Influence of biology education on knowledge and attitudes towards biodiversity conservation among A’level biology students in Wakiso District
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There is increasing loss of biodiversity both globally and locally. Important determinants of this loss are mainly human induced. For successful conservation of local biodiversity, the dissemination of public information and education about native organisms, their ecological importance and the consequences of human interference is key. In this light, biology education curricula can play an important part in developing the students’ knowledge about biodiversity as well as building positive attitude towards biodiversity conservation. Based on this assumption, this study assessed level of knowledge and attitudes of A’ level biology students towards biodiversity conservation. This was a cross-sectional study carried out among A’level biology students in Wakiso District. A total of 326 participants from ten sampled schools in the district were selected using simple random sampling. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered to the students. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics at univariate level, and chi-Square tests were used to test for statistical associations between variables. The findings revealed that more than half of the respondents (58.59%) had medium level of knowledge about biodiversity conservation. Knowledge about species, their habitats and importance as components of biodiversity by A’level biology students was found to be quite unsatisfactory. Some respondents (56.44%) reported to have obtained their limited knowledge about the selected common biodiversity from school other than home (19.32%) and there was a significant association between school type and knowledge level (chi-square p-value < 0.001). Majority of respondents (94.98%) were found to have a positive attitude towards biodiversity conservation and there was a significant statistical relationship between Student’s biodiversity conservation knowledge level and their attitude towards biodiversity conservation (chi-square p-value < 0.013). Biology education is therefore capable of enhancing students’ knowledge which in turn leads to development of a positive attitude towards biodiversity conservation. However, biology education does not adequately contribute to students’ knowledge about common biodiversity. In view of the above findings, the study recommended re-evaluation of the current biology curriculum in Uganda so as to explicitly designate what students should learn about biodiversity in order to increase students’ knowledge about the common or local biodiversity.