Prospects of a technical and vocational education program in preparing pre-service teachers for sustainability: a case study of a TVE program in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The goal of attaining a sustainable future has become a global crusade of leading world organizations/institutions due to the persistent threats to the sustenance of our planet Earth. The concept of a sustainable future is often depicted as maintaining a balance in intergenerational equity, using resources prudently, maintaining the health of living systems, applying economic activities that ensure a balance between productivity and consumption, implementing environmental protection and preserving and accepting cultural diversity. Education for a sustainable future becomes the backbone by which to transform and develop the knowledge, skills and values of all working people for sustainable living and work practices. Hence, three aspects of educational change are needed for this transformation towards a sustainable future: curriculum reorientation, pedagogy and teacher education. The focus of this paper is on curriculum reorientation in a teacher education program setting by reporting the prospects of technical and vocational education (TVE) programs in preparing pre-service teachers for sustainability. In this study we utilized a triangulation design by integrating findings from a qualitative documentary analysis with those of a survey, which allowed us to draw conclusions regarding the prospects of the TVE programs studied to prepare pre-service teachers for sustainability. Our findings reveal that the TVE programs in our case study do not substantially reflect sustainability and as such limit the programs’ prospects to prepare teachers for efficiently undertaking teaching tasks for sustainability. The educators and students of the TVE programs also perceive that the TVE programs do not sufficiently prepare pre-service teachers for sustainability. The lack of sustainability integration across technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programs is worrisome, primarily because of the potential of such programs to provide education and training to skilled and semi-skilled professionals. Hence, we recommend that adequate and conscious efforts be taken to review existing TVE programs in order to increase the presence of sustainability education in these programs. We also recommend a number of useful strategies for implementing the needed changes within TVET programs for sustainability.
KeywordsCurriculum review Education for sustainable development Sustainability integration Teacher education
This study was funded by the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS), at Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia under Vot number 1639.
- Adenle, S., & Olukayode, S. (2007). Technical and vocational education for productivity and sustainable development in Nigeria. Paper presented at the 20th annual national conference of National Association of Teachers of Technology (NATT). Kaduna: Kaduna Polytechnic.Google Scholar
- Ahmed, J. U. (2010). Documentary research method: new dimensions. Indus Journal of Management & Social Sciences, 4(1), 1–14.Google Scholar
- Ajayi, K., Ogunyemi, B., & Sotonade, F. (2006). Teacher education and the challenge of sustainable development in Nigeria. Educational Issues for Sustainable Development in Africa, 17.Google Scholar
- Aminrad, Z., Zakariya, S., Hadi, A. S., & Sakari, M. (2013). Relationship between awareness, knowledge and attitudes towards environmental education among secondary school students in Malaysia. World Applied Sciences Journal, 22(9), 1326–1333.Google Scholar
- Armstrong, C. M. (2011). Implementing education for sustainable development: the potential use of time-honored pedagogical practice from the progressive era of education. Journal of Sustainability Education, 2.Google Scholar
- Aznar Minguet, P., Martinez-Agut, M. P., Palacios, B., Pinero, A., & Ull, M. A. (2011). Introducing sustainability into university curricula: an indicator and baseline survey of the views of university teachers at the University of Valencia. Environmental Education Research, 17(2), 145–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Beder, S. (2000). Costing the earth: equity, sustainable development and enivronmental economics. New Zealand Journal of Environmental Law, 4, 227.Google Scholar
- Bent, D. (2016). What BREXIT means for sustainability—our first thoughts. Retrieved from https://www.forumforthefuture.org/blog/what-brexit-means-sustainability-%E2%80%93-our-first-thoughts.
- Birdsall, S. (2014). Analysing teachers’ translation of sustainability using a PCK framework. Environmental Education Research, 1–24, 753–776Google Scholar
- Blewitt, J. (2004). Sustainability and lifelong learning. In: C. Cullingford & J. Blewitt (Eds.), The sustainability curriculum: The challenge for higher education (pp. 24–42), London, UK: Earthscan.Google Scholar
- Bolstad, R., Cowie, B., Eames, C. W., Baker, M., Keown, P. A., Edwards, R., Coll, R. K., & Rogers, N. (2004). Environmental education in New Zealand schools: Research into current practice and future possibilities. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research and University of Waikato. Google Scholar
- Brookfield, H. C. (1969). On the environment as perceived. Progress in Geography, 1, 51–80.Google Scholar
- Brundtland, G. (1987). Our common future: report of the 1987 World Commission on Environment and Development. Oslo: United NationsGoogle Scholar
- Burmeister, M., & Eilks, I. (2013). An understanding of sustainability and education for sustainable development among German student teachers and trainee teachers of chemistry. Science Education International, 24(2), 167–194.Google Scholar
- Carson, R. (2002). Silent spring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.Google Scholar
- Chinedu, C. C., & Wan-Mohamed, W. A. (2017). A document analysis of the visibility of sustainability in TVE teacher education program: the case of a Malaysian HEI. Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities 25, 201–215.Google Scholar
- Cloud Institute for Sustainable Education. (2016). Education for sustainability. http://cloudinstitute.org/brief-history/.
- Corney, G., & Reid, A. (2007). Student teachers' learning about subject matter and pedagogy in education for sustainable development. Environmental Education Research. Google Scholar
- Cortese, A. D. (2003). The critical role of higher education in creating a sustainable future. Planning for Higher Education, 31(3), 15–22.Google Scholar
- Corvalan, C., Hales, S., & McMichael, A. (2006). Ecosystems and human well-being. Health synthesis, Geneva, World Health OrganizationGoogle Scholar
- Diwekar, U. (2015). Engineering sustainability. In J. J. Klemeš (Ed.), Assessing and measuring environmental impact and sustainability (pp. 1–24). Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.Google Scholar
- Egan, J. (2004). Skills for sustainable development. London: Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.Google Scholar
- Emas, R. (2015). The concept of sustainable development: Definition and defining principles. Miami: Florida International University.Google Scholar
- Everett, J. (2008). Sustainability in higher education: implications for the disciplines. Theory and Research in Education, 6(2), 237–251.Google Scholar
- Fien, J., & Tilbury, D. (1996). Learning for a sustainable environment: An agenda for teacher education in Asia and the Pacific. Bangkok: Asia-Pacific Programme of Educational Innovation for Development, Unesco Principal Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.Google Scholar
- Fien, J., Maclean, R., & Park, M.-G. (2008). Work, learning and sustainable development: Opportunities and challenges (Vol. 8). Dordrecht: Springer Science & Business Media.Google Scholar
- Gough, A. (2009). Teacher education for sustainable development within TVET: An Australian perspective. Paper presented at the UNESCO-UNEVOC Regional Seminar on TVET Teacher Education for Sustainable Development. Ho Chi Minh City: RMIT University. https://www.academia.edu/21337437/Teacher_Education_for_Sustainable_Development_within_TVET_An_Australian_Perspective.
- Gregg, K. (2011). A document analysis of the National Association for the Education of Young Children's developmentally appropriate practice position statement: What does it tell us about supporting children with disabilities? Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 12(2), 175–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Griggs, D., Stafford-Smith, M., Gaffney, O., Rockstrom, J., Ohman, M. C., Shyamsundar, P., Steffen, W., Glaser, G., Kanie, N., & Noble, I. (2013). Policy: sustainable development goals for people and planet. Nature, 495(7441), 305–307. https://doi.org/10.1038/495305a.
- Hadi, A. S., Idrus, S., Shah, A. H. H., & Mohamed, A. F. (2011). Malaysian path to sustainable development: Transitions to sustainability. Malaysian Journal of Environmental Management, 12(2), 77–89.Google Scholar
- Hopkins, C., Damlamian, J., & Lopez Ospina, G. (1996). Evolving towards education for sustainable development: An international perspective. Nature and Resources, 32(3), 2–11.Google Scholar
- Hopkinson, P., Hudges, P., & Layer, G. (2008). Education for sustainable development: using the UNESCO framework to embed ESD in a student learning and living experience. Policy & Practice-A Development Education Review, 6, 17–29.Google Scholar
- Ikerd, J. E. (2005). Sustainable capitalism: A matter of common sense. Bloomfield: Kumarian Press.Google Scholar
- Libunao, W. H., & Peter, C. J. (2013). Education for sustainable development practices among polytechnics in Malaysia. In: M.B. Basri, K.A. Rahman, M.S.M. Salleh, Z. RIni & S. Ridzuan (Eds.), International Conference on Social Science Research (ICSSR), Penang, Malaysia, 4th-5th June 2013. WorldConferences.net.Google Scholar
- Madeley, J. (2015). Sustainable development goals. Appropriate Technology, 42(4), 32.Google Scholar
- Mahat, H., & Idrus, S. (2016). Education for sustainable development in Malaysia: A study of teacher and student awareness. Geografia-Malaysian Journal of Society and Space, 12(6).Google Scholar
- Majumdar, S. (2009). Major challenges in integrating sustainable development in TVET. Paper presented at the International Conference: Reorienting TVET Policy Towards Education for Sustainable Development. Berlin, Germany. http://www.unevoc.unesco.org/fileadmin/user_upload/docs/402-0002-2010_lowquality.pdf.
- Majumdar, S. (2012). Developing a greening TVET framework. UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre. http://www.unevoc.unesco.org/go.php.
- Mat Said, A., & Paim, L. (2010). Preparedness of Malaysian pre-school educators for environmental education. Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities, 18(2), 271–283.Google Scholar
- Meadows, D. H., Meadows, D., Randers, J., & Behrens III, W. W. (1972). The limits to growth: A report for the Club of Rome’s project on the predicament of mankind. New York: Universe Books. Google Scholar
- Michalos, A. C., Creech, H., Swayze, N., Maurine Kahlke, P., Buckler, C., & Rempel, K. (2011). Measuring knowledge, attitudes and Behaviours concerning sustainable development among tenth grade students in Manitoba. Social Indicators Research, 106(2), 213–238. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-011-9809-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- New Zealand Ministry of Education. (2015). Education for sustainability. The New Zealand Curriculum Online. http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/Curriculum-resources/Education-for-sustainability.
- Nolet, V. (2013). Teacher education and ESD in the United States: The vision, challenges, and implementation. In Schooling for sustainable development in Canada and the United States (pp. 53–67). New York: Springer US.Google Scholar
- Owens, S. (2010). We teach how We’ve been taught: expeditionary learning unshackling sustainability education in US public schools. Education, 2010.Google Scholar
- Pavlova, M. (2006). Technology education for sustainable futures. Design and Technology Education: An International Journal, 11(2).Google Scholar
- Pavlova, M. (2008). Technology and vocational education for sustainable development: empowering individuals for the future (Vol. 10). Dordrecht: Springer Science & Business Media.Google Scholar
- Sharma, R. (2009). Education for sustainability in certificate and vocational education at a New Zealand polytechnic. (Master of Education Master's Dissertation), UNITEC Institute of Technology, Auckland, Newzealand. http://unitec.researchbank.ac.nz/handle/10652/1390.
- Sleurs, W. (2008). Competencies for ESD (education for sustainable development) teachers: a framework to integrate ESD in the curriculum of teacher training institutes—Comenius 2.1 Project 118277-CP-1-2004-BE-Comenius-C2. 1. 2008. http://www.ensi.org/Projects/Teacher_Education/CSCT/. Accessed 11 November 2016.
- Sterling, S. (1998). Education for sustainable development in the school sector. A report to DfEE/QCA, Panel for education for sustainable development, Reading, UK, Council for environmental educationGoogle Scholar
- Sterling, S. (2015). Sustainable education: Re-visioning learning and change. (Schumacher briefings). Devon: Green Books.Google Scholar
- Sydow, B. C. (2012). Sustainability design in higher education: Curriculum, teaching methods, and program integration. (Ph.D.), Vermillion: University of South Dakota.Google Scholar
- Tomas, L., Girgenti, S., & Jackson, C. (2015). Pre-service teachers’ attitudes toward education for sustainability and its relevance to their learning: implications for pedagogical practice. Environmental Education Research, 23(3):324–347. Google Scholar
- UNESCO. (1978). Final report, intergovernmental conference on environmental education. Tbilissi (USSR). Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
- UNESCO. (2006). Framework for the UNDESD international implementation scheme. vol ED/DESD/2006/PI/1). Paris: UNESCO. Google Scholar
- UNESCO. (2007). Planning meeting of regional resource persons in TVET from South-East Asia and South Asia.Google Scholar
- UNESCO. (2009a). Bonn declaration: UNESCO world conference on education for sustainable development. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001887/188799e.pdf. Accessed 13 July 2016.
- UNESCO. (2009b). EFA global monitoring report. Overcoming inequality: why governance matters. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
- UNESCO. (2012). Education for sustainable development country guidelines for changing the climate of teacher education to address sustainability: putting transformative education into practice. In M. Y. Choi (Ed.). Jarkata, Indonesia.Google Scholar
- United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. (2005). Contributing to a more sustainable future: Quality education, life skills, and education for sustainable development. (pp. 8). http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001410/141019e.pdf. Accessed 13 June 2015.
- Wheeler, K. A., & Bijur, A. P. (2000). Education for a sustainable future: A paradigm of hope for the 21st century (Vol. 7). Dordrecht: Springer Science & Business Media.Google Scholar
- Yean, A. S. (2015). Education for sustainable development in Malaysia’s National Curriculum Reformation: a theoretical exploration. Journal of International and Comparative Education, 3(2). https://doi.org/10.14425/00.73.61.