WWF-India, in partnership with Capgemini, today launched One Planet Academy (OPA), the first environment education portal for students and teachers in India.
Leveraging the affinity of today's learners towards technology, the website focuses on various environmental themes and is a digital hub for schools, teachers and students that brings under its ambit a digital training and resource centre.
The OPA is designed to be a one-stop destination for educational information and interactive and engaging content on the environment and sustainable practices.
The website encourages schools to adopt green practices, offers project and activity ideas for the teachers, along with online training courses, and houses games, comics, interactive maps etc, for the students.
According to the Living Planet Report 2016, released by WWF, the global population of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles has declined by 58 percent between 1970 and 2012.
The report also shows that India ranks fifth in terms of bio-capacity - an ecosystem's capacity to produce resources such as food, fibre and renewable raw materials and absorb carbon dioxide and the country's carbon footprint currently makes up 53% of the country's overall Ecological Footprint.
With indicators such as these, there is a need, probably more urgent now than before, to increase awareness about environment issues and inspire children to adopt sustainable lifestyles for a greener planet.
While environment education forms an integral part of the school syllabi, there exists a gap in the education system and the populace in the realm of education for the environment and sustainability.
The OPA, launched as a middle school programme in its first phase, will address these issues and make it a more hands-on and action oriented experience, inspiring children to think about issues around them and make responsible choices in their daily lives.
Speaking at the launch, Mr. Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO, WWF-India said, "The One Planet Academy brings together two essential pillars of WWF-India- our approach to conservation and education. Looking at strengthening the capacity of schools and teachers, the website aims to create awareness on matters of the environment while connecting with young minds of today for contributory actions towards our planet."
Anil Jalali, CHRO - India, Capgemini said, "It is an imperative for us to nurture young minds today to develop conscientious and socially responsible citizens of tomorrow.
Education and Environment are key focus areas of our CSR roadmap and we believe that education is the most powerful enabler of change. Capgemini is pleased to facilitate the development of this virtual training and resource centre that promises to transform the way we teach and learn about our environment."
The One Planet Academy is a resource portal for teachers and students, allowing them to access interesting and engaging educational material at the click of a button.
The teacher section will provide ideas for projects and activities along with publications related to educating young learners about the environment. The website will also provide short-term online training courses for teachers.
For students, the OPA is a fun virtual library, with informative e-books and stories, interactive games, films and competitions, which will help in deepening a sense of environmental consciousness.
WWF-India will also conduct workshops including nature trails and lectures and talks on environmental issues and sustainable practices by experts at WWF-India as a part of this initiative. By operating as a dynamic web-based platform, the OPA will ensure easy and equal dissemination of resources amongst all our stakeholders across the country.
Environment education is the oldest programme of WWF-India and has been an integral part of its conservation efforts.
As a part of the programme, WWF-India works with school students and teachers in more than 20 states across the country through initiatives such as the Nature Clubs of India, Wild Wisdom Quiz and Education for Sustainable Development. The programme aims to promote approaches that connect life with learning, and inspire critical thinking.