By Anvitii Rai
According to the International Finance Corporation, India will have around 3 million jobs in the renewable energy sector by 2030. To fulfil the demand for skilled personnel in this burgeoning sector, Miniya Chatterji, CEO, Sustain Labs Paris, has taken a step towards educating the youth of the country at the Anant National University (AnantU), Ahmedabad, which is set to offer India’s first undergraduate degree in climate science. AnantU had earlier started the Anant Fellowship in Climate Action, a one-year immersive fellowship programme for people looking for a career in all things related to climate change, sustainability and environment. In a conversation with FE’s Anvitii Rai, Chatterji (who is also the founding director of the Anant School for Climate Action) details some tenets of this BTech programme. Excerpts:
How are you looking to get students for this unique programme?
AnantU is a UGC-accredited university. But this is an engineering degree and, therefore, is governed by the AICTE. Then there is the ACPC (the Academic Council for Professional Courses in Gujarat), which has listed our course. The ACPC pushes students to us as well.
Will this BTech grow into MTech?
Of course, the next step would be a master’s degree. The master’s will grow into a PhD programme.
Should climate studies start in school? Are you looking to collaborate with schools on climate curricula?
Indeed, and we are already working with schools. We have done two rounds of internships with school students (from grades 11 and 12), and there were also some kids from ninth grade who joined. There was global participation—we had students from Canada as well as India. We are working really close with student counsellors also. There is a network called the IC3, and it started there. Now, we are working with them in creating a module for the one-year programme that they have for counsellors, and part of that module will be on climate. Besides that, we visited around 40 schools in India. So, we are heavily invested in schools.
How about apprenticeships? Because this is an engineering programme, you would need industry tie-ups (to send students for internship as well). Are you looking at that?
Applied research is mandatory and has four credits. Students will be working on industry projects all through their studies. This we have to do; the reason is that in this field there is a big gap between practice and what is being taught inside the classroom. In their first semester of the fourth year, students will get to specialise in climate and business. In that semester, they would have chosen what they want to specialise in. During the last semester of the fourth year, we will be placing them. We work with companies around the world. But it must be noted that companies around the world need students with climate skills, and so they will be in demand everywhere. Interested students can apply by August 31, 2022, on AnantU website.