REEM- An evolutionary approach

We, at Assam Institute of Management, feel that both environment and energy management must be taught in post graduate programmes in management. Therefore, in 1995, for the first PGDM (Post Graduate Diploma in Management) batch, we introduced a compulsory second year paper called Environment and Energy Management (EEM).There are very few management institutes in India where environment or energy management is taught. IIM Calcutta used to have an elective paper in the Second Year PGDM programme on “Environment Management: Issues & techniques”. However, the paper did not get good response. Later IIMC replaced that by an environmental module that has been incorporated as a compulsory element in the first year.Our Institute did not have any model to follow when this paper was designed in 1994/1995. The paper was developed independently on the basis of published materials. It has to be appreciated that “environment” per se deals with diverse contexts. What exactly comprises environment management is very difficult to decipher. Most books on environment approach the subject from relatively narrow perspectives: whether scientific, engineering, legal or administrative. Materials connected with the emerging concerns for “environment management” involving critical economic, political, social, behavioral or organisational perspectives are scanty and mostly scattered across a plethora of journals, media articles and other publications. However, our humble efforts receive enthusiastic response from the initial PGDM batches. It emboldened to institutionalize the paper as a core input in the second year.

In 1997, the institute approached Prof. Robin Ganguly of IIMC for his views on our course structure. He was highly appreciative of our efforts and spent his valuable time in going through the syllabus and giving his valuable suggestions. On the basis of his recommendations, the paper was renamed as “Resource, Environment and Energy Management” (REEM), incorporating the Resource Module. In 2001, Prof. AK Ghosh of the Centre for Environment Development, Calcutta, reviewed the syllabus further and suggested some more improvements. We are indeed grateful to both Prof. Ganguly and Prof. Ghosh for their contributions. A paper like the REEM is bound to be complex and we adopted an ‘evolutionary process’ to develop the paper over the years. Environmental issues are dynamic in nature and we have to  constantly keep ourselves up-to-date with the developments taking place. The learning process is completely participatory in nature. The contents of the paper and all the connecting issues have to emerge through class discussions. Without active class participation, no participant would be able to gain or gauge anything in this paper. The learning process would be meaningful only if the participants develop a genuine concern about environmental impacts and the need for energy and resource conservation. Therefore, participants are advised to regularly scan national level newspapers, magazines, and journals to extract whatever information they can garner for reinforcing their knowledge. Magazines like Down to Earth, Sanctuary, Time, Frontline, Economic & Political Weekly etc. are very helpful. Surfing the net also becomes very beneficial. Some books connected with environment are kept separately in the library. These are issued for overnight use only. Sometimes relevant films and videos are also shown. The most important part of the REEM paper is its project work which is presented at the end of the term. In the previous years, we have increased the weightage for the project work. This is because we expect the participants to do adequate library research and come up with original ideas. They must read about the subject adequately, understand the principles involved, find out the ground level conditions and come up with their ideas regarding development of the prevailing situations, for example, the group doing a project on non- technical losses in power distribution must read to find out the dimension of the problem, the possible ways the problem can be solved and their recommendations. Certain amount of technical understandings may be required and the non technical participants must endeavor to grasp the same. The following are some of the topics which were presented by our participants at different times: “Water logging in Guwahati city”, “Supply of potable water in Guwahati city”, “Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation”, “How do the marginalized sustain industrial development?”…It may be mentioned that the quality of some of the reports were of very high standards and a few of them were published. This course highlights an approach towards education on energy and environment. Assam Institute of Management, being an autonomous organization, can afford to have experimentations and because of that only, the institute has been able to adopt an evolutionary approach on the course adapting to the changes in the recent environment.

The REEM course is a distinctive feather in AIM’s cap and we owe it to the sincere and dedicated efforts of the faculty and the participants.