Thursday, February 20, 2020

Learning to ensure sustainable development : BSC in Environmental Management

Syllabus: BSC in Environmental Management

Learning to ensure sustainable development

Loss and degradation of forest, soil erosion, air and water pollution, unmanaged waste are some of the problems brought on by development activities the country is involved in at the present. Consideration and managedment of environment while conducting development works play a crucial role in enabling and sustaining the health of the eco-system. BSc in Environmental Management, developed in 1999 by Pokhara University (PU), is one such course which produces graduates who can work to create development projects that pose the last negative impact on environment.

Not a course of management
According to Ajay B Mathema, Principal of School of Environmental Science and Management (SchEMS), Environmental Management is not a management course. “Rather it is a Science course which combines science, policy, and socioeconomic applications and primarily stresses on finding solutions to practical problems that people face in cohabitation with nature, resource exploitation, and waste production.”

Closely linked to issues regarding sustainable economic growth, ensuring fair and equitable distribution of resources, and conserving natural resources for future generations, BSc in Environmental Management is a four-year semester-based course (eight semesters). It is being offered only at SchEMS, that runs under the affiliation of PU at Mid-Baneshwore.

As per Mathema, the course is divided into four groups—fundamental Knowledge (including subjects like Zoology, Soil and Environmental Engineering), Environmental Management (including subjects such as Environment Impact Assessment, Geoinfromation Management and Remote Sensing, Strategic Environmental Assessment), advanced courses (Climate Change, Land Degradation, and Research (including research methodology and thesis).

Students are evaluated through 40 per cent for internal assessment, and 60 per cent for half-yearly examination that is allocated for theoretical component of a subject.

In case of internal assessment, Kailash Timilsina, academic director at SchEMS informed, attendance, field-visit reports, and performance, practical lab test among others are marked. Meanwhile, in the final semester, students need to undertake a thesis work in any area of environmental management. “The college appoints research supervisor for each student based on the topic of research and students have to submit the synopsis of research topic and attend the viva-voice examination and give a seminar presentation of their thesis,” informed Timilsina.

In addition, the students are taken to different places, especially national parks among others for field research – as per the requirement of the course in each semester. “They assess and analyse the problems and conditions about the resources of the places they visit,” explained Timilsina.

Students who have completed Plus-two level in Science with a minimum C grade in each subject are eligible to apply for the course and are enrolled upon passing the admission tests conducted by the college itself.

MSc in Environmental Management is the next option for higher studies at SchEMS, which started in 2000.

Internship and skills
Though internship is not calculated as a component for assessment, the college has been providing an internship opportunity for its students to link them with job market as well as to make them proactive” as per Mathema.

The college has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with NGOs such as Resources Himalaya Foundation and Friends of Nature Nepal to send its students for internship programmes, while the students are currently being placed as interns at INGOs such ICIMOD, IUCN among others. “The internship lasts for five to six months,” informed Timilsina.

Mathema informed that the Graduates of the course will have sound skills on Environment impact assessment, Geographic Information System (GIS), multi-criteria decision analysis, environmental monitoring, climate change-vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning, environmental modeling among many others.

Dristi Pyakurel, a VIth-smester student at SchEMS joined BSc in Environmental Management having a keen interest in environment. She revealed, “Our country is taking pace in development works and I want to be a part of it taking an initiative to prevent the negative environmental impact which these developmental works are creating.”

For her the course is interactive as “it has allowed me to experience and learn about different environmental aspects – be it about water quality and its assessment, analyzing the Environment Impact Assessment of various big projects such as Sindhuli Highway among others”. In future she wants to be an environmental inspector under government’s project while continuing her education studies.

Despite such an impression of students and a well-framed syllabus, there is lack of resources to implement them practically and the syllabus also needs a timely update as per Mathema. “We have talked to PU in this regard and are working collaboratively to address it,” he informed.

What’s for future?
Mathema pointed out that there are number of opportunities for this course’s graduates. “Majority of governmental wings such as Ministry of Forests and Environment, Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, Department of Electricity Development, Department of Roads among others along with many I/NGOs have a space for environmental professional as these institutions are guided by principle which states that no development works shall hamper the environment.”

He added, “The government has also signed various international treaties on environment and development, diversity pact, climate pact among many others which guide to make economic development sustainable, which will prevent long term damage to natural resources and vital habitats. With such agreements, the job prospects for the graduates of the course is high, though it has not come under the limelight.”

BSc in Environmental Management
Cost: Rs 4,87,000 (For eight semester)
Intake: Every September
Scholarship on offer: Four Scholarships for PU’s Central Examination  Toppers, and two scholarships from SchEMS (offered in the names of Dr Heramba Raj Bhandari and Dr Bhim Bahadur Pradhan)

source: The Himalayan Times, education Times, Thursday, January 23, 2020

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