CBSE schools using rare plants, animals in labs to face legal action
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Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued a circular to affiliated schools across the country to "immediately discontinue" use of rare plants and animals for teaching.
The circular dated October 9 reads, "No school will keep exhibits of animals or plants listed under any schedule of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972."
CBSE warned inspections would be carried out by its regional officers and legal action initiated against defaulting schools under the said Act, which makes offences non-bailable.
Under Wildlife Protection Act, no school can keep specimen of listed plants or animals. The list includes pitcher plants, corals, frogs, snakes, birds, reptiles, sharks, starfish, guinea pigs, rabbits, ducks, hamsters and white mice and their parts, including skeletons, bones, foetus, feathers and skins.
"We instructed schools to discontinue use of rare plants and animals and not to keep live animals as exhibits in labs twice before, once in November 2010 and later in May 2012. However, it has been brought to our notice that some schools are still using prohibited animals and plants. We have also received complaints about schools keeping live animals in captivity for study. This time legal action will be taken," said a senior CBSE official from Chennai region (which covers Maharashtra).
No school can display live animals without Central Zoo Authority permission.
CBSE has asked schools to use alternative teaching aids such as models, photographs and videos.
"We have instructed all schools to use virtual images and models," the official said.
"Several companies in India have introduced software to conduct lab experiments through simulation. There is absolutely no need to kill animals and plants when we can conduct experiments with the help of the internet and computer graphics," Deepshikha Srivastava, principal of Rajhans Vidyalaya in Andheri, said.
She said, "Preservation of animals is important but imparting knowledge to students is also important. Use of live animals and threatened species of plants and animals in labs was necessary when there were no other means. But nowadays we have many virtual models."
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