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Author(s)

Eren Durmuş-Özdemir, Sevinç Şener

Affiliation(s)

Akdeniz University, Antalya, Turkey

ABSTRACT

The purpose of the present study is to explain if there is any difference in the environmental risk perceptions of university students and the association of such differences, if any, with environmental education. Nowadays, the importance of education in understanding the risks that threaten the environment and suggesting solutions for such risks and raising awareness on environmental matters has become an important research question. It is known that higher education is the level of education where individuals are able to attain environmental awareness. Hence, it is necessary to investigate the university students’ environment risk perceptions related to environment education. The present study is a relational study with a descriptive pattern aimed to describe the relationship between university students’ environment risk perceptions and environment education. The “Environmental Risk Perceptions” questionnaire was the basic data collection tool of this study. The questionnaire was tested in a pilot study with 250 university students and it was revised according to the feedback obtained from these students. The revised version of the questionnaire was used in the field study which was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 570 university students actively attending in Vocational College of Technical Sciences of Akdeniz University in Turkey from January 2015 to May 2016. The obtained data from the questionnaires are analyzed through the SPSS statistical package program. The current study found that a significant positive relationship was found between the students’ environment education and their environmental risk perceptions. Students responding to the study stated that taking at least 1 course on environment during their university education had an impact on all aspects of their environmental risk perception. The great majority of students expressed that university education had improved their sensitivity towards environmental matters and they knew about the prominent non-governmental organizations active in the field of environment and became members to such organizations owing to their education. The results of the present study indicate that the formal education and non-formal learning processes offered at vocational colleges with respect to matters concerning the environment have an impact upon students. In fact, the present study gives way to the opinion that the addition of courses on environmental matters to all programmers creates a difference in the environmental risk perceptions of students.

KEYWORDS

environmental risk, environmental education, university

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