n Journal of Educational Studies - Establishing differences with respect to the levels of awareness and attitudes of learners about environmental pollution : a comparative study of South African provincial secondary school types

Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1680-7456



This paper reports on a comparative study of awareness of and attitudes towards environmental issues involving learners from two provinces and school types. The population consisted of 753 learners from Mpumalanga and Gauteng. They were from ten schools, with five schools selected in each province. In Mpumalanga 250 learners were from public schools and 173 from private schools. In Gauteng 243 learners were from public schools and 87 from private schools. In both provinces the learners' ages ranged between 13 years and 23 years with (M = 16.0 years, SD = 1.8) [Mpumalanga] and (M = 16.1 years, SD = 1.7) [Gauteng]. Data were collected by means of a 24-item Likert-type scale made up of Awareness and Attitude subscales. Two hypotheses indicating that there was no difference between learners from the provinces and school types were tested. An analysis of variance indicated that in terms of the Awareness subscale, differences were partial, while differences were established for the Attitude subscale. The important fact that Mpumalanga-based learners were more environmentally aware and held positive attitudes is lauded here. This is because the reality is that they are growing up in an extremely polluted environment. An important implication of this study is that children should be taught to appreciate environmental issues. This is because when they receive a good grounding in these matters, it appears that they continue to be aware of and hold positive attitudes towards the environment.

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