Assessing Environmental Literacy of Pre-Vocational Education Teachers in Jordan

By Dajeh, Hesmam I. Al- | College Student Journal, September 2012 | Go to article overview

Assessing Environmental Literacy of Pre-Vocational Education Teachers in Jordan


Dajeh, Hesmam I. Al-, College Student Journal


This study assesses the environmental literacy (knowledge, attitudes, and concerns) of pre-vocational education teachers. A total of 124 teachers participated in the study. Data was collected through a closed ended questionnaire. Questionnaire validity was established by content and a Cranach's alpha coefficient used to determine reliability. The data was analyzed using SPSS 15.0. Participants possessed an inadequate knowledge of environmental issues, but demonstrated positive environmental attitudes and expressed high levels of interest on environmental issues. While statistical analyses revealed no significant relationships between environmental knowledge, attitudes and concerns, a significant relationship was evident between attitudes and concerns only. Gender, age, and academic qualifications had no measurable effects on the environmental knowledge, attitudes, and concerns of participants. The principal sources of information for participants on environmental issues was internet based content.

Keywords: Environmental Education, Environmental Literacy, Pre-vocational Education Teachers.

Introduction

Jordan is a small country with a varied topography and several distinct ecological biomes. It has a limited natural resource base with the principal exports derived from phosphates, potash. The country faces chronic water shortages and current use exceeds the renewable supply. The World Bank ranks Jordan as a lower middle income country with an economy centered on the service sector which contributes up to 70 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and provides up to 75 per cent of jobs in the country. The Jordanian economy is classified as an emerging market with a GDP that has grown at an annual rate of 7 per cent since 2000. The National Agenda, set in 2005, aimed at transforming Jordan from a lower-middle income country to a knowledge-based economy (World Bank, 2010). Jordan has invested in the establishment of infrastructure suitable for different development sectors including: agriculture, industry and manufacturing, businesses and banking, services and tourism, transportation, telecoms and IT, and human resources. While these investments have resulted in robust economic growth, the country's habitats and wildlife are under threat and persistent environmental problems are prevalent including air and water pollution, increased encroachment through desertification and the subsequent impacts to the health of flora, fauna and humans (Ahlawat et al., 1994). Al-Hammadi (2011) reported that the economic losses resulting from environmental degradation are the equivalent of JD 250 million or 2.5 per cent of GDE

According to the 2004 Jordan National Census, the population was just over 5 million. The current estimates put the population at around 6 million with females representing 48.5 per cent of the population and males constituting 51.5 per cent. Forty eight percent of the population consists of persons 19 years and younger. Education is considered one of the priorities of the national agenda; there are 1.45 million students registered from kindergarten (KG1 and KG2) to grade l0 representing 50 per cent of the population under 19 years old (Department of Statistics 2009). Since the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Jordan has taken some steps towards conservation, sustainability and environmental stewardship while operating under the constraints of limited financial resources. The Ministry of Education developed a strategy for environmental education to include ecological concepts within curricula and science books for students in grades 1 to 12. The environmental education strategy is intended to increase awareness of the environment, provide a basis to allow students to engage in developing solutions to environmental problems and to foster behavioral changes that promote more sustainable life styles.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, 1989) recommends that environmental literacy include three components: knowledge, attitudes, and environmental skills. …

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