Educational awareness of biotechnology issues among undergraduate students at the united arab emirates university

Synan Abuqamar, Qasim Alshannag, Abdelaziz Sartawi, Rabah Iratni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Due to its valuable benefits and potential risks, there is a progressing debate among opponents and proponents of biotechnology in recent decades. Previous studies have shown that lack of knowledge about biotechnology remains the concern about genetically modified organisms/food (GMO/GMF). This study assessed levels of educational awareness perceptions and attitudes of United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) students towards biotechnology. An electronic survey including literacy, environmental, social, and economic domains associated with biotechnology was administered to obtain data from undergraduate students in different colleges of the university. Responses from students (n=1,104) were gathered and statistically analyzed. Results indicated that educational awareness in biotechnology literacy and environmental domains were significantly different according to the enrolled college and the academic achievement of the student. In general, a poor overall performance of our students' understanding was concluded. Aware groups most likely accepted accurate biotechnology information delivered by reliable sources from internet or lectures; they grasped their knowledge from surrounding people as a secondary source. Since UAEU students have several concept misunderstandings of biotechnology and its ethics, our results suggest that awareness plays a crucial role in forming a "clear-cut" opinion about this technology. Because education can shape public attitudes toward biotechnology, priorities on university curricula and teaching strategies should be extensively given, and therefore, improve in respect to this topic. Ultimately, this promotes the students' perception in understanding the new technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-293
Number of pages11
JournalBiochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 8 2015

Keywords

  • Biotechnology
  • Education
  • Ethical analysis
  • UAE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

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