Everyone is responsible for protection of environment which is a very important part of our day to day lives. Anthropogenic activities play an important role in environmental degradation. Awareness towards environment is important all people specially student community. Environmental education is a key element to create awareness. As an upcoming generation, students play a big role in environment protection. Therefore it is utmost necessary to aware the student about the environment. Present study attempts to know the environmental awareness level among the secondary students.
The study conducted in 997 students. Awareness towards 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 female of rural area, private school and English medium school were less aware than their counterpart. When uniformity of awareness in both sex were studied, female is found to be more uniform in rural area, Government, Assamese and English medium school. Male are more uniform in urban area.
Both sex have shown same uniformity in private school. To protect and conserve the environment in near future, we all should concentrated in incorporation of environmental concepts into existing curriculum, development of new strategies, and preparation of instructional material.
Key words: Environment, Awareness, School student, Education, Assam
Environment means the all conditions and influences that affect the all living organisms. In recent years human activities causes destruction of environment leading to climate change. In recent days, most of the people are conscious about the environmental degradation.
However, a large section of our society has low awareness.
Environmental awareness helps in understanding the environmental problems (Bandhu and Ramanathan 1982). To create mass awareness to the problems related to environment, we mostly concerned with people link to education. If we able to aware both teacher and students, they can made a link in transfer of environmental related problems and its solution in the society. Environmental education teaches the people how to manage their behaviour for environmental protection and maintain the surrounding ecosystem for conservation of 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 on 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. 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 all the people of our community. It helps in prevention of diseases, malnutrition, poverty, hunger and destruction of wildlife, forest, soil etc. Hence, proper management of environmental crisis is utmost important before it threatens the existence of human and animal planet. 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 in people lead to quality life. In formal 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 towards 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 the people with low awareness to solve the problem associated with environment. Khan, 2013 in his study conclude that education is the only powerful instrument that enhances the concern of people towards their environment, their immediate surroundings as well as towards the entire world.
Ignorance of people may create life threatening problems of environmental crisis (Sharma NK 2014). In 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 school and college 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 with the quantum of research in these areas of science. In several papers, researchers were discussed about 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 programmes for a better future of the mankind. The main objective of this study is to know the level of the environmental awareness among the secondary level students in relation to area where they live, type of school where they read and medium of their instruction.
For the present study 40 (forty) different schools under 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.
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 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 school.
A questionnaire was used to collect the data from the respondent which was constructed by the investigator himself. The final draft of 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 question. Therefore 36 was the maximum score and 0 (zero) was the minimum score. 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 correct answer and ‘0’ for 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).
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 has low awareness (getting marks below 50%) regarding the environmental. 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 school in their environmental awareness as the calculated value of z is smaller than the tabulated value at 5% level of significance. The mean value of English medium students is slightly higher which reveal that they have more environmental awareness than that of Assamese medium students. No significant difference was also found between students belonging to government and private school 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 comparison between rural and urban school students, the finding revealed that there is no significant difference between them in their environmental awareness. Higher mean value of urban school students indicates that they have more environmental awareness when compared with rural school students. On the other hand, Sharma N. K. 2014 observed significant difference between rural and urban students. Vashist (2001) also reported the 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 area, private school and English medium school are more environmentally aware in comparison to female students of rural area, private school and English medium school as their mean values are found to be higher (Figure 1). The mean value also reveals that the environmental awareness of female students of urban area, Government school and Assamese medium school are more aware to the environmental pollution than respective male students (Figure 1).is superior to that of female students. Sharma R.C. (1999) found that girls’ students were more aware towards environment than their counterpart boy students.
Mean value of male and female students based on the area where they belongs to, type of school and medium of education It is observed that the SD value of male student (4.77) is found to be higher than that of female student (4.76) in rural area which indicates that the environmental awareness in case of female student is more uniform . On the other hand in urban area, uniformity in environmental awareness of female student is less as compared to the male student as the SD value of male student (4.55) is smaller than female student (4.57). Further, same uniformity in environmental awareness is observed in both male and female students as the SD value in both cases are found to be similar. Whereas in Government school, female student shows more uniformity than that of male student as the SD value of female student (4.53) is less than that of male student (4.54). Similar result also observed in case of both Assamese and English medium school .
Standard deviation scores of male and female students regarding their belonging area, type of school and medium of education\nIn 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 about the environmental issues which may be due to much attachment male students with the society. They also actively participate in different social works. On the otherhand, Kuldeep (2017) found that female teachers are significantly more aware about the Environment pollution than that of male. In some studies, no significant difference in environmental awareness was observed between male and female (Dixit and Agarwal, 2009; Shaila (2003); Kumar S and Patil MS, 2007). However Sharma R.C. 1999 found that girls students attitude towards environment was more favorable than their counterpart boy students.
Again in present study it was found that urban areas students are more aware about the environment. Family background and educational qualification of the parents may be the reason behind this. Further students’ studying in private schools are more awareness against the 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 area 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 protection of 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 environment to increase the performance of students and strengthen the 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 the India for strengthening awareness programme. Parents and teachers should try to develop positive and healthy attitude towards environment among the students from the very beginning of their childhood (Thote 2013). Initiation of compulsory environmental education at all level in the education system towards environmental protection may be the most important approach and best strategy to protect environment in near future. Other various aspects to increase environmental awareness ability of students may includes the incorporation of environmental education into 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 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 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 application of environmental education in all level 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 a 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 the society as a whole. There is an urgent need for this new approach to education which not only help 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 open a scope for future research in a region or abroad and make a comparison of student’s perception, attitude, and environmental behaviour 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.