Keywords: awareness, education, environment, university, undergraduate, student, environmental education
On the status of environmental education and awareness of undergraduate students at Ankara University, Turkey
The study reported in this paper was undertaken during 2001 and early 2002 to assess the status of environmental education and awareness of undergraduate students at Ankara University, Turkey. The main objectives of the study were to determine the depth of students' knowledge and awareness of environmental issues and problems and their attitude to the environment, and to make recommendations based on the findings. It is generally assumed that in Turkey university students mainly come from a particular socio-economic sector of society. And, therefore, that there is a certain homogeneity of environmental awareness and attitudes among most students at all Turkish universities. To test the veracity or otherwise of this widely held assumption, data on students' socio-economic backgrounds were also analysed. The study comprised face-to-face interviews of a random sample of 651 students in the final year of their educational programmes during which a detailed questionnaire was completed for each. The chi-squared test was used to evaluate collected data. The respondents came from 14 faculties of the university. The study was designed to assess the general characteristics, environmental knowledge, and behavioural pattern of the sample. Results of the study validate the above assumption and reveal, among others, that: a) in general, Ankara University students are reasonably aware of environmental issues and problems; b) majority of those studying environmental subjects are from the social sciences; and c) compared to the rest, students in the health sciences are significantly unaware of issues such as those of sustainable development, organic farming and solid waste pollution.