to meet and discuss our proposal with the Udaipur based State Institute of Education Research & Training. Big Medicine will work with Mahila Mandal principal Ms. Madhu Sareen in taking this forward and report back to the group.

Topic 4) Join Big Medicine & Mahila Mandal in creating a preliminary Greening Indian Schools and Education conference in February 4~7, 2009 in Udaipur.

This conference will be oriented towards action-plans and problem-solving, and focused specifically on a) state of curriculum development and standards in India for EE; b) state of teacher's training for EE; c) state of financing of EE; d) spread of EE; e) role of district and state school boards in adaptation of EE; f) local, state, and national government policies to promote EE; g) corporate social responsibility for EE; h) obstacles to the adoption of EE throughout the educational system; i) mass media campaigns for EE;  j) community involvement in EE; etc...

That between now and the conference this core group will work to develop heightened public visibility for EE in the Udaipur school district and galvanize parental support for this reorientation in education, for sustainable development and long term survival.

Group Response: We agreed to have the conference. However, we also agreed that further feedback on this point will follow a careful reading of our proposal and more thought given to this matter. Big Medicine pointed out that in order to host an effective conference we must give all participants time to prepare, and that the call should go out asap. We will communicate with each other by phone over the forthcoming weeks to make a decision and put out the call.

Topic 5) That the core group will commit to increasing their own expertise and understanding of EE.

Towards this end, Big Medicine will work with the core group to organize periodic seminars for themselves and outreach to others to attend these EE seminars for educators.

Group Response: We tabled this point for later consideration as our initial work develops.

Topic 6) Like Mahila Mandal, to seek affiliation with AASHE, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, an association of colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada working to create a sustainable future.

Such an affiliation provides access to cohorts and resources that can further empower our undertaking.

Group Response: We tabled this point for later consideration as our initial work develops.

Topic 7) To sign the Talloires & Tbilisi Declarations and affiliate with member institutions making like commitments in a global network of dedicated educators for EE.

Group Response: We tabled this point for later consideration as our work develops.

Topic 8) To mount a focused mass media campaign for EE.

Group Response: We tabled this point for later consideration as our work develops.

We place the above proposal before you as the agenda for discussion for our meeting today. 

Big Medicine is also very glad to report the nascent beginnings of a core group of concerned Udaipur citizens willing to commit local resources towards the greening of the Udaipur school district and the institutionalizing of EE throughout its schools.

Group Response: You welcomed this development.

Big Medicine requests focused action from this core group.  We look forward to working very purposefully with our esteemed colleagues to implement a mutually developed and agreed upon agenda.

These minutes recorded by Big Medicine. Kindly add any elements you believe have been overlooked.

With Best Regards,
Premilla Dixit, Big Medicine
October 11, 2008


Collaborative Resources: Acronyms & Site References

CSE - Center for Science and the Environment

NCERT - National Council of Education Research & Training/Environmental Education

SIERT - State Institute for Education Research & Training

CEE - Centre for Environmental Education