Environmental awareness, attitude and participation among secondary school students: a comparative study of Kasarani and Kibera Divisions, Nairobi County, Kenya
Kiprotich, Victor Boiyo
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Environmental degradation poses a major threat to the existence of humanity today both in rural and urban settlements. In such a scenario, the importance and need for environmental education as a tool for environmental management and conservation cannot be overemphasized. To raise environmental literacy level among Kenyans, Environmental Education is taught using both interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary approaches. Research has shown that students in urban centers are more environmentally informed compared to those in rural areas. While rural-urban differences in Kenyan household characteristics are still a significant determinant of differences in school participation patterns, there is now a growing urban-urban divide following rapid urbanization. This has come with different characteristics from those of earlier phases used in previous studies to model rural versus urban student level of awareness, attitudes and participation. This calls into question the notion that urban settlements in Africa are always advantaged. Kibera and Kasarani represent different settlements of Nairobi. The aim of this study was to establish the level of awareness, attitude and participation of secondary school students in environmental activities in these two different settlements. The study involved a sample of three hundred and twenty secondary school students randomly selected from secondary schools in Kasarani and Kibera Divisions. Data was primarily collected using researcher developed questionnaires. Analysis of the data was done by first coding them in SPSS version 2010. The study has achieved its objective by drawing a comparison between students in different sections of an urban divide. By calculating an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and a group statistic using P=0.05, the hypotheses postulated were tested and it was established that there is no significant difference in the level of awareness, attitude and level of participation in environmental activities of secondary school students in Kasarani and Kibera Divisions. It was also found out that there is need to refocus the approach of EE in order to ensure that it does not only make learners aware but also create a sense of personal responsibility which is fundamental in ensuring sustainable environmental behavior. The findings of the study may be used by authorities in making priorities in terms of environmental education for various settlements in urban set up. It will also help in tailoring EE approach to make it relevant and responsive to the immediate concerns and responsibilities of students and the entire community by putting into perspective emergent environmental concerns.