Promotion of Environmental Literacy in University Education: A Desirable Option for Achieving Nigeria’s Environmental Policy Objectives

Caroline L. Eheazu


Environmental Literacy (EL) is an outgrowth of Environmental Education (EE). The 1997 Belgrade Charter of the United Nations defines the goal of EL as being to develop a world population that is aware of and concerned about the environment and its associated problems. In 1992, C.E. Roth, identified three Environmental Literacy Levels (ELLs) which he classified as nominal (ELL1), functional (ELL2) and Operational (ELL3) levels. Breadth of Knowledge of the environment and the ability to feature effectively in environmental issues are minimal at ELL1, more ingrained at ELL2 and advanced at ELL3. As producers of personnel who develop and manage society’s institutions, Universities are rightly seen to have the important role to inculcate the necessary literacy components (awareness, knowledge, skills and so on) that would enable their products (graduates) to contribute towards creation of an environmentally sustainable societal future. The graduates indeed need to acquire the three levels of EL. Nigeria’s environmental policy objectives, as highlighted in this paper, need such products to effectively achieve them. Unfortunately, a study conducted in 2010, and which has been succinctly reported in this paper by the author, reveals that Nigerian University students, generally, acquire most of ELL1, less of ELL2 and least of ELL3. Such graduates would hardly be environmentally literate enough to effectively facilitate achievement of the various objectives of Nigeria’s Environmental Policy. This paper suggests various approaches that need to be adopted to enhance environmental literacy education in Nigerian universities as a veritable option for the realization of Nigeria’s environmental policy objectives.

Keywords: Environmental Literacy, University Education, Environmental, Desirable Option, Environmental Policy Objectives.

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