THE COMPREHENSION AND STUDY OF THE CONCEPTUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF ‛SUSTAINABILITY’ IN AGRICULTURE AND FOOD PRODUCTION AT UNIVERSITY LEVEL
Published: 18 Sep 2017
Abstract: University courses in sustainable development should meet the overall education requirements of the 21st century, thus allowing students to make use of their skills towards the long-term development of life on earth. The level of comprehension about the ‘sustainability’ concept underwent evaluation, as the main objective of the research, as well as student propensity towards a master programme in this field. The study relies on the surveys conducted on 392 students belonging to the four faculties within the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca, Romania, during September 2015, followed by descriptive statistical analysis of the data. A significant variation was revealed in the level of comprehension for the two related concepts under survey, ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable food consumption’ in the case of students enrolled in different study programmes. In addition, a high correlation is depicted, between the level of comprehension of the two concepts (r=0.798, p<0.001). Half of the respondents claim they have a certain level of knowledge about ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable food consumption’. Furthermore, only 33% of respondents asserted that the courses in the field had helped them in their comprehension of the concepts, while 29% denied the usefulness of the courses in providing them with knowledge on sustainability and related concepts. Students exhibit a medium level of interest for a master’s course in the field, dependent on different coordinates, such as scholarships, collaboration with foreign universities and financial matters, to mention a few. Therefore, universities should actively engage in promoting ‘sustainability’ as paramount in the study and practice of agriculture and food production, as the study reveals a low level of knowledge and lack of awareness about the overall significance of the concept of ‘sustainability.
Keywords: sustainable development, student perception, understanding, education, master programme
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