CBSE asks schools to discontinue using rare plant, animal specimens

 In the wake of complaints about schools keeping captive animals as exhibits for children, Central Board of Secondary Education has sent a notice to affiliated schools for “immediate discontinuation” of use of rare plants and animal specimens for teaching purposes.

“No school will keep any exhibits of animals or plants listed under the act. CBSE regional officers may also inspect schools,” the circular said. Legal action will be taken against defaulting schools under Wildlife Protection (WLP ) Act 1972, which is non bailable, added the circular.

Under the WLP Act, no school has the permission to keep specimens of any plants or animals listed in any schedule of the act. These include pitcher plants, corals, frogs, snakes, birds, reptiles or any parts of them including skeletons, bones, foetus, feathers and skins. “It has repeatedly been brought to our notice that schools with CBSE affiliation still possess some of the prohibited exhibits. We have also received complaints about schools captivating living creatures for study,” said a senior CBSE official.

According to the central zoo authority, no animals can be kept at schools for display as schools will then be referred to as zoos which cannot be allowed without CZA’s permission.

The prohibited animals include guinea pigs, rabbits, ducks, hamsters and white mice.
CBSE has asked schools to use alternative teaching aids like information and communication technology techniques or models, photographs and even videos. “For Biology students, specimens of common plants and animals may be utilised, taking care that no specimens of threatened species listed under the WLP Act are kept or displayed in the school,” added the circular.

Several research-based companies like Elsevier Health Sciences, India have introduced software which conducts lab experiments through simulation on animals such as dog, rabbit, frog and guinea pig.

A P Sharma, principal of Apeejay School, Delhi said, “There is absolutely no need to kill animals and plants when we are living in the age of technology and experiments can be done with the help of the internet and other display mediums.”

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