недеља, 02. август 2015.

Knowledge and perception of secondary school students in Belgrade about earthquakes as natural disasters

The aim of this quantitative research is to determine the perception and actual knowledge of secondary school students in the Belgrade region with respect to the earthquake as a natural disaster and security threat and to identify the factors that influence their knowledge and perceptions. The authors use a method of surveying students to identify and describe the factors that influence student knowledge and perceptions about earthquakes. For the purpose of this research, a sample of 3,063 students was drawn from the total population of secondary school students in Belgrade (65,561 students), which equates to 4.67% of the population. The results show that the sources of information on natural disasters and their threatening consequences influence the perceptions of secondary school students. In view of the evident lack of education about natural disasters in Serbia, the results of this study can be used when creating a strategy for educational programs. Outcome of this research is the first step in developing and realizing of the future strategy for natural disaster management by informing and including public (school population), scientific and administrative communities in the process. When considering the results of the previously conducted analyses, it is concluded that the sources of information about natural disasters (family, school, television, Internet, radio, video games and lectures) influence the perceptions of secondary school students with respect to their knowledge about earthquakes such that those respondents who acquired a statistically significantly higher percentage of information believe they know what an earthquake is. One exception is video games, as they influence the perception of knowledge in a way that respondents who have not played feel they know what an earthquake is, whereas those who have played video games believe that they do not know what an earthquake is. Also, the exception is the radio as a source of information, which is used by secondary school students to a lesser extent and which does not affect the attitude of the respondents. Accordingly, we conclude that the actual knowledge of secondary school students about earthquakes is affected by lectures, school, television and the Internet, and it is not affected by radio, video games or stories from family members. A statistically higher percentage of those with no personal experiences with the consequences of natural disasters do not know what an earthquake is. Although the personal experiences of those respondents who have witnessed the consequences of earthquakes affect their knowledge of earthquakes, personal experiences of the effects of landslides tend to mislead the subjects such that, for the most part, their knowledge of earthquakes is not affected and they still do not know what constitutes an earthquake . This result is plausible for two reasons. First, people learn best from personal experience, and second, as the effects of earthquakes and landslides are manifested through the movement and shifting of soil, it is expected that respondents describe the consequences of an earthquake. However, the experiences of immediate family members, for the most part, do not affect the knowledge of the respondents as to what constitutes an earthquake, with the exception of the father. This is likely because, in Serbia, and therefore in Belgrade, families are predominantly patriarchal. Thus, the father is the head of the family and the person responsible for the safety of the family, and as such, it is logical that the father transfers his personal experiences to his children with special interest due to his concern they are safe in the event of a natural disaster. Secondary school students who do not feel safe from natural disasters while at school, to a greater extent, exhibit a lack of understanding and knowledge with respect to what constitutes an earthquake. Moreover, there is a dependence between the knowledge the respondents have about earthquakes and their desire to learn more about natural disasters. In other words, a statistically higher percentage of those students who know what an earthquake is indicate a desire to enhance their knowledge. It is further noted that there is a dependent relationship between the variables ‘acquisition of knowledge about natural disasters through educational films and series’ and ‘knowledge about earthquakes’. Therefore, the level of knowledge of secondary school students with respect to the earthquake as a natural disaster is influenced by television, the Internet and school lectures. Thus, it is suggested that encouraging secondary school students in Belgrade to participate in the clean-up and rebuilding of an area after an earthquake would increase their knowledge of the consequences of such disasters. Moreover, increasing the knowledge of secondary school students would, in turn, affect their sense of security. The results suggest that secondary school students who know what an earthquake is and are aware of the possible dangers of natural disasters have an increased desire to further their learning. Thus, secondary school students should be trained primarily through educational films and series. Za citiranje koristiti: Cvetković, V., Dragićević, S., Petrović, M., Mijaković, S., Jakovljević, V., & Gačić, J. (2015). Knowledge and perception of secondary school students in Belgrade about earthquakes as natural disasters. Polish journal of environmental studies, 24(4), 1553-1561. doi: 10.15244/pjoes/39702