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A study report on Environmental education and communication program for children in villages, India

I. Introduction

Recent times have witnessed a global concern for the environment. Protection of environment has posed not only a major challenge but also a social and moral responsibility in the present society. In point of fact, the subject of environment has interested the general public and caught the attention and enthusiasm of children in particular. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992) adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development affirms that children are an indispensable component in achieving sustainable development. In addition, one chapter in Agenda 21 is solely devoted to children and youth in sustainable development and portrays the special role that they can play in this process, while other chapters recognize the conditions of extreme poverty in which children live and the perpetual state of hunger the many suffer as a consequence of environment degradation.

A study report on Environmental Education and Communication Program for children in villages, India-An Intervention-oriented research project-1993-1998

Obviously enough, there is an increasing evidence in support of the crucial role that children can and must play in environmental protection through their participation and also developing of appropriate mechanisms that protect the children’s rights to a decent environment.

Globalization is linked with the children’s rights as evidenced in the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child 1989, which proclaims the following environmental child rights to be protected and promoted by the State parties.

Article: 6-Right to life, Article : 12-Right to express views, Article: 13-Freedom of expression, including freedom to seek, receive and impart information, Article: 15-Freedom of association, perhaps in relation to formation of environmental groups, Article: 16- Privacy, Article : 17-Access to information including national and international sources, especially material aimed at promotion of the child’s physical and mental health, Article: 24- Right of the child to the enjoyment of highest attainable standard of health, Article: 27-Right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s development, Article: 28 & 29 -Education, Article: 31-Right of the child to rest and leisure and to engage in play and recreational activities.

In principle 19 of the Stockholm Declaration of the Human Environment (1973), it was emphasized `Education in environmental matters, for the younger generation as well as adults, giving due consideration to the underprivileged, is essential in order to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals; enterprises and communities in this full human dimension’. Further, it recognized that the world’s youth have vital role to play in environment protection more than twenty years ago and expressed the same in Principle 19. It emphasizes that child, who will inherit the earth, must receive it, and in turn pass it on, in a state no worse than received. To achieve this, environment education is highlighted as vital in this process.

By sensitizing the young minds to environmental problems-natural and man made, education and communication can assist, in keeping the demands within environmentally sustained limits and thus improve the quality of life for all. Environmental education is a continuous learning process based on respect for all life. It affirms values and actions, which ultimately promote the transformation and construction of society. It fosters ecologically sound and equitable societies that live together in interdependence and diversity. It requires individual and collective responsibility at the local, national and planetary level. It attempts to bring about change in the quality of life and a greater consciousness of personal conduct, as well as harmony among the human being and between them and other forms of life. Most importantly, it greens the young minds in a globalizing world to think and act locally and globally in a fast changing world.

Knowing the importance of promoting the environmental rights among children and providing opportunity for them to effectively participate in practice-based learning experiences, the Goodwill social work centre, a non-governmental organization involved in child development and research in Madurai, India undertook an ‘Environmental education and communication program for children in villages,Madurai and Kamaraj Districts,Tamilnadu, India within the framework of an intervention-oriented action research. The project was implemented in two phases:

Phase I: August 12, 1993 –August 12, 1995 and

Phase II: February 25, 1997- February 25, 1998.

The research project was designed as an intervention -oriented research within the framework of quasi-experimental. It comprised pre and post assessment surveys to assess the knowledge of children about environment. In the first and second phases of the project, interviews were conducted with the children using the instrument ‘before’ and ‘after’ intervention. Both independent and dependant variables were investigated and significant differences in the participants’ knowledge were examined.

Objectives

1. To educate children about environmental issues.

2. To provide an opportunity for the children participate in environmental communication programs.

3. To prepare children to share environment information with others on a child-to-child and child-to-community.

4. To organize children to participate in environmental protection programs.

c. Geographical area and location of the project

In the first phase, the project was implemented in ten villages in the Narikudi village panchayat block, Kamarajar district, Tamilnadu, South India. The project was funded by the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada during August 12, 1993 –August 12, 1995. The Narikudi Block comprises 92 revenue villages.

In the second phase, the project was implemented in Therkutheru Villages, Madurai East Village panchayat union block, Madurai district, Tamilnadu, South India during February 25, 1997- February 25, 1998. This program was a replication of earlier IDRC (Canada) funded field research undertaken by the Goodwill Social Work Centre. Funded by US based DuPont South Asia Limited,Madurai under Safety Health and Environment(SHE)award 1997-1998, the project was implanted in the villages surrounding the industry.

d. Organization of the Program

In the initial phase of the program, a series of meetings with local leaders, community influentials, local school teachers and parents were organized. Baseline survey through door-to-door visits was conducted in the project areas. The following strategies were adopted.

1. Setting up Children’s Environmental Rights Centre.

2. Designing a curriculum on Environmental Education.

3. Focus on environmental rights in EE & Training.

4 Training for village male and female Animators.

5. Enrolment of children (Girls and Boys)

6. Pre-assessment survey.

7. Time frame for EE classes and Training.

8. Program implementation.

9 Post evaluation

e. Participants

During the first phase of the project, 300 children in the 8-16 years of age were selected. Of 300 children, 158 were males and the remainder (142) was females.

During the second phase, 157 children comprising males and females in the 10-16 years of age were selected.

f. Sampling

Phase I

During the first phase, a sample frame was made in order to facilitate the sample selection. This frame was prepared by carrying out a complete listing of children going to school and children not going to school in ten villages selected for the purpose of the study. Using random method, a sample of 30 school going children and 30 Non-school going children was drawn from the list of children made out for each village. The age range for the both school going children and non-school going children was fixed between 8-16 years. The non-school going children included cattle herders, agricultural workers, and children working in brick making units etc. A total of 300 children was selected which included both males and females, covering approximately 25 percent of the total child population in the selected villages Of 300 samples drawn, 158 were males and 142 were females. The selection of children for the research was made taking into consideration the principles outlined by the International Development Research Centre, Canada.

Phase II- The second phase of the project covered 157 children (males and females) in the 10-16 years of age. Data were collected from representative samples of 93 children. The sample frame constituted 65.6 per cent of males and 34.4 per cent females.

Since children were involved in the project, special care was taken by the Goodwill Social Work Centre to ensure that their participation was undertaken in accordance with the following ethical standards:

a) The aims, methods and anticipated benefits were notified to the children and their parents. b) Parents were counseled with respect to their children’s participation in the environment education and communication program and their consent was obtained c) No pressure or inducement of any kind was applied to encourage a child to become a subject of the research and
d) The parents of the selected children were informed of the right to withdraw their children from the project at any time.

g. Instruments and procedures

A curriculum on environment education for the children containing 24 units of lesson was designed. Resource materials on environment education were prepared in English and translated in vernacular for the use of the Educators

An Evaluation instrument on environmental education was developed and administered to the children at the pre and post evaluation phases. The instrument contained 418 statements covering 24 units of lesson namely1. Environment - 15 statements, 2. Nature patterns -22 statements, 3. Environment depletion - 9 statements, 4. Environment Pollution - 20 statements, 5. Energy - 16 statements, 6. Health and hygiene - 14 statements, 7. Forestry - 17 statements, 8. Water- 16 statements, 9. Agriculture - 13 statements, 10. Bio-diversity - 13 statements, 11. Ecological Balance - 8 statements, 12. Wasteland development - 11 statements, 13. Nutrition - 13 statements, 14. Sanitation - 9 statements, 15. Genetic resources - 9 statements, 16. Plant propagation - 9 statements, 17. Nursery raising -11statements, 18. Organic farming - 11 statements, 19. Integrated pest management - 18 statements, 20. Herbal farming - statements, 21. Kitchen garden - 11 statements, 22. Family welfare - 5 statements, 23. Animal welfare - 10 statements, 24. Tree planting -10 statements. The statements were itemized on a four point scale namely, ‘Strongly Agree’, ‘Agree’, ‘Disagree’ and ‘Strongly Disagree’. The positive items received high scores-Strongly Agree’ 4 points, ‘Agree’ 3 points, ‘Disagree’ 2 points, and ‘Strongly Disagree’ 1 point. The scale of the negative items was ‘Strongly Agree’ 1 point, ‘Agree’ 2 points ‘Disagree’ 3 point and ‘Strongly Disagree’ 4 points. All the itemized statements were constructed in English and translated in the vernacular (Tamil language). Responses for each statement were obtained from the children ‘Before’ and ‘After’ the implementation of the environmental education. The translation of the itemized statements was made as simple and easy as possible to be understood by the children.

In the pre evaluation phase, the evaluation instrument was administered to all the children and their responses to each item of statements were recorded carefully. In the process of program implementation, unit wise evaluation sheet containing the relevant items of statements was made out and the same was administered to the children immediately on completion of each unit of lesson handled by the Environment Educators. At each stage of learning, this was done to get the feed back from the children.

Evaluation instruments to assess the opinion of children and Educators on Environmental Communications’ were designed. These instruments were used to record information on the type of communication techniques and media approaches adopted, contexts and relevance, media intervention (traditional and modern methods) in environmental education and training sessions.

h. Communication applications

The centre adopted various teaching strategies and media approaches in the environmental education and training sessions for the children namely lecture method, group discussion, question and answer sessions, role playing, skits, slide and video show, film shows, poster exhibitions, demonstrations, display of charts, flip charts, flash cards, field study and exposure visits, environment games and quiz sessions.

The variety of media approaches adopted was properly evaluated using a structured schedule developed by the centre. The format recorded the title of the topic covered, the type of teaching method adopted and the number of hours spent on each teaching method for the topics. The schedule was administered to the children of all the environmental education centers during the course of the educational program.

The time frame for imparting environmental information and communication applications in various sessions in the village centers is given below:

a) Lecture Sessions - 150 hours

b) Film Shows - 24 hours

c) Audio Presentation - 12 hours

d) Video Show - 10 hours

e) Slide Projection - 25 hours

f) Display of Flip Chart /Flash Cards / Flannel Graphs - 30 hours

In addition, 40 practical demonstrations and model experiments were organized for the children. Poster exhibitions were also held in all the villages. Models prepared by the children were on display for the purpose of learning by all the children. Printed materials such as pamphlets, booklets, picture cards, posters, handbills etc were collected from the local Governmental organizations for distribution of the children. Daily Activity Record and Attendance Register for children were maintained in each centre. The Environment Educators recorded the daily attendance of children, the time of commencement of each class, topic handles by them everyday, the media or the teaching method used, name of the resource person if invited, demonstration / models undertaken, plan of action for the next day, limitations / problems faced and so on.

I. Data analysis

The data were processed using statistical package for Social Sciences (SPSS PC+). Various statistical test namely simple frequency,‘t’ tests and discriminant analysis were applied for arriving at statistical inferences. The data collected during the pre and post evaluation studies were edited, sorted and coded and analyzed using the above statistical package. Frequency distribution has revealed the percent distribution of the socio- economic characteristics of the children. ‘t’ test results showed the differences in the level of knowledge about environment among the children ‘before’ and ‘after’ interventions. Discriminant analysis was done in order to find the predominant or important variables (dimensions) which discriminated ‘before’ and ‘after’ attending the environment education program.

IV. Greening the Young minds –Profile of Action Programs

As part of the project, the Goodwill Social Work Centre organized a variety of environmental action programs for the children with a view to providing them with opportunities and benefits to participate and to share environmental information with others on a child to child and to community basis.

  • Bio-diversity conservation contest for the children

The purposes of the contest were to bring about an awareness of the values of the plant species, to protect and safeguard the rare varieties of the plants, to promote different plant species, to involve the children in the environmental protection process and to educate the children on plant protection and promotion. The main feature of this Bio-diversity conservation contest was to create an environmental awareness in the minds of the rural children and to enable them to understand the medicinal values of plants and their utilities and to ultimately participate in the nation’s environmental protection programs. The contest was organized for three days after the completion of the relevant units of lesson in the curriculum on environment education.

On the first day of the contest, each child was asked to write down the names of different plant varieties and their utilities. If any of the plant species noted down in their list would be available in their village, they were asked to bring those species for display. This was organized on the second day. On the final day of the contest, a Committee of Jurists selected a few of these species and put forth questions relating to their utility and place of their availability. Based on the correct answers, the committee selected the winners and prizes were distributed to them. The winners were also taken out on an exposure visit to Kodaikanal Natural Forestry, Anna District, Tamilnadu, and South India

  • Animal welfare education and communication :

The centre organized Animal Welfare Education and Communication programs for the participants. The program components were as follows:

A group contest on ‘Traditional / local practices on Animal welfare ‘in the 10 targeted villages. The children were given one week’s time to write down the following:

a. Traditional practices on Animal Welfare known to him/her.

b. Traditional practices followed in his/her village.

c. Traditional practices applied by him/her and its impact.

Their papers were perused by the selection committee (Traditional practitioners in the villages, educators, and two village representatives) and the winners were declared. Prizes were distributed to the first three winners.

A one-day Intensive training program on ‘Application of the traditional practices on animal handling, feeding, care and welfare’ was organized for the children. Experts were invited to impart knowledge on the positive and negative impact of the traditional practices of animal welfare to all the participants.

Participatory training on a) Compost making, b) Soak-pit preparation and c) Fodder storage was also organized. The children, under professional guidance, learnt scientific techniques on compost-making and prepared models on soak-pit and fodder storage unit in a community place. A ‘Healthy Animal Show’ was organized in the 10 targeted villages. The children were asked to exhibit the animals namely; cows, goats, bullocks and buffaloes kept in their home, and explain to others on the character, their handling, feeding, care, yield and potentials. Based on this, the selection committee adjudged the winners and prizes were distributed to them.

    • Nursery raising:

The children were exposed to theoretical and practical sessions on nursery raising. They were provided with information on the importance of plant protection and raising saplings and plantings of trees. “Hands On” training was organized for the children on nursery raising and tree planting. Planting of saplings on the temple lands and road sides and school campus was down by the children.

In addition to nursery raising, practical sessions on herbal farming and kitchen gardening were also organized. They were encouraged to grow kitchen gardens in their respective villages. Children had gained practical knowledge on the value of herbal plants, collection of herbal plant seeds, growing herbal plants, watering, pruning, extraction of medicine, utilities, marketing etc. Local herbal medicine practitioners were invited to deliver lectures and conduct demonstrations on extraction and process of herbal medicines for the children.

  • Tank plantations:

All the children participated in tank plantation programs organized by the centre, as part of the ‘Greening the Program’. Different plants were grown on the sides of the tank beds by the children. Watering and caring of the plants was done by them regularly.

  • Field study/Exposure visits

The children were taken to ‘Sacred Groves’ plantation area once a week and were involved in watering and care for the plants. They were imparted skills on identifying different plant species and monitor their growth. Field visits were arranged for the children to various local Hindu temples for raising ‘Sacred Groves’ on the temple lands. These visits inculcated in the young minds the aesthetic values of keeping their places of worship clean and tidy and greening the surroundings of the temples with rare species of saplings.

  • Formation of children’s Eco-media groups

Talented children from the samples drawn for the study were identified and organized into children’s Eco-media groups. They were imparted skill training in communication applications to ‘Child to Child’ and ‘Child to Community’ programs. These children were trained in a variety of media approaches namely singing songs, enacting skits, street plays, folk dances, story telling etc, In fact, these methods portrayed various environment related issues and the role -responsibilities of children and their families in promoting and protecting the environment.

The children’s eco-media groups visited the villages and staged a series of “Greening the young and the adult minds” programs through the applications of eco-friendly technologies. Since children were directly involved themselves in organizing various media performances, it evoked interest and attention of other children of the same age group in particular, in such child to child and child to community programs.

 

  • Green rallies

100 children participated in a series of cycle rallies to commemorate World Environment Day on 5, June 1994. Forming themselves as “Green Brigades”, they went on bi-cycles to 30 villages sensitizing the young and the old through giving green talks and eco based messages, staging street plays, distributing leaflets, and raising “Green Slogans”. Specially designed T-Shirts were distributed to both male and female children. On the final day of the green rallies, a Children’s meet was organized in which nearly 700 children participated. Prizes and Mementoes were distributed to the children. A talent show was organized for the children. At the end of the Children’s Meet, all the children took a pledge to preserve and protect the environment.

  • Film show and competitions

The centre in collaboration with the C.P. Ramasamy Aiyar Environment Research Centre. Madras, South India conducted film show on environment related issues in all the selected villages. The Social Forestry Department, Governmental protection in the villages. The Field Publicity Office, Government of Tamilnadu organized elocution contests, Quiz competitions and debates for the children on various themes of environment. Prizes were distributed to the children. In addition, video programs were also organized for the children.

  • Poster exhibitions

An interesting feature of the program was that the centre organized a series of poster exhibitions for the children and the community in all the selected villages. Posters and charts were prepared on various themes and these were used as popular teaching aids for the environmental education sessions by the Educators. In addition, printed posters and charts on relevant environment related issues such as health, nutrition, environmental pollution etc were collected from the local Governmental Resources centers and used as display materials in the Children’s environmental education centers in ten villages.

  • Learn of the local environment

In order to make the environmental education more meaningful and socially relevant for the children and to make them aware of their local surroundings, the centre adopted some learner friendly strategies that required children to exercise their imagination through ‘hands on’ experiences. Children in small groups were taken on field trips to the local schools, primary health centre, Village Panchayat Office, bus station, places of worship, market place etc to make them aware of the functions and services of each resource system. Both school going and non-school going children were very excited about the learning of the local environmental. Following each field trip by the children, discussions were held in the environmental education classes by the Educators and children were asked to reflect on their understanding of their learning experiences. To the educator’s astonishment, many non-school going children had not seen a ‘School’ and a majority of children in general did not have the opportunities to get exposed themselves to such enriching experiences in their formative years.

 

  • Inter village children’s sports meets

As part of the environmental education program, the centre organized Inter Village Children’s Sports Meets for the children. These events had not only provided opportunities for them to participate in rural games and sports but also brought together children of varied socio-economic backgrounds.

  • Free medical check ups for children

As a supplementary program, the centre organized free general medical check up camps, skin care camps and eye check up camps for the children in collaboration with Arvind Eye Hospital. Madurai and Meenakshi Mission Hospital, Madurai. South India. Treatment and supply of medicines were provided to the children free of cost. Child health rights promotion campaigns were regularly organized in each of the selected villages.

 

V. Results and Discussion

Phase I

Results of the first phase of the project have revealed the socio-demographic characteristics of 300 children in ten villages in Narikudi block, Kamarajar district. Of the 300 sample drawn, 158 were males and the rest (142) were females. Regarding the age distribution among children, it was noticed that 31-01 percent of males and 32.39 percent of females were in the age group of 8-10 years, 55.06 percent of males and 56.34 percent of females were in the age group of 11-13 years, 13.93 percent of males and 11.27 percent of females were in the age group 14-16 years.

The educational level of School going children (150) has revealed the fact that a sizeable section (58 percent) were at the 5th standard in school, 15.33 percent were at the 6th standard 1.33percent were at the 8th standard and one child was at the 9the standard in school. The rest of the children were doing schooling at the primary level.

An analysis of data on the occupational status of parents of the sampled population shows that 53.66 percent (161) of father were agricultural farmers, 29 percent (87) were agricultural labor, 2 percent (6) were rural artisans, and 3.67 percent (11) were small traders while 11.67 percent (35) were involved in unskilled work. As regards the occupation of mothers, it is evident that 32 percent (96) of them were housewives, while 49.67 percent (149) were agricultural labor. 1.33 percent (4) was rural artisans whereas a sizeable percentage of mothers were engaged in unskilled labor. Only 1.67 percent (5) was small traders. Majority of the children’s monthly family income (66 percent) ranged from Rs 100 to Rs 300, while 30.33 percent (91) of them earned a monthly family income in the range of Rs 301 to Rs. 500. A small size of them earned an income ranging from Rs 501 to Rs 800. Only a minuscule percentage (1 percent) earned a monthly income of Rs 801 and above.

Regarding the family size of the survey respondents 12 percent (36) of the children’s families have had members ranging from 8 to 10 while 75.67 percent (227) of families have had members which varied from 4 to 7. 12.33 percent (37) have had 3 members in their families. (Spouse and child)

While analyzing the various kinds of leisure time activities of both school going children and children not going to school. It is quite interesting to note that 41 percent (123) of them indulged in playing with friends, while 11.33 percent (34) did reading books. 12.33 percent used to watch Television during leisure time, while 3.33 percent (10) listened to Radio programs. 10.67 percent of the children used to visit village cinema houses whereas 21.34 percent (64) attended to household work during leisure time.

Children working in invisible sectors in the villages in the project area are a common phenomenon and an economic necessity for their families to earn supplementary income, however meager it may be. Of 300 samples drawn, a majority (187) of school going and non school going children were engaged in agriculture, collection of fire woods, seeds, cattle herding, whereas the rest (113) have not taken up any work. It is quite revealing that the medical status of 97.67 percent (293) appeared to be normal whereas the rest (2.33 percent) have had ‘poor’ health profile due to certain illness.

Analysis of the reasons attributed by 150 children for dropping out or not going to school reveals the fact that 42 percent (63) of them could not attend school owing to poor financial status of their families while 26.67 percent (40) of them due to objections by parents. 28.67 percent (43) stated that they were not interested in attending school while 2.66 percent (4) were willing to work to earn additional income.

 

It is evident from the Face Sheet that 56.67 percent (85) of the working children earned a monthly income which varied from Rs 50 to Rs 125, while 40 percent [60] earned an income in the range of Rs 126 to Rs 200 per month. Only a small percentage of them 3.33 percent] earned a monthly income of Rs 201 to Rs. 300. Of the total monthly income earned by these working children, 63.33 percent (95) contributed a sum ranging from Rs 30 to Rs 100 to supplement their family expenditure whereas 32.67 percent (49) contributed their monthly earnings which varied from Rs 101 to Rs 180. Only 4 percent (6) contributed their monthly wages ranging between Rs 181 to Rs 250 to meet their family expenses. It is quite interesting to note that of 150 schools going children, 68 percent (102) of them expressed their desire to continue their school education whereas the rest responded in the negative despondently.

Comparison of the knowledge among school children and non school children on various dimensions before attending environmental education

TABLE 1

 

Sly. NO.

 

Dimensions

School Children N = 150

Non

School Children N = 150

 

t’

Value

 

Results

1.

DIM24 – Animal welfare

Mean

SD

 

11.61

3.89

 

10.23

3.39

 

 

3.29

 

P<0.05

Significant

2.

DIM5 – Environment pollution

Mean

SD

 

21.44

9.56

 

18.59

7.75

 

 

2.83

 

P<0.05

Significant

3.

DIM7 – Health

Mean

SD

 

14.51

5.93

 

12.76

5.05

 

 

2.76

 

P<0.05

Significant

4.

DIM22 – Kitchen Garden

Mean

SD

 

12.80

4.32

 

11.45

4.25

 

 

2.72

 

P<0.05

Significant

5.

DIM18 – Nurseries

Mean

SD

 

12.20

4.90

 

10.81

4.96

 

 

2.62

 

P<0.05

Significant

6.

DIM14 - Nutrition

Mean

SD

 

15.05

5.37

 

13.49

4.96

 

 

2.60

 

P<0.05

Significant

7.

DIM1 – Basic Scientific Attitude

Mean

SD

 

28.62

12.24

 

25.17

11.32

 

 

2.53

 

P<0.05

Significant

8.

DIM4 – Environment Degradation

Mean

SD

 

9.23

4.64

 

7.97

4.14

 

 

2.49

 

P<0.05

Significant

9.

DIM 11 – Bio-Diversity

Mean

SD

 

13.53

5.95

 

11.98

5.01

 

 

2.45

 

P<0.05

Significant

10.

DIM3 – Nature Pattern

Mean

SD

 

23.53

8.91

 

21.23

7.80

 

 

2.38

 

P<0.05

Significant

 

Sly. NO.

 

Dimensions

School Children N = 150

Non

School Children N = 150

 

t’

Value

 

Results

11.

DIM25 – Tree Planting & After Care

Mean

SD

 

11.06

4.60

 

9.98

3.49

 

 

2.29

 

P<0.05

Significant

12.

DIM2 - Environment

Mean

SD

 

15.11

6.67

 

13.46

6.27

 

 

2.20

 

P<0.05

Significant

13.

DIM10 - Agriculture

Mean

SD

 

13.30

6.19

 

11.99

4.93

 

 

2.02

 

P<0.05

Significant

14.

DIM19 – Organic Farming

Mean

SD

 

12.25

4.79

 

11.21

4.55

 

 

1.92

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

15.

DIM9 - Water

Mean

SD

 

17.48

7.41

 

15.93

6.66

 

 

1.91

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

16.

DIM8 - Forestry

Mean

SD

 

17.69

7.23

 

16.24

6.50

 

 

1.82

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

17.

DIM13 – Wasteland Development

Mean

SD

 

11.78

4.70

 

10.91

4.04

 

 

1.73

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

18.

DIM23 – Family Welfare

Mean

SD

 

5.73

2.63

 

5.25

2.26

 

 

1.67

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

19.

DIM 6 - Energy

Mean

SD

 

16.67

6.96

 

15.60

6.01

 

 

1.48

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

20.

DIM20 – Integrated pest Management

Mean

SD

 

18.67

6.59

 

17.69

6.01

 

 

1.35

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

 

 

21.

 

 

 

 

 

DIM 15 – Sanitation

Mean

SD

 

 

 

9.75

4.27

 

 

 

9.15

4.27

 

 

1.33

 

 

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

22.

 

 

 

DIM21 – Herbal Farming

Mean

SD

 

8.74

3.47

 

8.25

2.97

 

 

1.32

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

23.

DIM17 –Plant Propagation

Mean

SD

 

9.37

4.14

 

8.79

3.69

 

 

1.28

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

24.

DIM12 - Ecology

Mean

SD

 

7.60

4.59

 

7.04

3.84

 

 

1.15

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

25.

DIM16 – Genetic Resources

Mean

SD

 

8.63

4.41

 

8.51

3.43

 

 

0.26

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

26.

DIM – Total EEC

Mean

SD

 

346.35

118.73

 

313.68

97.32

 

 

2.61

 

P<0.05

Significant

Table 1 portrays the comparison of knowledge among School going Children and Non-School going children, on various dimensions ‘Before’ attending the environmental education. ‘t’ test value was computed and the level of significance was found. The dimensions have been arranged based on the higher order‘t’ values.

The dimension ‘Animal Welfare’ recorded for the School going children, a mean value of 11.61 (SD = 3.89) and for the Non-School going children, a mean value of 10.23 (SD = 3.39). Application of ‘t’ test earned a value of 3.29, which was significant. Therefore it is observed that the level of knowledge among School going children on ‘Animal Welfare’ was found to be significantly higher as compared to the Non-School going Children. Similarly, the‘t’ test values of the dimension Environment pollution (2.83), Health (2.76), Kitchen Garden (2.72), Nurseries (2.62), Nutrition (2.60), Basic Scientific Attitude (2.53), Environment Degradation (2.49), Bio – Diversity (2.45), Nature Pattern (2.38), Tree Planting & After Care (2.29), Environment (2.20), and Agriculture (2.02) showed significant difference between the two groups.

It is seen that the first five dimensions namely Animal Welfare, Environment Pollution, Health, Kitchen Garden and Nurseries, showed high significance than the other dimensions since their ‘t’ values were high.

However, the ‘t’ values for the dimensions Organic Farming (1.92), Water (1.91), Forestry (1.82), Wasteland Development (1.73), Family Welfare (1.67), Energy (1.48), Integrated Pest management (1.35), Sanitation (1.33), Herbal Farming (1.32), Plant Propagation (1.28), Ecology (1.15) and Genetic Resources (0.26), showed insignificant probability values. Therefore, there was no statistical difference between these groups with respect to these dimensions.

The total mean for the ‘School going children’ showed 346.35 (SD = 118.73), whereas for the Non – School going children the mean value was 313.68 (SD = 97.32). The total ‘t’ value was 2.61, which was found to be statistically significant. It shows that the level of knowledge of school going children in comparison with Non – School-going children was significantly higher in terms of 13 out of the 25 dimensions included in the Environment Education.

t’ test results showing the differences in the knowledge among school going and non - school going children on the 25 dimensions, ‘after’ attending the environmental education.

TABLE 2

 

Sl. NO.

 

Dimensions

School Children N = 150

Non

School Children N = 150

 

t’

Value

 

Results

1.

DIM7 – Health

Mean

SD

 

21.73

2.94

 

22.57

2.82

 

 

2.52

 

P<0.05

Significant

2.

DIM21 – Herbal Farming

Mean

SD

 

13.11

2.47

 

13.53

1.83

 

 

1.70

 

P<0.05

Significant

3.

DIM2 – Environment

Mean

SD

 

23.54

2.46

 

24.06

3.20

 

 

1.58

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

4.

DIM15 – Sanitation

Mean

SD

 

15.21

1.57

 

14.89

2.19

 

 

1.45

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

5.

DIM10 – Agriculture

Mean

SD

 

19.52

3.26

 

19.07

2.97

 

 

1.26

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

6.

DIM11 – Bio - Diversity

Mean

SD

 

21.26

2.49

 

20.89

2.95

 

 

1.16

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

 

7.

 

DIM24 – Animal Welfare

Mean

SD

 

15.56

2.92

 

15.22

2.28

 

 

1.13

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

 

8.

 

DIM16 – Genetic Resources

Mean

SD

 

13.89

3.45

 

13.46

3.28

 

 

1.10

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

9.

DIM 17 – Plant Propagation

Mean

SD

 

13.97

3.04

 

14.30

2.41

 

 

1.05

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

10.

DIM9 – Water

Mean

SD

 

26.73

27.18

 

4.28

3.44

 

 

1.00

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

11.

DIM18 – Nurseries

Mean

SD

 

18.02

3.62

 

18.37

2.51

 

 

0.98

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

12.

DIM19 – Organic Farming

Mean

SD

 

17.99

3.14

 

18.27

2.19

 

 

0.92

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

13.

DIM25 – Tree Planting & After Care

Mean

SD

 

 

3.29

5.27

 

 

3.90

6.47

 

 

 

0.90

 

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

14.

DIM22 – Kitchen Garden

Mean

SD

 

18.44

4.24

 

18.83

3.44

 

 

0.87

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

15.

DIM5 – Environment Pollution

Mean

SD

 

32.57

4.66

 

32.99

4.62

 

 

0.80

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

16.

DIM20 – Integrated Pest Management

Mean

SD

 

 

26.56

5.66

 

 

27.01

4.61

 

 

 

0.76

 

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

17.

DIM23 – Family Welfare

Mean

SD

 

8.41

2.03

 

8.55

1.67

 

 

0.65

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

 

18.

 

DIM4 – Environment Degradation

Mean

SD

 

 

13.85

3.67

 

 

13.60

3.62

 

 

 

0.59

 

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

19.

DIM 3 – Nature pattern

Mean

SD

 

32.06

5.87

 

32.43

6.37

 

 

0.53

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

20.

DIM14 – Nutrition

Mean

SD

 

22.91

3.33

 

23.11

3.52

 

 

0.49

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

21.

 

 

 

DIM 13 – Wasteland Development

Mean

SD

 

 

16.69

3.14

 

 

16.81

4.27

 

 

1.33

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

22.

 

 

 

DIM8 – Forestry

Mean

SD

 

27.11

3.98

 

26.97

3.85

 

 

0.30

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

23.

DIM1 –Basic Scientific Attitude

Mean

SD

 

 

41.15

6.95

 

 

41.28

7.21

 

 

 

0.16

 

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

24.

DIM12 - Ecology

Mean

SD

 

13.97

2.66

 

14.00

2.21

 

 

0.09

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

25.

DIM6 – Energy

Mean

SD

 

23.82

4.47

 

23.79

3.89

 

 

0.06

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

26.

DIM – Total EEC

Mean

SD

 

501.34

62.31

 

505.10

56.23

 

 

0.55

 

P>0.05

Not Sig.

 

Table 2: The School going children and Non – School going children as district units of analysis were compared ‘After’ their attending the environmental education classes. Based on the ‘t’ test results, statistical significance was found. In the dimension '‘Health'’ the mean value for the School going children was 21.73 (SD = 2.94) and for the Non – School going children the mean value was 22.57 (SD = 2.82). The calculated ‘t’ value was 2.52, which showed statistical significance. The dimension ‘Herbal farming’ with the ‘t’ value 1.70 also varied statistically.

All the other dimensions scored insignificant probability value and therefore there existed no statistical difference between the two units with respect to these dimensions. The total mean value for the School going children was 501.34 (SD = 62.31) and the mean value for the Non – School going children was 505.10 (SD = 56.23). The ‘t’ value being 0.55, showed statistical insignificance.

t’ test results showing the differences in the knowledge among male children ‘before’ and ‘after’ their attendance in environmental education.

TABLE 3

 

Sl. NO.

 

Dimensions

School Children N = 150

Non

School Children N = 150

 

t’

Value

 

Results

1.

DIM7 – Health

Mean

SD

 

13.65

5.79

 

22.37

2.74

 

 

17.12

 

P<0.05

Significant

2.

DIM2 – Environment

Mean

SD

 

14.13

6.74

 

23.92

2.76

 

 

16.90

 

P<0.05

Significant

3.

DIM11 – Bio-Diversity

Mean

SD

 

12.77

5.44

 

20.94

3.02

 

 

16.51

 

P<0.05

Significant

4.

DIM14 - Nutrition

Mean

SD

 

14.29

5.48

 

23.84

3.64

 

 

16.34

 

P<0.05

Significant

5.

DIM12 - Ecology

Mean

SD

 

7.38

4.27

 

13.82

2.67

 

 

16.08

 

P<0.05

Significant

6.

DIM8 - Forestry

Mean

SD

 

16.77

7.15

 

27.16

4.09

 

 

15.87

 

P<0.05

Significant

7.

DIM15 - Sanitation

Mean

SD

 

9.34

3.91

 

4.97

2.17

 

 

15.86

 

P<0.05

Significant

8.

DIM5 – Environment Pollution

Mean

SD

 

20.15

8.96

 

32.82

4.70

 

 

15.74

 

P<0.05

Significant

 

9.

 

DIM 9 - Water

Mean

SD

 

16.82

7.09

 

26.92

3.90

 

 

15.69

 

P<0.05

Significant

10.

DIM19 – Organic Farming

Mean

SD

 

11.61

4.58

 

18.06

3.06

 

 

14.75

 

P<0.05

Significant

11.

DIM18 – Nurseries

Mean

SD

 

11.45

4.86

 

18.07

3.51

 

 

13.87

 

P<0.05

Significant

12.

DIM21 – Herbal Farming

Mean

SD

 

8.57

3.39

 

13.16

2.42

 

 

13.84

 

P<0.05

Significant

13.

DIM25 – Tree Planting &After Care

Mean

SD

 

10.33

4.29

 

3.04

5.41

 

 

13.26

 

P<0.05

Significant

14.

DIM10 - Agriculture

Mean

SD

 

12.41

5.68

 

19.16

3.28

 

 

12.95

 

P<0.05

Significant

15.

DIM22 – Kitchen Garden

Mean

SD

 

11.77

4.53

 

18.20

4.41

 

 

12.78

 

P<0.05

Significant

16.

DIM20 – Integrated Pest Management

Mean

SD

 

 

17.73

6.41

 

 

26.35

5.59

 

 

12.74

 

 

P<0.05

Significant

17.

DIM1 – Basic Scientific Attitude

Mean

SD

 

26.77

12.72

 

41.44

7.17

 

 

12.64

 

P<0.05

Significant

18.

DIM6 - Energy

Mean

SD

 

16.07

6.19

 

23.63

4.31

 

 

12.61

 

P<0.05

Significant

19.

DIM17 – Plant Propagation

Mean

SD

 

9.04

4.06

 

14.11

3.02

 

 

12.61

 

P<0.05

Significant

 

20.

 

 

 

21.

 

DIM24-Animal Welfare

Mean

SD

 

Wasteland Development

 

 

10.76

3.95

 

11.19

4.50

 

 

15.42

2.78

 

16.46

3.27

 

 

 

12.15

 

 

11.92

 

 

P<0.05

 

 

P<0.05

Significant

22.

 

 

 

DIM16 – Genetic Resources

Mean

SD

 

22.35

8.87

 

32.07

6.31

 

 

11.22

 

P<0.05

Significant

23.

DIM3 –Nature pattern

Mean

SD

 

22.35

8.87

 

32.07

6.31

 

 

11.22

 

P<0.05

Significant

24.

DIM4 – Environment Degradation

Mean

SD

 

 

8.49

4.55

 

 

13.77

3.81

 

 

 

11.19

 

 

P<0.05

Significant

25.

DIM23 – Family Welfare

Mean

SD

 

5.49

2.58

 

8.34

1.99

 

 

11.02

 

P<0.05

Significant

26.

DIM – Total EEC

Mean

SD

 

327.95

111.40

 

500.66

61.48

 

 

17.06

 

P<0.05

Significant

Table 3: While comparing the knowledge among male children ‘Before’ and ‘After’ attending environmental education, it was found that ‘t’ value for all the dimensions showed significant probability value. Interestingly enough, the dimensions Health, Environment, Bio-Diversity, Nutrition and Ecology recorded higher significance during the post evaluation study. But the total mean value before attendance was 327.95 (SD = 111.40) and the total mean value after their attendance was 500.66 (SD = 61.48). It stands to reason that there existed higher statistical difference ‘After’ the environmental education attended by male children.

Results indicate that there existed a statistical difference among the male children in their level of knowledge in terms of the above-mentioned dimensions in pre and post evaluation studies.

t’ test results showing the difference in knowledge among the female children ‘before’ and ‘after’ their attendance in environmental education

Table 4

 

Sl. NO.

 

Dimensions

School Children N = 150

Non

School Children N = 150

 

t’

Value

 

Results

1.

DIM14 – Nutrition

Mean

SD

 

14.25

4.94

 

23.20

3.17

 

 

18.19

 

P<0.05

Significant

2.

DIM5 – Ecology

Mean

SD

 

7.25

4.21

 

14.18

2.16

 

 

17.45

 

P<0.05

Significant

3.

DIM11 – Herbal Farming

Mean

SD

 

8.41

3.07

 

13.50

1.87

 

 

16.91

 

P<0.05

Significant

4.

DIM11 – Bio – Diversity

Mean

SD

 

12.74

5.68

 

21.23

2.37

 

 

16.43

 

P<0.05

Significant

5.

DIM18 – Health

Mean

SD

 

13.63

5.32

 

21.89

3.08

 

 

16.03

 

P<0.05

Significant

6.

DIM2 - Environment

Mean

SD

 

14.46

6.26

 

23.66

2.97

 

 

15.83

 

P<0.05

Significant

7.

DIM18 – Nurseries

Mean

SD

 

11.56

4.42

 

18.34

2.60

 

 

15.75

 

P<0.05

Significant

8.

DIM5 – Environment Pollution

Mean

SD

 

19.87

8.68

 

32.74

4.59

 

 

15.62

 

P<0.05

Significant

9.

DIM 9 – Water

Mean

SD

 

16.57

7.08

 

26.99

3.87

 

 

15.39

 

P<0.05

Significant

10.

DIM22 – Kitchen Garden

Mean

SD

 

12.53

4.08

 

19.12

3.07

 

 

15.39

 

P<0.05

Significant

11.

DIM13 – Sanitation

Mean

SD

 

9.57

4.04

 

15.13

1.58

 

 

15.27

 

P<0.05

Significant

12.

DIM2 – Forestry

Mean

SD

 

17.18

6.64

 

26.90

3.69

 

 

15.25

 

P<0.05

Significant

13.

DIM19 – Organic Farming

Mean

SD

 

11.87

4.83

 

18.20

2.26

 

 

14.16

 

P<0.05

Significant

14.

DIM17 – Plant Propagation

Mean

SD

 

9.13

3.78

 

14.15

2.41

 

 

13.36

 

P<0.05

Significant

15.

DIM20 – Integrated Pest Management

Mean

SD

 

 

18.68

6.19

 

 

27.27

4.59

 

 

 

13.29

 

 

P<0.05

Significant

16.

DIM23 – Family Welfare

Mean

SD

 

5.49

2.33

 

8.64

1.69

 

 

13.03

 

P<0.05

Significant

17.

DIM13 – Wasteland Development

Mean

SD

 

11.51

4.29

 

17.08

2.74

 

 

13.03

 

P<0.05

Significant

18.

DIM1 – Basic Scientific Attitude

Mean

SD

 

27.04

10.94

 

40.96

6.98

 

 

12.78

 

P<0.05

Significant

19.

DIM 16 – Genetic Resources

Mean

SD

 

27.04

10.94

 

40.96

6.98

 

 

12.78

 

P<0.05

Significant

20.

DIM10 – Agriculture

Mean

SD

 

12.92

5.58

 

19.44

2.94

 

 

12.34

 

P<0.05

Significant

21.

 

 

 

DIM 6 – Energy

Mean

SD

 

16.21

6.43

 

24.00

4.05

 

 

12.21

 

P<0.05

Significant

22.

 

 

 

DIM21 – Nature Pattern

Mean

SD

 

 

22.40

3.47

 

32.44

5.92

 

 

12.06

 

P<0.05

Significant

23.

DIM24 –Animal Welfare

Mean

SD

 

11.10

3.43

 

15.35

2.44

 

 

12.05

 

P<0.05

Significant

24.

DIM4 – Environmental Degradation

Mean

SD

 

8.73

4.32

 

13.68

3.46

 

 

10.66

 

P<0.05

Significant

25.

DIM25 – Tree Planting & After care

Mean

SD

 

10.73

3.91

 

4.20

6.36

 

 

10.42

 

P<0.05

Significant

26.

DIM – Total EEC

Mean

SD

 

332.32

107.92

 

506.06

56.81

 

 

16.98

 

P<0.05

Significant

It is evident from Table 4 that the level of knowledge among female children ‘Before’ and ‘After’ their attending the environment education showed significant differences. It was found that the '‘'’test for all dimensions showed significant values. It is observed that the dimensions namely, Nutrition, Ecology, Herbal Farming, Bio -–Diversity and Health showed higher statistical difference. The total mean value of the dimension ‘Before’ attending environmental education classes was 332.32 (SD = 107.92) and the total mean value ‘After’ education was 506.06 (SD = 56.81). The ‘t’ value was 16.98, which implied statistical significance. The mean value obtained after attending the environmental education classes by children recorded higher value than ‘Before’ and this indicated that there existed higher statistical difference. between the two groups under study, with regard to the female children a high positive impact of the educational program on the children was pronounced.

Phase II: In the wake of the high level of involvement of children and the significant impacts it has had on the children in the first phase, the Good Social Work Centre replicated the program in Therkutheru villages, Madurai East panchayat union block, Madurai, covering 150 male and female children in the second phase of the program. Results of the pre and post assessment survey are presented below.

Table: 5 Socio-Economic Characteristics of Children

Characteristics

No. of Children

Percent

Gender

 

 

Age 10-12 yr.

 

 

 

Caste

 

 

 

 

Grade in School

 

 

Family members

 

 

 

Family Income

 

 

 

Parent’s Occupation

Male

Female

 

 

13-14

15-16

 

Scheduled community

Backward community

MBC

Forward community

 

4-6

7-10

 

3-5

6-8

9-11

 

< 500 (Rs.)

501-1000

>1000

 

Agriculture farmers Landless labor

Small business

 

61

32

 

49

34

10

 

31

58

02

02

 

27

66

 

43

41

09

 

82

08

03

 

42

45

06

65.6

34.4

 

52.8

36.6

10.8

 

33.3

62.4

2.2

2.2

 

29

71

 

46.2

44.2

10

 

88.2

8.6

3.2

 

45.2

48.4

6.5

 

It is evident from Table 5 that of 93 children, 65.6 percent (61) were males and the rest were females. 52.8 percent (49) of the children were 10-12 years of age, while 36.6 percent (34) of them were in the 13-14 age group and only a small percentage of them (10.8 percent) were in the 15-16 age group. A very high percentage (98.9 percent) of the children was Hindus.

The study has revealed the fact that a high percentage (62.4 percent) of the children belonged to the backward community whereas 33.3 percent of the children belonged to the scheduled castes. A negligible section of the children (2.2 percent) to ‘most backward community’ and ‘forward community (2.2 percent).

High percentages (77) of the children were in the 7-10 grades at the local school whereas the rest were at the 4-6 grades. It is a shocking revelation that the monthly family income of 88.2 percent of the children was

While analyzing the number of school going children in the family, it was found that a sizeable percentage of the families of the children (37.6 percent) have had two school going children, followed by 30.1 percent of them who have had three school going in the family, 24.7 percent who have had only one school going child and 7.5 percent of them have had four children attending school. Of them, 45.2 percent have had one child in the 10-16 age group, 43 percent have had two children in the 10-16 age group, 10.8 percent have had three children in the family and only one family have had four children in the 10-16 age group.

 

Table : 6 ‘t’ test results differences in knowledge between male and female children ‘before’ and ‘after’ environmental education

S.

No

FACTORS

MALE (n=61)

FEMALE (n=32)

TOTAL (n=93)

Mean

SD

Stat.Res

Mean

SD

Stat.Res

Mean

SD

Stat.Res

1

Environment

Before

After

 

15.08

75.08

 

±11.34

±24.40

 

17.41

P<0.05

 

16.25

71.25

 

±13.85

±21.51

 

12.61

P<0.05

 

15.48

73.76

 

±12.20

±23.40

 

21.29

P<0.05

2

NaturePatterns

Before

After

 

23.60

83.27

 

±14.38

±19.72

 

19.09

P<0.05

 

25.00

79.37

 

±12.44

±20.62

 

12.77

P<0.05

 

24.08

81.93

 

±13.69

±20.01

 

23.01

P<0.05

 

3

 

Envt. Degradation

Before

After

 

50.81

81.63

 

±14.41

±22.89

 

8.90

P<0.05

 

53.12

78.75

 

±14.90

±19.63

 

5.88

P<0.05

 

51.61

80.64

 

±14.54

±21.76

 

10.70

P<0.05

4

Pollution

Before

After

 

31.47

74.42

 

±18.42

±23.41

 

11.26

P<0.05

 

29.37

70.00

 

±18.30

±22.14

 

8.00

P<0.05

 

30.75

72.90

 

±18.31

±22.96

 

13.84

P<0.05

5

Energy

Before

After

 

26.55

78.36

 

±15.79

±18.72

 

16.51

P<0.05

 

27.50

72.50

 

±13.19

±18.83

 

11.07

P<0.05

 

26.88

76.34

 

±14.88

±18.86

 

19.84

P<0.05

6

Health

Before

After

 

48.19

66.55

 

±18.02

±21.82

 

5.07

P<0.05

 

45.00

63.75

 

±20.94

±22.39

 

3.46

P<0.05

 

47.09

65.59

 

±19.03

±21.94

 

6.14

P<0.05

7

Forestry

Before

After

 

25.24

83.93

 

±19.28

±18.91

 

16.97

P<0.05

 

26.25

86.25

 

±20.59

±17.91

 

12.43

P<0.05

 

25.59

84.73

 

±19.64

±18.50

 

21.13

P<0.05

8

Water

Before

After

 

22.95

71.80

 

±17.06

±23.77

 

13.04

P<0.05

 

19.37

70.00

 

±12.93

±24.88

 

10.21

P<0.05

 

21.72

71.78

 

±15.78

±24.04

 

16.59

P<0.05

9

Agriculture

Before

After

 

23.27

63.27

 

±15.56

±23.43

 

11.10

P<0.05

 

24.37

59.37

 

±15.85

±25.13

 

6.66

P<0.05

 

23.65

61.93

 

±15.58

±23.96

 

12.91

P<0.05

10

Ecological Balance

Before

After

 

27.86

68.85

 

±20.96

±21.24

 

10.73

P<0.05

 

32.81

66.40

 

±20.51

±18.63

 

6.86

P<0.05

 

29.56

68.01

 

±20.83

±20.31

 

12.74

P<0.05

11

Bio-diversity

Before

After

 

21.31

72.45

 

±15.86

±17.95

 

16.68

P<0.05

 

25.00

71.25

 

±18.31

±20.28

 

9.57

P<0.05

 

22.58

72.04

 

±16.74

±18.68

 

19.02

P<0.05

12

Wasteland Devt.

Before

After

 

22.95

71.80

 

±16.66

±20.12

 

14.60

P<0.05

 

28.75

70.62

 

±16.01

±16.05

 

10.45

P<0.05

 

24.94

71.39

 

±16.59

±18.74

 

17.90

P<0.05

13

Nutrition

Before

After

 

47.54

81.31

 

±17.57

±19.27

 

10.11

P<0.05

 

44.37

75.62

 

±16.64

±8.82

 

7.03

P<0.05

 

46.45

79.35

 

±17.23

±19.21

 

12.29

P<0.05

14

Sanitation

Before

After

 

58.19

70.90

 

±24.46

±24.65

 

2.86

P<0.05

 

50.78

71.09

 

±29.43

±20.19

 

3.22

P<0.05

 

55.64

70.96

 

±26.35

±23.10

 

4.22

P<0.05

15

Genetic Resources

Before

After

 

18.68

72.45

 

±17.46

±20.05

 

15.79

P<0.05

 

22.50

65.62

 

±18.83

±25.00

 

7.79

P<0.05

 

20.00

70.10

 

±17.93

±21.99

 

17.03

P<0.05

 

S.

No

FACTORS

MALE (n=61)

FEMALE (n=32)

TOTAL (n=93)

Mean

SD

Stat.Res

Mean

SD

Stat.Res

Mean

SD

Stat.Res

16

Plant Propagation

Before

After

 

20.32

76.39

 

±14.82

±17.70

 

18.96

P<0.05

 

19.37

76.25

 

±12.93

±18.62

 

14.19

P<0.05

 

20.00

76.34

 

±14.14

±17.92

 

23.80

P<0.05

17

Nursery

Before

After

 

24.91

74.09

 

±14.44

±20.11

 

15.51

P<0.05

 

23.75

68.75

 

±16.41

±26.36

 

8.20

P<0.05

 

24.51

72.25

 

±15.07

±22.46

 

17.02

P<0.05

 

18

 

Organic farming

Before

After

 

23.60

74.42

 

±14.83

±26.11

 

13.22

P<0.05

 

21.25

80.62

 

±16.80

±19.99

 

12.86

P<0.05

 

22.79

76.55

 

±15.49

±24.24

 

18.02

P<0.05

19

Int. Pest Mgt.

Before

After

 

36.33

74.72

 

±9.62

±20.01

 

13.50

P<0.05

 

36.45

72.65

 

±10.09

±17.61

 

10.09

P<0.05

 

36.37

74.01

 

±9.73

±19.14

 

16.90

P<0.05

20

Herbal farming

Before

After

 

28.52

58.03

 

±18.05

±17.01

 

9.29

P<0.05

 

31.87

55.62

 

±15.95

±15.85

 

5.97

P<0.05

 

29.67

57.20

 

±17.34

±16.57

 

11.06

P<0.05

21

Kitchen Garden

Before

After

 

51.14

79.01

 

±15.28

±21.11

 

8.35

P<0.05

 

50.00

72.50

 

±14.36

±20.16

 

5.14

P<0.05

 

50.75

76.77

 

±14.90

±20.91

 

9.77

P<0.05

22

Family welfare

Before

After

 

19.01

78.03

 

±18.41

±20.56

 

16.70

P<0.05

 

23.12

73.75

 

±19.74

±22.39

 

9.59

P<0.05

 

20.43

76.55

 

±18.87

±21.18

 

19.08

P<0.05

23

animal Husbandry

Before

After

 

22.62

72.45

 

±13.89

±20.38

 

15.78

P<0.05

 

18.75

70.62

 

±15.18

±18.30

 

12.34

P<0.05

 

21.29

71.82

 

±14.38

±19.61

 

20.04

P<0.05

24

Tree Planting

Before

After

 

17.04

76.72

 

±14.06

±19.03

 

19.69

P<0.05

 

14.37

81.25

 

±13.66

±19.63

 

15.82

P<0.05

 

16.12

78.27

 

±13.91

±19.25

 

25.23

P<0.05

 

‘t’ test was computed on the data in order to understand the statistical significant differences existing between the two groups viz., male and female groups with respect to ‘before’ and ‘after’ educational intervention. The results bring out the level of significance, if it exists, taking into consideration each of the dimensions. Table: 2 highlights the mean and standard deviation values obtained ‘before’ and ‘after’ the educational program, in terms of male and female groups. The‘t’ value reported brings out significant differences. The total‘t’ scores obtained in the analysis are also presented in the table.

Considering the male group, the dimension “Environment” has recorded a mean value of 15.08 (SD = 11.34) in the pre assessment and 75.08 (SD = 24.40) in the post assessment. The‘t’ value obtained showed a high statistical significance implying that there was definite knowledge gain after the educational program. Similarly, with respect to the female group, the mean value obtained in the pre study was 16.25 (SD=13.85) and in the post the mean value was 71.25 (SD=21.51). The‘t’ value showed 12.61, which implies that there was high statistical significance between the two groups. The mean and SD values for each dimension are presented in the table.

Taking into account the male group, the ‘t’ value for the dimensions namely, Nature pattern (10.09), Environment degradation (8.90), Pollution (11.26), Energy (16.51), Health (5.07), Forestry (16.97), Water (13.04), Agriculture (11.10), Ecological balance (10.73), Bio-diversity (16.68), Wasteland Development (14.60), Nutrition (10.11), Sanitation (2.86), Genetic resources (15.79), Plant propagation (18.96), Nursery (15.51), Organic farming (13.22), Integrated Pest management (13.50), Herbal farming (9.29), Kitchen garden (8.35), Family welfare (16.70), Animal husbandry (15.78) and Tree planting (19.69) showed significant difference between the two groups i.e., ‘before’ and ‘after’ the educational program. It is noted that the dimensions Tree Planting, Nature patterns, Plant propagation, Environment, Forestry and Family Welfare showed a high statistical significance than the other dimensions, since the ‘t’ value was high.

With regard to the female group, the ‘t’ value for the dimensions namely, Nature pattern (12.77), Environment degradation (5.88), Pollution (8.00), Energy (11.07), Health (3.46), Forest (12.43), Water (10.21), Agriculture (6.66), Ecological balance (6.86), Bio-diversity (9.57), Wasteland Development (10.45), Nutrition (7.03), Sanitation (3.22), Genetic resources (7.79), Plant propagation (14.19), Nursery (8.20), Organic farming (12.86), Integrated Pest management (10.09), Herbal farming (5.97), Kitchen garden (5.14), Family welfare (9.59), Animal husbandry (12.34) and Tree planting (15.82) showed significant difference between the two groups i.e., ‘before’ and ‘after’ the educational program. It is further noticed that the dimensions Tree Planting, Plant propagation, Organic farming, Nature patterns and Environment showed high significance than the other dimensions, since the ‘t’ value was high.

When considering the dimensions in total, the obtained ‘t’ values were: Tree planting (25.23), Plant propagation (23.80), Nature patterns (23.01), Environment (21.29) and Forestry (21.13), which revealed a high statistical significance between the two groups under discussion. It was also found that the dimensions on the whole showed significant differences between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ assessment for both the male and female groups.

 

VI. Major findings of the study-Phase I and Phase II

Results from Phase I of the survey revealed that of all 300 samples drawn 158 were male children and the rest (142) were female children. Majority of males (55.06 percent) and females (56.34 percent) were in the age group of 11 – 13 years. As regards the occupational status of the parents, a sizeable section (53.66 percent) of fathers was agricultural farmers. 49.67 percent of mothers were agricultural labor while a very high proportion (96 percent) of them was housewives. Majority of the children’s monthly family income (66 percent) ranged from Rs.100 to Rs.300. Analysis of the various kinds of leisure time activities of both school going and Non-school going children has revealed that a great majority (41 percent) spent the leisure time in playing games with friends, while 21.34 percent attended to household work.

It was evidenced that non –school children were engaged in agricultural work, collection of fire woods & seeds, cattle herding etc. A few School-going children took up part time job assignments during ‘out of’ school hours. It is quite revealing that of 150 non-school going children, 42 percent of them dropped out of school owing to poor financial status of families, while 26.67 percent due to objections by parents. A sizeable section (28.67 percent) stated that they were not interested in attending school. Of the working children, 56.67 percent earned a monthly income ranging from Rs 50 to Rs 12, while 40 percent earned an income in the range of Rs 126 to Rs 200 per month. Only 3.33 percent earned a monthly income of Rs 201 to Rs 300. In fact, their monthly earnings were supplementary to their family income.

It is quite interesting to note that the overall knowledge among School going children relating to 24 dimensions covered under the curriculum on environmental education during the pre evaluation study brought into focus significant difference between them (‘t’ value = 2.61, P < 0.05). While comparing the level of knowledge among both school going children and Non-school going children during the post evaluation study. It was found that there existed no significant difference between them in as much as both groups have gained more or less equal knowledge competencies through their participation in the learning process. This was attributable to the efficient means of teaching – learning strategies adopted to reach the groups. Interestingly enough, the pre and post evaluation studies have revealed that there existed significant difference as to the impact of environmental education on the male and the female children prior to and after their participation. It stands to reason that the environmental education has had phenomenal effects on the children.

Discriminant analysis shows that dimensions - Kitchen Garden, Agriculture, Herbal Farming, Ecology, Bio – diversity and Integrated Pest Management have made their learning very interesting and have highly attracted the attention of the children, whereas dimensions- Tree Planting & After Care, Sanitation, Wasteland Development, Forestry, Health, Environment Degradation and Environment have influenced their learning moderately. Other dimensions such as Nurseries, Plant Propagation, Nature Pattern, Organic Farming, Energy, Environment Pollution, animal Welfare, Family Welfare, Genetic Resources, Nutrition and Water have had relatively less influence on them.

The study revealed that a great majority of the environment educators and children in the selected villages viewed positively as to the teaching techniques and communication media used in the environmental education sessions. Their responses scored ‘above mean value’ which indicated ‘more satisfaction’ and ‘high efficiency’ of the means of teaching and media approaches adopted. The assessment made by the educators on the level of participation of children in the environmental education indicated that a ‘high level’ of participation of children in the learning of 10 units of lesson namely, Environment, Integrated Pest Management, Genetic Resources, Tree Planting & After Care, Nutrition, Energy, Ecology, Health, Family Welfare and Environment Degradation.

The views expressed by the children on the teaching techniques and communication media adopted by the environment educators scored ‘above mean value’ which indicated ‘more satisfaction’ and ‘high efficiency’ as to the applications in teaching – learning of 15 dimensions namely Nurseries, Nature Pattern, Wasteland Development, Herbal Farming, Plant Propagation, Sanitation, Forestry, Animal Welfare, Environment Degradation, Bio – Diversity, Organic Farming, water, Agriculture, Kitchen Garden and Environment Pollution.

The study showed that communication media and materials such as Books, Posters, Charts, Flannel Graphs, Flip Charts, flash Cards, Slide Projector, audio Tape, Radio, and Television etc were used to a greater extent in the environmental education classes. Of all the media approaches, environment related books were found to be popularly used in the learning process. Analysis of the impressions about the environmental messages by the children revealed that the response ‘Educators gave effective and informative lectures’ ranked first. The response ‘Media usage gave good ideas on the subjects’ scored second. ‘Film show was interesting’ was ranked third. ‘Posters/Charts were attractive’ was ranked fourth. ‘Group discussions/quiz programs brought out many ideas’ was ranked fifth. The effectiveness of different media used in the program was assessed in terms of 7 factors. It was found that all the factors scored maximum percentages which indicated ‘highly effective’ of media intervention in the environmental education program.

The survey results from phase II of the program indicate that all the 150 children who participated in the program were totally ignorant of the important facts of environmental issues and rights prior to our intervention. It was noticed that there was greater level of awareness about the significance of protected environment and effects of environmental degradation among them the environmental education. Interestingly enough, all children have had equal opportunities to involve themselves in environmental action Health (hygiene) behaviors of children were promoted through medical check up campaigns and health awareness programs.

The survey has revealed a significant difference in the level of knowledge about environment ‘before’ and ‘after’ our intervention. Most significantly, a high statistical difference ( ‘t’ test value) in the overall knowledge between males and females ‘before’ and ‘after’ our interventions was pronounced. Discriminant analysis has showed that of 24 dimensions covered under the environmental education, only 18 dimensions were found to be highly significant and relevant.

VII. Some Final Recommendations

1. Being an innovative intervention action program for the children in villages, the responses and the level of participation of all children in the environmental education and communication program were more encouraging and invigorating at every stage. In addition to the surveyed respondents, more children showed enthusiasm to participate in the program. Obviously enough, there is a imperative need for organizing similar programs for children in the rural areas in villages in India and other developing countries, which will certainly benefit them for the present and the future?

2. Longitudinal studies on environmental education and communication program for children are highly recommended for greater impact on them. Such programs undertaken for children on a fairly longer period will certainly prove to be productively useful and meaningful to them.

3. It is highly recommended that this action research may be replicated and implemented in every village in the rural areas. There is a need to focus future research in this direction. Further, specially designed environmental and communication programs may be organized for urban children particularly in slums and backward areas.

4. The Evaluation instrument administered in phase I and phase II of the program at the pre and post assessment levels to measure the level of knowledge relating to 24 dimensions could be validated and a standardized scale developed for further application in similar research.

5. In the light of the study conducted at two phases, it is recommended that intensive training in environmental protection covering 10 dimensions namely environment, integrated pest management, nutrition, energy, genetic resources, tree planting and after care, ecology health, family welfare and environmental degradation may be given high priority while designing a curriculum. Further, these 10 dimensions could be considered as thrust areas while designing the curriculum for the program for the rural children in India.

6. Studies on environmental health for rural children and children’s rights and sustainable development, combining research as a major intervention in these programs could be attempted.

7. In line with the methods design adopted in the present research, studies on girls and young women’s participation in environmental education and communication in villages in suggested.

8. Communication application in environmental education and training programs for children should be promoted and a variety of media could be used in making the program truly effective and enriching for the children.

9. In order to implement environmental education program for children in village schools, it is essential to green the minds of teachers who can as effective environmental communicators. Program on environmental information to and from the teachers may be organized.

10.Most importantly, greening the young minds of children through promoting digital opportunities to have access to on line communication and information on environmental issues and threats affecting their lives and their environmental rights and needs in villages in India is an urgent need for the present and future generation.

VIII. Conclusion

Environment as the social, physical and economic environment in which children live and experience family, school and community as they grow up. The question raised is: Is growing up children in today’s global environment safe and secure? The world is becoming a more dangerous place for children; as they are the most vulnerable to physical and social toxicity in the environment. Children will need to be equipped with knowledge and skills to deal with environment issues and risks affecting their childhood. “The world is shrinking; communications now enable us to realize the concept of global village with all its opportunities and threats” (Michael Jarman, 1996) whatever environmental changes and challenges happening across the nation and across the world affect the children as a whole. All environmental issues affecting children’s rights should be treated as interconnected and interdependent in their impacts.

It is an undeniable fact that children have a vital role to play in environmental protection and they have a right to decent environment it is our responsibility to recognize their environmental rights and identify them as future environmental managers as participants in sharing the world’s resources. They should be given genuine opportunities to live in pleasant and healthy surroundings. In the words of Paula. M. Pevato “children cannot look forward to inheriting a safe and healthy environment unless their elders set an example by cooperating so that the essence and spirit of sustainable development can be achieved and that ultimately the world’s youth can look forward to better future. Until that time, successful integration of children’s perspectives in environmental protection and the realization of a child’s emerging right to a decent environment remain doubtful.” LET EVERY CHILDHOOD LAST A LIFETIME IN A GLOBALISING WORLD.

Author:
Prof.Dr.J.Christopher Daniel,M.A.,Ph.D,Executive Director, Goodwill social work centre,No:5,South Street Extension,Singarayar colony,Madurai-625002,India, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. financial assistance provided by the International Development and Research Centre,Canada and DuPont South Asia Limited,Madurai,India is gratefully acknowledged.

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