Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Impact of Environmental Education Kit on Students' Environmental Literacy

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Impact of Environmental Education Kit on Students' Environmental Literacy

Article excerpt

Abstract

To support the implementation of environmental education (EE) across the curriculum, WWF-Malaysia has developed Environmental Education Kit (EE-Kit) to increase the level of environmental literacy of students. Environmental literacy is a part of EE that refers to knowledge, awareness, behavior, environmental attitude and participation. The purpose of this study was to determine the level of environmental literacy amongst students based on gender and stream of study also student perception on the use of EE-Kit. 345 secondary school students age 14 and 16 years old participated in this survey study and 10 students were interviewed. An EE teaching kit was used to teach the students. Using descriptive and inferential statistics it was determined that there was a significant difference in the level of environmental literacy based on gender, whereas for class stream reveals no significant difference. However, the level on environmental literacy based on gender and class stream are still at the moderate and low level. It also was found that knowledge of and about the environment is at low level as compared to environment attitude, behavior, awareness and environment participation. It appears that perception and students practice related to positive behavior towards environment exist despite the lack of knowledge in and on environment. However, that does not guarantee students to manage the environment effectively. Implication of this study suggests that knowledge, attitude and developing positive behavior towards environment need to be developed in an integrated way. The study recommends that the inculcation of environmental literacy through the use of EE-Kit among students in rural areas needs to be improved in building citizens who can preserve and conserve the environment.

Keywords: environmental education kit, environmental literacy, seconday school students, science and arts stream, students perception

1. Introduction

The environmental education (EE) has been recognized and accepted globally as an effort to protect the environment and sustainable development (Zurina & Norjan, 2003; Moroye, 2005) when it is observed to have the potential to assist the future generation to manage life and to establish a prosperous future (Perikleous, 2004). Moreover, EE will also raise the awareness, knowledge and contribute to shiftof attitudinal and behavioral aspect towards the environment and its sustainability in the society (Moroye, 2005; Leeming et al., 1997; Eagles & Demare, 1999; Callicot, 2000; NAAEE, 2001; WWF-Malaysia, 2008, 2009; Talero, 2004). Realizing the importance of sustainable development, EE was implemented into Malaysian primary and the secondary school curriculum since 1998. Besides Malaysia, other countries, such as, Australia, the United States and Japan also use similar approaches in introducing the EE in their respective countries.

In the context of EE, the environmental literacy refers to knowledge and awareness of environmental issue. It also refers to positive involvement and attitude among students towards environment. High level of environmental literacy reflects the effectiveness implementation of EE (Leeming et al., 1997; Eagles & Demare, 1999). The environmental literacy also includes high intrinsic values concerning the environment and its effects on the human life (Habibah & Punitha, 2009; Taraban et al., 2007). Based on the concept of environmental literacy explained, environmental literacy is a part of EE that refers to knowledge, awareness, behavior, environment attitude and environment involvement. Interaction between the components of environmental literacy is illustrated in Figure 1.

Environmental literacy is the ultimate goal and the best way to address environmental issues. Environmental literacy also was introduced as a part of EE which consists of five elements namely, knowledge, attitude, behavior, awareness and environmental involvement (McBecth et al. …

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