For the third time in less than two years, Tamil Nadu Education Minister K Sengottaiyan has promised school students additional marks in their subjects, if they plant trees. Speaking to the media after a conference in Chennai on Thursday, the minister promised 12 marks to students who took part in the green initiative and stated that this system will be introduced from the next academic year.
On October 5, 2017 the minister first mentioned that discussions were underway regarding granting marks to students who planted and grew trees within their time in a government-run educational institute. He had said that the plan then was to have 1 crore students plant five trees each to reach a target of five crore trees in two years. Students who achieved this, he said, will be given an additional 5% marks to their total score. He said that out of 15 marks meant for 'social activities' if planting trees were included, then the country's environment will see transformation.
Following this in May 2018, he said, "At the end of every academic year, the students will be evaluated based on their efforts in growing a tree and will be awarded additional marks. The government is already organising sapling plantation drives considering the changing climatic conditions. It has now been proposed for each student to plant and nurture a sapling. This will help to inculcate a sense of responsibility in them towards protecting the nature."
With this proposal yet to be implemented, reporters in Chennai questioned whether it would come into force as the academic year was ending. In response to this the minister not only offered a different system for awarding marks but he also pushed the date of implementation.
"We will award two marks each for six subjects. So that will be 12 marks," said the minister
There has however been no further explanation on how this will be monitored, where the trees will be planted, what kind of trees will be planted and who will tend to them.