Everyone is responsible for the protection of the environment which is a very important part of our day to day lives. Anthropogenic activities play an important role in environmental degradation. Awareness towards the environment is important to all people especially the student community. Environmental education is a key element to create awareness. As an upcoming generation, students play a big role in environmental protection. Therefore it is utmost necessary to aware the student about the environment.
The present study attempts to know the environmental awareness level among secondary students. The study conducted in 997 students. Awareness towards the environment is more in the private school, English medium and urban student as compared to the Government school, Assamese medium, and rural student respectively. Whereas females of rural areas, private schools, and English medium schools were less aware than their counterparts. When uniformity of awareness in both sexes was studied, the female is found to be more uniform in a rural area, Government, Assamese, and English medium school.
Male are more uniform in urban areas. Both sexes have shown the same uniformity in private schools. To protect and conserve the environment in the near future, we all should concentrate in the incorporation of environmental concepts into existing curriculum, development of new strategies, and preparation of instructional material.
Keywords: Environment, Awareness, School student, Education, Assam
Environment means all conditions and influences that affect all living organisms. In recent years human activities cause destruction of the environment leading to climate change. In recent days, most of the people are conscious of environmental degradation. However, a large section of our society has low awareness.
Environmental awareness helps in understanding environmental problems (Bandhu and Ramanathan 1982). To create mass awareness of the problems related to the environment, we mostly concerned with people linked to education. If we are able to aware of both teachers and students, they can make a link in the transfer of environmental-related problems and its solution in society.
Environmental education teaches people how to manage their behavior for environmental protection and maintain the surrounding ecosystem for the conservation of the natural environment. Instead, Zsoka et al. 2013 conclude that environmental education focuses on knowledge of the environment, environmental attitudes, and environmental skills. Moyo and Masuku 2018 studied the role of environmental education in people which is measured by their knowledge and awareness about the environment and the solution of adaptation to encourage green behaviour.
In recent day’s degradation of natural resources resulting in environmental pollution that leads to serious global problems. A polluted environment endangers the human race and survival. But most of the pollutants are human origin such as industrial, domestic, and agricultural waste, etc. So to save our green planet we should make aware of all the people of our community. It helps in the prevention of diseases, malnutrition, poverty, hunger, and destruction of wildlife, forest, soil, etc. Hence, proper management of the environmental crises is of utmost importance before it threatens the existence of a human and animal planet. The protection of the environment is one of the major challenges. Environmental education in both formal and non-formal system of education helps in protect and conserve the environment that helps people lead to a quality life. The informal system of education, teachers help in educating their students about environment-related issues, which is possible only when the teachers themselves have mastery over environmental awareness (Gupta, 1996). Destruction of the earth and living beings is resulting from the lack of awareness of the environment. Meinhold and Malkus 2005 in their study reported how knowledge of environmental awareness helps in maintaining the ecological balance. There is an urgent need of creating mass awareness among people with low awareness to solve the problem associated with the environment. Khan, 2013 in his study concludes that education is the only powerful instrument that enhances the concern of people towards their environment, their immediate surroundings as well as the entire world.
Ignorance of people may create life-threatening problems of environmental crisis (Sharma NK 2014). In a long way, students play a great role in prevention of environmental pollution (Thote P, 2013). A properly planned syllabus along with the application of separate disciplines of environmental education as in both schools and colleges may bring the desired change in whole community level in near future (Arunkumar J 2012).
Ecology and environmental studies in education in India have not been satisfactory and do not match the quantum of research in these areas of science. In several papers, researchers have discussed the environmental awareness in primary, secondary schools, universities, engineering institutions, and other non-formal education programs. The author tries to formulate new ideas to implement environmental education programs for a better future of mankind.
The main objective of this study is to know the level of the environmental awareness among the secondary level students in relation to the area where they live, the type of school where they read, and the medium of their instruction.
Materials and Methods
For the present study 40 (forty) different schools under the Secondary Education system (Govt. and private) located in different areas (rural and urban) of Kamrup (both rural and urban) district of Assam were taken into account.
Subjects of study
The study was carried out on 997 (Nine hundred and ninety-seven) high school students (Class IX and X) irrespective of their sex selected from different High/Higher Secondary Schools of Kamrup (both rural and urban) districts of Assam out of which 547 were male and 450 were female students. Samples were selected by applying the Random sampling technique. Out of selected forty secondary schools, 17schools were government secondary school and 23 were private secondary school. Out of the 17 government schools, 8 were urban government and 9 were rural government secondary schools. Again among the 23 private schools, 12 were urban private secondary school and 11 were rural private secondary schools.
Collection of Data
A questionnaire was used to collect the data from the respondent which was constructed by the investigator himself. The final draft of the questionnaire contained a total of 36 questions which was in the form of objective (yes/no) type questions. One mark was given to each of the correctly answered questions. Therefore 36 was the maximum score and 0 (zero) was the minimum score. A random sampling technique was used to collect the data through questionnaire by giving the same to the respondents (students) of the selected schools.
In the present study, each item has given ‘1’ point for the correct answer and ‘0’ for the wrong answer. Then collected data were used for the calculation of Mean (M), Standard deviation (SD), z-value.. Analyses have done separately for different categories based on gender, area they include, type of school, and medium of education (Assamese or English).
Results and Discussion
From the present study, it is clear that 97.39% of students showed good awareness (getting marks 50% and above) and only 2.61% of students have low awareness (getting marks below 50%) regarding the environment. The overall mean value of environmental awareness of students was found to be 30.71, which indicates a better level of environmental awareness.
No significant difference was observed between students belonging to Assamese and English medium schools in their environmental awareness as the calculated value of z is smaller than the tabulated value at a 5% level of significance. The mean value of English medium students is slightly higher which reveals that they have more environmental awareness than that of Assamese medium students (Table 1).
No significant difference was also found between students belonging to the government and private schools in their environmental awareness. However, more awareness is observed in private school students in comparison to Government school students as their mean value is higher.
In a comparison between rural and urban school students, the finding revealed that there is no significant difference between them in their environmental awareness. The higher mean value of urban school students indicates that they have more environmental awareness when compared with rural school students (Table 1). On the other hand, Sharma N. K. 2014 observed a significant difference between rural and urban students. Vashist (2001) also reported similar results. But Bhardwaj (2004) has found no significant difference in environmental awareness in respect to the area of residence and sex of the students.
When compared between environmental awareness level in male and female students, no significant difference between male and female students were observed. From the mean value, we observed that male students of rural areas, private schools, and English medium schools are more environmentally aware in comparison to female students of rural areas, private schools, and English medium schools as their mean values are found to be higher (Figure 1). The mean value also reveals that the environmental awareness of female students of the urban area, Government school, and Assamese medium school are more aware of the environmental pollution than the respective male students (Figure 1).is superior to that of female students. Sharma R.C. (1999) found that girls’ students were more aware of the environment than their counterpart boy students.
It is observed that the SD value of male students (4.77) is found to be higher than that of the female student (4.76) in rural areas which indicates that the environmental awareness in the case of the female students is more uniform (Table 2). On the other hand in urban areas, uniformity in environmental awareness of female students is less as compared to the male student as the SD value of male students (4.55) is smaller than the female students (4.57). Further, some uniformity in environmental awareness is observed in both male and female students as the SD value in both cases is found to be similar. Whereas in a Government school, a female student shows more uniformity than that of the male students as the SD value of female students (4.53) is less than that of the male student (4.54). Similar results also observed in the case of both Assamese and English medium schools (Table 2).
In the present study, we observed that secondary level students have fairly good environmental awareness. More environmental awareness in English medium students had may be due to having more study materials including both national and international level publications in English medium. In comparison to female students, male students are more aware of the environmental issues which may be due to much attachment male students with society. They also actively participate in different social works. On the other hand, Kuldeep (2017) found that female teachers are significantly more aware of Environment pollution than that of males. In some studies, no significant difference in environmental awareness was observed between males and females (Dixit and Agarwal, 2009; Shaila (2003); Kumar S and Patil MS, 2007). However, Sharma R.C. 1999 found that girls students attitude towards the environment was more favorable than their counterpart boy students.
Again in the present study it was found that urban areas students are more aware about the environment. Family background and educational qualifications of the parents may be the reason behind this. Further students studying in private schools are more aware of environmental degradation as their parents are qualified and well established (Astalin 2011). In the present study, there is no significant difference between students from rural and urban areas in their environmental awareness. In a study conducted by Dhillon and Sandhu (2005) among the school teacher found that there was a significant difference in environmental awareness between urban and rural school teachers.
Students are a great force and can play a big role in the protection of the environment if they are timely guided and helped regarding the understanding of environmental issues. So the process of environmental education must be encouraged in schools where the students become aware of the environment to increase the performance of students and strengthen environmental education (Sharma RA 2003). Moreover, students should be given the environmental-based project or out-of-class activities for their better knowledge. The environmental day should be celebrated all over India for strengthening awareness program. Parents and teachers should try to develop a positive and healthy attitude towards the environment among the students from the very beginning of their childhood (Thote 2013). The initiation of compulsory environmental education at all levels in the education system towards environmental protection may be the most important approach and best strategy to protect the environment in the near future. Other various aspects to increase environmental awareness ability of students may include the incorporation of environmental education into the curriculum, training to the teacher, campaigns with religious leaders and forums, working through community leaders, development and distribution of resource material related to environmental education, conducting of extracurricular activities and last but not the least the campaign through mass media has to be started keeping in mind the holistic approach.
The knowledge of environmental education is very important for everyone in this web of life. It helps to create awareness and an understanding of the evolving social and physical environment as a whole, its natural, man-made resources for the development of the society. Environmental education is vitally important to find ways to avoid self-destruction. There is an urgent need to develop a global understanding of the perspective of the ecological, economic, and moral considerations. Environmental awareness should be deeply rooted in the education system at all levels of school education to make a green planet. World educators and environmental specialists have repeatedly pointed out to the application of environmental education in all levels of school/college that may be the solution to environmental crises. Various activities related to environmental education like essay writing, mime, etc. can be arranged in schools and organizing awareness campaigns about environment-related social issues. Environmental awakening must happen at the school level and in the brain development stages of an individual so that it remains as fundamental learning and aspect that comes into every act of his life. As one person acts out of such environmental consciousness, others around him also become aware and this goes on, ultimately making a great difference.
Environmental education already introduced as a separate unit in the higher secondary level with an infused approach of teaching for producing a healthy environment which will very helpful for society as a whole. There is an urgent need for this new approach to education which not only helps the society from most danger level and safe the globe as a whole.
This study was carried out in a single area and cannot be generalized, but the findings obtained are expected to contribute to future research. This study opens a scope for future research in a region or abroad and makes a comparison of student’s perception, attitude, and environmental behavior that will help in gather more knowledge in this area. Additional studies on environmental education could help to redefine and redesign the environmental factors with an impact on environmental decisions, or transfer of good practice and results in environmental education, establishing research and examining common topics with positive impacts on nature.
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Environmental Education And Awareness Among Secondary Level Students In Assam. (2020, Sep 04). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/environmental-education-and-awareness-among-secondary-level-students-in-assam-essay