Attitudes of Sultan Qaboos University students towards some environmental problems and their willingness to take action to reduce them.INTRODUCTION
Educational concerns about the environment can be viewed as a logical consequence of the change in the relationship between human beings and the natural world over the last two centuries, to the view that earth and its resources are valuable only insofar in·so·far
To such an extent.
Adv. 1. insofar - to the degree or extent that; "insofar as it can be ascertained, the horse lung is comparable to that of man"; "so far as it is reasonably practical he should practice as they satisfy human needs. Clark (4) explains that this attitude has had a greater negative influence on Nature than natural events such as earthquakes and volcanoes. This change has resulted in the overexploitation Noun 1. overexploitation - exploitation to the point of diminishing returns
overuse, overutilisation, overutilization
exploitation, development - the act of making some area of land or water more profitable or productive or useful; "the development of of both renewable and non-renewable natural resources with resulting unwanted waste materials, which have lead to pollution Lowe and Thompson Thompson, city, Canada
Thompson, city (1991 pop. 14,977), central Man., Canada, on the Burntwood River. A mining town, it developed after large nickel deposits were discovered in the area in 1956. (13), (19). Dunlop Dunlop is a surname, Scottish in origin. For people with family name Dunlop, see Dunlop (surname).
Companies named Dunlop include
This challenge contributed to the development of environmental education at the end of the 1960s and later received international acceptance as one of the crucial means of developing people's understanding, awareness, beliefs and attitudes concerning the environment. Since that time various studies have been conducted concerning the effect of environmental education on the development of student attitudes towards the environment. The results of this research are inconsistent: Silberstein (18), (5), (20), (22), (23) found that education has a positive effect on student attitudes, while other studies showed no relation between education and attitude Lyons Lyons, city, France
Lyons, Fr. Lyon (both: lyôN`), city (1990 pop. 422,444), capital of Rhône dept., E central France, at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. and Breakwell (1), (14). Some studies, on the other hand, found that environmental attitudes are influenced by gender Kuhn Kuhn , Richard 1900-1967.
Austrian chemist. He won a 1938 Nobel Prize for research on carotenoids and vitamins but declined the award by order of the Nazi government. (11), (16), (20).
The relationship between attitudes to the environment and willingness to take action was questioned by some researchers. Dunlap Dunlap may refer to: People
A slowdown is an industrial action in which employees perform their duties but seek to reduce productivity or efficiency in their performance of these duties. in economic growth; over 50% of respondents In the context of marketing research, a representative sample drawn from a larger population of people from whom information is collected and used to develop or confirm marketing strategy. in 17 countries expressed their willingness to pay Willingness to pay (WTP) generally refers to the value of a good to a person as what they are willing to pay, sacrifice or exchange for it. See also
1. Corresponding; congruous.
a. Coinciding exactly when superimposed: congruent triangles.
b. with these attitudes. Some studies concerned about the reasoning behind that, such as Hines Hines , Earl Known as "Fatha." 1905-1983.
American musician. A prominent jazz pianist for 50 years, he first gained wide recognition for his recordings with Louis Armstrong in the 1920s. et al. (9) concluded that environmental behavior is affected by many components: Knowledge, attitudes, verbal commitment and a sense of personal responsibility.
The present study is concerned with investigating the effect of B.A. level academic courses at Sultan Qaboos University Sultan Qaboos University, located in Muscat, Oman, , is the only public university in the Sultanate of Oman. Named after Qaboos bin Sa’id Al ‘Bu Sa’id the Sultan of Oman, the university opened its doors in 1986. in the Sultanate of Oman Oman (ōmän`), officially Sultanate of Oman, independent sultanate (2005 est. pop. 3,002,000), c.82,000 sq mi (212,380 sq km), SE Arabian peninsula, on the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. It was formerly known as Muscat and Oman. on the development of student attitudes towards environmental problems and also on their willingness to take any action that would contribute to reducing them. This university was selected on the basis that it is the only government university in Oman and it is the main source of the development of human resources The fancy word for "people." The human resources department within an organization, years ago known as the "personnel department," manages the administrative aspects of the employees. in this country. The selection of environmental problems was based on their significance for environmental planning Environmental planning is a relatively new field of study that aims to merge the practice of urban planning with the concerns of environmentalism. Essentially speaking, while urban planners have traditionally factored in economic development, transportation, sanitation, and other in Oman: namely, shortage of water, desertification desertification
Spread of a desert environment into arid or semiarid regions, caused by climatic changes, human influence, or both. Climatic factors include periods of temporary but severe drought and long-term climatic changes toward dryness. , air pollution, waste and energy. This study was also concerned with examining the effect of different academic courses taken by students of various university faculties. The following presents the research questions.
This study aimed to answer the following questions:
* What are the attitudes of Sultan Qaboos University students towards environmental problems?
* Are there differences in students' attitudes towards environmental problems that can be attributed to the variables of (a) gender or (b) college?
* Are Sultan Qaboos University students willing to take action to reduce environmental problems?
* Is there any difference between students' willingness to take action that can be attributed to the variable of (a) gender or (b) college?
* Is there a relationship between students' attitudes towards environmental problems and their willingness to take action to reduce them?
MATEIALS AND METHODS
The population of the study consisted of students in five colleges, namely: Education, arts, science, agriculture and medicine, whose total number in 2002/2003 was 1,700 students. The sample of the study consisted of 311 students drawn mainly from students of the final year in each college. The Table 1 shows the distribution of the sample.
Table 1: Distribution of the study sample Gender Faculties Male Female Total Education 27 58 85 Arts 27 58 85 Science 28 32 60 Agriculture 17 36 53 Medicine 17 17 34 Total 116 201 317
Instrument: In this study, a Likert scale Likert scale A subjective scoring system that allows a person being surveyed to quantify likes and preferences on a 5-point scale, with 1 being the least important, relevant, interesting, most ho-hum, or other, and 5 being most excellent, yeehah important, etc was used because it allows for the use of sub-scales and also facilitates investigating the different dimensions of attitudes. This scale is also a popular technique and students are more likely to be familiar with it (12), (16). The questionnaire consisted of 48 items distributed into five dimensions: Energy problems (13 items), water problems (12 items), air pollution problems (8 items), waste problems (8 items) and desertification problems (7 items). The items within each dimension examine two different facets of each area: students' attitudes towards environmental problems and their willingness to take action to reduce those problems. Validity of the questionnaire was examined by a panel of ten experts in the social studies curriculum and psychology departments at the Sultan Qaboos University. Reliability was established by using Cronbach's alpha Cronbach's (alpha) has an important use as a measure of the reliability of a psychometric instrument. It was first named as alpha by Cronbach (1951), as he had intended to continue with further instruments. coefficient coefficient /co·ef·fi·cient/ (ko?ah-fish´int)
1. an expression of the change or effect produced by variation in certain factors, or of the ratio between two different quantities.
2. for analyzing the results of a pilot study; the results prove that the questionnaire was reliable as the level of reliability reached 0.824.
The above results show that students express high levels of concern over environmental problems. It can be observed from Table 2 that water problems come first, with a mean of 3.914, followed by air problems with a mean of 3.910, waste problems coming third with a mean of 3.790, then energy problems at a mean of 3.650 and finally desertification at a mean of 3.507.
Table 2: The means and SD of the students' attitudes Problem Minimum Maximum Mean SD Energy 2.38 4.62 3.6503 0.4492 Water 1.92 5.00 3.9146 0.4822 Air 1.75 5.00 3.9101 0.5331 Wastes 2.00 5.00 3.7906 0.5517 Desertification 1.86 4.86 3.5074 0.5699
High concern about the shortage of water could be attributed to the fact that water shortage has become a daily problem that Omani people face in all regions, particularly in interior areas which do not benefit from the desalination desalination
Removal of dissolved salts from seawater and from the salty waters of inland seas, highly mineralized groundwaters, and municipal wastewaters. plants that have been built in the costal area. Air pollution is a problem which has recently become a cause of concern, due to accelerated economic development and increase in transportation; this may account for students' increasing concern with the problem. The apparently low level of students' concern over desertification could be explained by the fact that Omani students see the desert as a natural phenomenon and that many Omanis do not yet see desertification as a danger to human development. If fact, the desert is often seen as a resource to be developed economically as a tourist attraction Noun 1. tourist attraction - a characteristic that attracts tourists
attractive feature, magnet, attractor, attracter, attraction - a characteristic that provides pleasure and attracts; "flowers are an attractor for bees" . Table 3 indicates that female students hold a statistically significant higher level of concern toward environmental problems than male students, particularly in the areas of desertification (0.24) and air (0.26). These results support the finding of previous literature, which indicates that females are generally more interested in environmental issues than males. (2), (3), (11), (17), (21), (23).
Table 3: The means, SD and T-Test results for students attitudes by gender Gender Male Female Mean SD Mean SD P<0.05 Energy 3.588 0.4677 3.6862 0.4353 0.6100 Water 3.8858 0.5544 3.9308 0.4358 0.4250 Air 3.8222 0.5796 3.6908 0.4988 0.260 * Waste 3.7985 0.5152 3.7861 0.5729 0.8470 Desert 3.4126 0.5670 3.5622 0.5657 0.024 *
Table 4 shows the means and SD for students' scores according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. college of study.
Table 4: Mean scores and standard deviation for students' attitudes by college. College Energy Water Air Wastes Desertification Education Mean 3.75290 4.02160 3.94850 3.72940 3.51600 SD 0.41256 0.40257 0.47999 0.55227 0.53547 Art Mean 3.61900 3.83330 4.00000 3.85440 43.56300 SD 0.49196 0.57606 0.58120 0.59225 0.61814 Science Mean 3.60260 3.87220 3.85210 3.86250 3.48810 SD 0.43356 0.39490 0.57004 0.55555 0.47438 Agriculture Mean 3.53120 3.87420 3.79720 3.72640 3.39350 SD 0.43704 0.45309 0.53889 0.52409 0.62453 Medicine Mean 3.74210 3.98530 3.86760 3.75740 3.55880 SD 0.42467 0.55636 0.42855 0.47268 0.59825 Total Mean 3.65030 3.91430 3.91010 3.79060 3.50740 SD 0.44917 0.48221 0.53312 0.55170 0.56987
Table 4 shows that Education and Medicine students hold a higher level of concern toward environmental problems in the areas of energy and water than students from other colleges. In the case of air, waste and desertification problems, higher levels of concern are held by the students of Arts, Education and Medicine. Students from the Science and Agriculture Colleges report average levels of concern and lower levels with respect to desertification problems.
To determine whether the differences in the means are significant, the ANOVA anova
see analysis of variance.
ANOVA Analysis of variance, see there is used, the results are shown in Table 5. Table 5 results show that there are no statistically significant differences in students' attitudes toward environmental problems which can be attributed to the institution of study, except in the case of energy problems, for which differences exist at the level of (0.029). In order to determine the source of these differences, Tukey test was used, the results of which are presented in Table 6.
Table 5: ANOVA results Sum of Df Mean F Sig square square Energy Between group 2.154 4 0.538 2.727 0.029 * Within group 61.601 312 0.197 Total 63.755 316 Water Between group 1.899 4 0.475 2.068 0.085 Within group 71.579 312 0.229 Total 73.477 316 Air Between group 1.752 4 0.438 1.552 0.187 Within group 88.061 312 0.282 Total 88.813 316 Waste Between group 1.230 4 0.308 1.011 0.402 Within group 94.950 312 0.304 Total 96.180 316 Desertification Between group 1.069 4 0.267 0.821 0.513 Within group 101.552 312 0.325 Total 102.620 316 *: p<0.05 Table 6: Tukey test results Education Arts Science Agriculture Medicine Education -- * Art -- Science -- Agriculture * -- Medicine -- Tukey *: p<0.05
Table 6 shows differences between the responses of Education students and Agriculture students, where Education students' attitudes are higher than those of Agriculture students. The mean for the former reached (3.7529) whereas that of the latter is (3.5312). This difference may be attributed to the higher academic level of the students accepted in Education (90%+) and to the fact that Education programs include environmental education.
Table 7 shows the mean scores and standard deviation In statistics, the average amount a number varies from the average number in a series of numbers.
(statistics) standard deviation - (SD) A measure of the range of values in a set of numbers. of students' willingness to take part in reducing environmental problems.
Table 7: Mean scores and SD of students' willingness to take action to reduce environmental problems Environmental problems Mean Std. Deviation Water 3.6183 0.62753 Waste 3.4953 0.72956 Air 303375 0.89987 Desertification 2.9989 0.92910 Energy 2.9411 0.87353
It can be seen from Table 7 that students hold a high level of positive attitudes toward environmental problems, particularly the problems connected with water (3.618) and waste (3.495). This high level of positive attitudes may be attributed to students' realization of the seriousness of these problems and the importance of individuals' participation in confronting them. Students may have realized too that the country is facing serious problems in the area of water. However, Table 8 indicates a low level of students' willingness to participate in programs aimed at reducing energy and desertification problems, with a mean of (2.941) and (2.998) respectively. This result, in the case of the former, may be attributed to the fact that people feel that they can live without air-conditioning air-conditioning
Control of temperature, humidity, purity, and motion of air in an enclosed space, independent of outside conditions. In a self-contained air-conditioning unit, air is heated in a boiler unit or cooled by being blown across a refrigerant-filled coil and then despite the extremely hot weather, or to the fact that the cost of electricity in Oman is relatively low; in either case, this aspect of energy conservation is not a priority. In the case of problems arising out of desertification, the suggested explanation given above for the low level of student concern over problems of desertification also applies to their apparent lack of enthusiasm for participation in programs aimed at tackling desertification.
Table 8: Mean scores, standard deviation and T-test results Male Female Mean SD Mean SD P<0.05 Energy 2.8994 0.8882 2.9652 0.8663 0.519 Water 3.5841 0.7132 3.6381 0.5733 0.461 Air 3.2974 0.9623 3.3607 0.8634 0.547 Waste 3.4224 0.7507 3.5373 0.7158 0.177 Desert 2.8670 0.9699 3.0740 0.8984 0.056
There are no statistically significant differences in students' willingness to participate in reducing environmental problems that can be attributed to the variable of gender, though female students' level is higher (.056) than male students.
The results presented in Table 9 shows no statistically significant differences between students' attitudes towards environmental problems and their willingness to participate in programs aimed at dealing with those problems, which can be attributed to the variable of college of study. This convergence of results, in particular in the areas of air (0.782) and waste (0.730), may be attributed to the fact that all students live in the same urban environment where air pollution is becoming increasingly a matter of concern.
Table 9: 2-Way ANOVA results Sum of Df Mean F Sig square square Energy Between group 3.532 4 883.000 1.159 0.329 Within group 237.591 312 762.000 Total 241.123 316 Water Between group 1.934 4 483.000 1.231 0.297 Within group 122.505 312 393.000 Total 124.439 316 Air Between group 1.424 4 356.000 436.000 0.782 Within group 254.459 312 816.000 Total 255.883 316 Waste Between group 1.087 4 272.000 507.000 0.730 Within group 167.156 312 536.000 Total 168.243 316 Desertification Between group 1.626 4 0.407 0.680 759.000 Within group 271.151 312 0.869 Total 272.77 316
Table 10 shows a correlation between students' attitudes towards environmental problems and their willingness to participate in reducing those problems. More information on this positive relation and its scale in each area is presented in the Table 11.
Table 10: Correlation scale between students' attitudes towards environmental problems and their willingness to take part in reducing them. Attitudes Pearson correlation coefficient Sig. Contribution 0.340 0.01 Table 11: Correlation coefficient of students' attitudes and their willingness to participate in reducing them Willing to Energy Water Air Wastes Desertification contribution Attitudes Pearson 0.347 0.475 0.324 0.335 0.330 correlation coefficient Sig. 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.018 N 0.317 0.317 0.317 0.317 0.317
The results indicate the existence of a correlation between students' attitudes towards environmental problems and their willingness to participate in facing those problems.
The results of the study show that students have positive attitudes towards reducing environmental problems. These results support the findings of previous studies that showed relationship between education and people attitudes towards the environment (5), (19), (21), (23), (25). Students' attitudes were affected by their course of study, which supports the idea that education plays, or can play, a role in developing people's attitudes towards the environment, although the results of some studies suggest that there is no relation between education and attitude to the environment (1), (14). The results also suggest that the students' attitudes reflect the growing urgency of the increase in certain environmental problem in Oman. For example, the high level of concern they express over the issue of the availability of water reflects the dangers of desertification and the need for serious planning to prepare for the possibility of serious drought drought, abnormally long period of insufficient rainfall. Drought cannot be defined in terms of inches of rainfall or number of days without rain, since it is determined by such variable factors as the distribution in time and area of precipitation during and before in the future. Already in some areas, farms are disappearing and some regions have reported difficulty in finding clean drinking water drinking water
supply of water available to animals for drinking supplied via nipples, in troughs, dams, ponds and larger natural water sources; an insufficient supply leads to dehydration; it can be the source of infection, e.g. leptospirosis, salmonellosis, or of poisoning, e.g. during the dry seasons. The lower level of concern shown by the students over the issue of energy use reflects the comparatively easy and cheap availability of energy in Oman.
The results also indicate that students' attitudes towards the environment reflect differences which may be attributed to gender: Females had a higher level of positive attitudes to environmental problems than males. This is in agreement with the results of several other studies (11), (17), (21). According to the literature, the higher level of concern shown by females may be attributed to their nature and upbringing up·bring·ing
The rearing and training received during childhood.
the education of a person during his or her formative years
Noun 1. as future nurturers. It may also reflect the attempts by females in a developing society to reduce the gender gap by proving themselves involved in social concerns.
Despite the high level of concern expressed by the students over environmental problems, their willingness to act towards the alleviation of those problems varied. This result supports the findings of previous studies (8), (10), (15). This results support the findings of Hines et al. (9) that the level of consistency between environmental attitudes and behavior is affected by a person's knowledge and awareness, public verbal commitment and his/her sense of responsibility. The transfer from attitudes to behavior can also be affected by lifestyle; many people, while professing pro·fess
v. pro·fessed, pro·fess·ing, pro·fess·es
1. To affirm openly; declare or claim: "a physics major to "correct" attitudes to the environment, are not ready to change their lifestyle in ways that might mean sacrificing certain forms of leisure and comfort for the sake of the environment: other study (6) has also found a weak and inconsistent relationship between environmental attitudes and behavior, usually attributable to a reluctance to give up the comforts of modern life.
The results of the study support the findings of the literature, which indicates that students are developing more positive attitudes about the need to reduce environmental problems. This is promising, showing that young people are becoming more aware of and are showing more understanding of the danger facing our planetary plan·e·tar·y
1. Of, relating to, or resembling the physical or orbital characteristics of a planet or the planets.
a. environment and their own role in controlling environmental degradation Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife. and its outcomes. However, it is apparent that the Omani educational system needs to put more effort into raising students' awareness of the importance of their individual and community role in tackling environmental problems, in order to give future generations the chance to live in a healthy environment.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT acknowledgment, in law, formal declaration or admission by a person who executed an instrument (e.g., a will or a deed) that the instrument is his. The acknowledgment is made before a court, a notary public, or any other authorized person.
Researchers owe a debt of gratitude Gratitude
traditional symbol for gratitude. [Flower Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 172]
because he had once extracted a thorn from its paw, the lion refrained from attacking Androcles in the arena. [Rom. Lit. to Sultan Qaboos University administration and students for their cooperation during conducting this research.
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Ahmed bin Hamad Al-Rabaani and S.S. Mohammed Al-Mekhlafi
Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education Sultan Qaboos University, P.O. Box: 32 Al-Khod, P.C p.c. (post cibum),
n a Latin phrase meaning “after meals”; the abbreviation may be used in prescription writing. : 123, Muscat Muscat, Maskat, or Masqat (all: mŭs`kăt, mŭs`kət), city (1993 pop. 533,774), capital of Oman, SE Arabia, on the Gulf of Oman. It is flanked by rugged mountains. , Sultanate of Oman
Corresponding Author: Dr. Ahmed bin Hamad Al-Rabaani, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, Sultan Qaboos University, P.O. Box: 32 Al-Khod, P.C: 123, Mucat, Sultanate of Oman