Environmental attitudes of incoming and outgoing students of an environmental studies undergraduate degree course: case study at Royal Thimphu College, Bhutan
Author Wangchuk1 and Samir S. Patel1*
We conducted a questionnaire study to measure college students’ attitudes towards
environmental issues and determine if environmental studies students completing the three-year degree curriculum at Royal Thimphu College under the Royal University of Bhutan exhibited more positive attitudes towards the environment than fresh incoming students. A 45-item Likert-type Environmental Attitude Questionnaire, which consisted of four dimensions, viz. awareness of environmental problems, awareness of national environmental problems, solutions to the problems and awareness of individual responsibility, was used to measure students’ environmental attitudes. A separate scale, the 15-item Revised New Ecological Paradigm, was also used. A total of 134 students were surveyed (78 incoming and 56 outgoing students).
Data from the two sample categories were analyzed using one-way MANOVA (multivariate
analysis of variance) and Student’s t-test for comparison of means. There was a statistically significant difference between the incoming and outgoing students with regard to their attitudes towards environmental issues with both scales: in general, outgoing students had marginally more positive attitudes towards the environment. Statistically significant differences that indicated more positive environmental attitudes could be detected in the Environmental Attitude Questionnaire dimensions of attitude towards environmental problems (general), national environmental problems (specific to Bhutan), solutions, and individual responsibility, as well as in the ecocentric dimension of the Revised New Ecological Paradigm scale. The study establishes the feasibility of conducting such measurements of environmental attitudes and provides a baseline for comparison in future studies to help evaluate the impact of environmental education in Bhutan.