06.02.2014 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Interview: Greening technical and vocational education and training

Greening technical and vocational education and training (G-TVET) is a worldwide movement to ensure that teachers and students think and learn “green”. Huot-Marchand, a TVET specialist at UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar explains the importance of G-TVET in sustainable development.

What is the Greening TVET movement?

Greening TVET is not a new concept but it has climbed higher on the international political agenda in the last couple of years. The 2004 "Bonn Declaration", for example, established a special relationship between TVET and sustainable development. It proclaims that "TVET must be the master key that can alleviate poverty, promote peace, conserve the environment, improve the quality of life for all and help achieve sustainable development”.

It was also highlighted as a key concept at the Third International Congress on TVET in May 2012 and of course it’s part of the efforts of the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development from 2005-2014, for which UNESCO is the lead agency.

Why is Greening TVET important?

It’s important because we need to equip learners and future entrepreneurs and workers with the techniques, skills, values ​​and knowledge to ensure sustainable development. Think for example about a car mechanic or a painter who have little or no knowledge about the harmful effects of some kinds of paints. Or the devastating effects of certain pesticides, etc.

One challenge we have is the lack of a common understanding of Greening TVET and sustainable development amongst for example national stakeholders. That’s why it’s key to work at the national level, as we have recently done in Senegal. Last December we organized a workshop on Greening TVET, which involved the authorities, universities, teacher training institutions, technical and financial partners, etc., exactly to work towards a common understanding with our UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre.

How did the workshop go?

It was an interesting experience and important to raise awareness of the issue among the Senegalese authorities. Unfortunately, Greening TVET is not a top priority on the agenda of many African governments, which makes it difficult to promote it. So we welcome the interest in Senegal in this area and hope that Senegal can play a role among French-speaking African countries in the promotion of sustainable development and TVET.

There are five pillars for transforming TVET of which two are particularly suitable to the Senegalese context. The first one is “Green Campus” which means directly influencing the education in schools to bring knowledge about “green behaviors” among students. The second pillar is called “Green Curriculum” where focus is on teacher training. It aims to inform future teachers about the issues of sustainable development so they can convey this knowledge to their pupils.

It’s really important to start sharing best practices about how to translate these concepts into concrete action in an African context. This is one of the activities of UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar over the next couple of years.

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