Thursday, November 3, 2011

A case study of practices in integrating sustainable development in TVET:The case of Mobile Mission Maintenance Vocational Training Centre, Zambia

In the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector in Zambia, some attempts have been made to apply sustainable development at the institutional level. This paper looks at the practice of integrating entrepreneurship in TVET carried out by the Mobile Mission Maintenance Vocational Training Centre (MMMVTC) in Ndola, Zambia. The purpose of the study was to examine the extent to which MMMVTC had integrated the principles of education for sustainable development (ESD) in its skills development programmes. The specific objectives of the study were:

1. To examine the definition of sustainable development as used by the centre;
2. To examine how entrepreneurship training in TVET has incorporated economic, social and environmental issues;
3. To identify methods that trainers use to deliver sustainable development;
4. To highlight some of the best practices that the MMMVTC employs in entrepreneurship training with respect to economic, social and environmental issues;
5. To identify barriers and challenges faced by the centre in integrating economic, social and environmental issues in entrepreneurship training;
6. To identify the business case for integrating ESD in the entrepreneurship training programmes.

The study used a series of interviews and a questionnaire to collect data. The first phase was a 45-minute interview conducted with the training manager of MMMVTC. The responses of the interview are included as an Appendix. The second phase was a questionnaire that was distributed to three members of staff: one from the administration and two from the teaching staff.

The study found that the staff at the centre defined sustainable development as ‘development of both the social and economic areas that impact positively on citizens and the graduate applying their skills in society to reduce poverty’. Members of staff stated that the relevance of sustainable development was that ‘the training was useful to the graduate and the community’. The methods used to deliver sustainable development in the training programmes are students carrying out projects, forming student companies and an emphasis on practical work. The study found that the most severe barriers were: financial restrictions; the requirements of professional associations; internal accreditation and validation systems; the reality of a future career conflicts with sustainability teaching; lack of staff expertise and the need to acquire new knowledge; lack of staff
awareness; and lack of academic rigour/misunderstanding. The knowledge and skills identified by the respondents that could ensure that graduates lived and worked in a sustainable way included knowing about the relevance of sustainable development as a way to avoid conflicts in their future.

The study recommended that UNEVOC in Bonn, Germany, should collaborate with the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) to hold awareness workshops and produce publications on sustainable development for training institutions and those involved in TVET. Technical education, vocational and entrepreneurship training policy and TVET curricula need to address issues of sustainable development. It was also recommended that MMMVTC should employ different approaches in order to integrate ESD in TVET, such as plays, publications like magazines and talks by people from organizations that are implementing sustainable development effectively. To incorporate sustainable development in teaching programmes, MMMVTC also needed to procure materials on sustainable development available through UNEVOC and the Internet. These materials should provide simple and practical approaches on the incorporation of sustainable development in teaching programmes.

It was also recommended that TEVETA should ensure that all curricula have aspects of sustainable development integrated in them. The Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training, as the policy-maker, and UNEVOC need to ensure that sustainable development is popularized. They should also provide a policy framework for the integration of sustainable development in TVET institutions. Further, it was recommended that UNEVOC should identify the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are required for the development of ESD skills. These needed to be integrated in TVET documents, such as the policy documents, strategy papers and curricula.

(This is part of an article in Six Case Studies from Eastern and Southern Africa on Integrating Sustainable Development in Technical and Vocational Education and Training published by UNESCO in 2010, pp 86-101)

The rest of the article is available online from: http://bit.ly/vtJK4g

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