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ENVIRONMENTAL IDENTITY OF PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN SERBIA

What does ELIPS stand for?

EnvironmentaL Identity of Primary School
Students in Serbia

Why the ELIPS project?

Serbia is facing growing environmental problems and threats to the nature, its resources and public health (forest cutting, air pollution, landfills, poor quality of drinking water in several settlements). Unfortunately, data indicate that students lack functional knowledge about the environment and they rarely practice pro-environmental behavior.

The last study from 2006 (PISA, 2006), which measures the level of environmental literacy in primary schools in Serbia, showed that 39% of Serbian students have a low level of environmental literacy.

These results call for urgent changes and require additional efforts from the scientific and educational community. Besides the fact that we lack recent data on environmental literacy, we also urge for data on environmental identity and its characteristics and development in the Serbian context.

What the ELIPS project is about?

The ELIPS project aims to measure the level of environmental literacy of students in Serbia and to identify the characteristics of students’ ecological identity, as well as the key factors that influence its formation. The concept of environmental literacy is observed differently – as factual knowledge, success in understanding and solving problems, sensitivity, awareness, the care for the environment and pro-environmental behavior. Environmental identity refers to the perception of oneself in relation to the environment and environmental problems.

After determining the level of environmental literacy of seventh-grade elementary school students in Serbia, three classes with will be selected from a stratified sample (46 classes, about 850 students) for the next research phase. They will participate in semi-structured group interviews. They will be asked to reconsider significant life experiences that influence the creation of their ecological identity.

Finally, semi-structured interviews will also be conducted with school employees, in order to investigate whether the learning context and school/class characteristics are related to students’ level of environmental literacy and their environmental identity.

The main results of the project will refer to the exploration of the level of environmental literacy and the identification of the characteristics and key factors for the ecological identity creation. In addition, recommendations for educational policies, teacher education and students’ environmental education will be proposed. .