Ecological awareness of Polish and Ukrainian students - a comparative study
Pro-environmental awareness and behaviour, as well as attitudes towards environmental protection, are among the issues that largely reflect generational differences. One of the main reasons for such a discrepancy is the time in which environmental issues have become widespread. The visible effects of environmental devastation on the one hand, and the emergence of environmental movements publicising environmental problems on the other, have contributed to this.
Ecological awareness in a broad sense is the totality of recognised ideas, values, opinions about the environment as the place of human (society) life and development shared by defined social groups in a particular historical period comprises all internalised ideas, values and opinions about the environment as the place of human (social) life and development shared by defined groups in a particular historical period.In a narrower sense it is defined as the state of knowledge, opinions and beliefs people share about the role of the environment in human life, the degree of exploitation, hazard and protection including the state of knowledge about measures and instruments of environmental management (Jaska, 2009).
Ecological awareness, ecology and environmental protection, field of study, sources of knowledge, perception of environmental problems
Research question and main method
The aim of the research is to identify differences in environmental awareness among students of degree programmes in various fields of study in Poland and Ukraine. A research hypothesis was adopted stating that the field of science within which a given field of study is conducted influences students' perception of environmental problems.
Students of different fields of study (humanities (including arts), technical sciences (including agricultural sciences), medical sciences, life sciences and social sciences) from Polish and Ukrainian universities took part in the survey. The total number of respondents was 808 individuals (418 Polish and 390 Ukrainian students) (table 1). The conducted research had a pilot character. The diagnostic survey was conducted from March to June 2021.
The basic methodological tool of research was an original questionnaire that included the following 4 main parameters (and consequently the blocks of questions)
On the basis of surveys conducted with the use of questionnaire among Polish and Ukrainian students within the framework of all fields of science, a number of regularities were revealed.
Polish and Ukrainian students rather positively assess the level of their knowledge about the environment – 46% (Polish students) and 52% (Ukrainian students) assess it as moderate and 44% (Polish students) and 35% (Ukrainian students) describe it as good moderate (figure 1). There is a big difference between the assessments made by students from different fields of study. What is surprising, however, is the moderate assessment of knowledge in the field of ecology and environmental protection by students of technical field of study. Among them, even 4% of Polish students and 6% of Ukrainian students assess this knowledge as ‘bad’.
The result of research shows that the basic source of knowledge for Polish and Ukrainian respondents is the information available on the Internet (table 2 and table 3). It is worth noting that scientific journals are used to gain knowledge about the state of the environment and its protection by only 27% of the Polish and 10 % of Ukrainian students surveyed. News via social media is the primary source for students in the humanities (95% in Poland and 78 % in Ukraine) and social sciences (75% in Poland and 81 in Ukraine).
It is important to note the relatively high importance attached to classical sources of knowledge by natural science students. In this group of Polish students, school education (51%), scientific journals (41%) and conferences (24%) are significantly more indicated than in the other groups. Unfortunately, Ukrainian students do not attach much importance to conferences as a source of knowledge. Only 6% of natural science students in Ukraine attach great importance of conferences.
It was shown that each of the distinguished groups of students has its own, separate characteristics. The greatest similarities can be found between the students of medical, natural and social sciences. Students of the humanities and technical sciences differ significantly from them. Some differences were also shown between students of Polish and Ukrainian universities.
- Jaska, E., 2009. Ecological awareness of the society and sustainable development. Roczniki Naukowe Stowarzyszenia Ekonomistów Rolnictwa i Agrobiznesu, 11(6), 56-61.
- Anna Bernaciak, PhD, Poznan University of Economics and Business, Poland, Anna.Bernaciak@ue.poznan.pl
- Arnold Bernaciak, prof. WSB University in Poznan, Poland, Anna.Bernaciak@ue.poznan.pl
- Alona Revko, Doctor of Economics Sciences, Professor of Social Work Department at Chernihiv Polytechnic National University, Ukraine, firstname.lastname@example.org