A global perspective on soil science education at third educational level :
The pivotal role of soil as a resource is not fully appreciated by the general public. Improving education in soil science represents a challenge in a world where soil resources are under serious threat. Today’s high school students, the world’s future landowners, agriculturalists, and decision makers, have the potential to change society’s apathy towards soils issues. This research aimed to compare the level of soil education in high and/or secondary schools in forty-three countries worldwide, together comprising 62% of the world’s population. Comparisons were made between soil science content discussed in educationally appropriate textbooks via a newly proposed soil information coefficient (SIC). Interviews with teachers were undertaken to better understand how soil science education is implemented in the classroom. Statistical analyses were investigated using clustering. Results showed that gaps in soil science education were most commonly observed in countries where soil science is a non-compulsory or optional subject. Soil science concepts are predominantly a part of geography or environmental science curricula. Consequently, considerable variability in soil science education systems among investigated countries exists. Soil information coefficient‘s outcomes demonstrated that a methodological approach combining textbooks and the use of modern digitally based strategies in the educational process significantly improved soil education performances. Overall, soil science education is under-represented in schools worldwide. Dynamic new approaches are needed to improve pivotal issues such as: i) promoting collaborations and agreements between high school and universities; ii) encouraging workshops and practical exercises such as field activities; and, iii) implementing technology tools. This, in turn, will prepare the next generation to contribute meaningfully towards solving present and future soil problems.
Soil information coefficient Upper secondary school High school, Geography textbooks Worldwide comparison Soil education