Greening technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is an emerging concept that has gathered momentum in the international community in recent years. TVET is directly linked to the labour market and hence plays a key role in providing knowledge and skills to facilitate the transition to greener economies and societies.
“The greening of TVET could be the missing link that can connect school and society, and link society and employment,” said UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education, Ms. Stefania Giannini, at a high-level breakfast meeting organized by the Permanent Delegation of Denmark to UNESCO on 14 November 2019 during the Organization’s 40th General Conference.
As outlined by the Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Denmark to the OECD and UNESCO, Mr. Carsten Staur, during his opening remarks, the meeting focused on strategic partnerships between TVET institutions and the private sector for greening TVET and was inspired by the guidance framework of UNESCO on Education for Sustainable Development and UNESCO-UNEVOC’s Greening TVET: a practical guide for institutions.
A report commissioned by the Danish National Commission for UNESCO and presented by His Excellency Mr. Søren Hartmann Hede, Deputy Minister of Education for Denmark, concluded that “more than ever before, networking and partnerships are essential to overcoming these barriers”. The report shows that – based on research conducted in Denmark – teaching students about sustainability makes them agents of change and increases their motivation to contribute to developing solutions. It also stresses that partnerships, and especially involvement of the private sector, is key. UNESCO’s global networks, including the UNEVOC Network, can help to reinforce the efforts of the technical and vocational education.
The Association of TVET Providers in Denmark, Danske Erhvervsskoler og –Gymnasier DEG, through Ms. Nina Olsen, Deputy Director, also provided remarks during the event. “We in Denmark are building a network of schools to work on Greening TVET.” She highlighted that “Greening TVET is a global agenda. It helps create a new narrative for TVET, make TVET more attractive.”
In one of the showcase sessions, Mr. Lone Peterson, Director of Human Resources at the Danish Food Service Company Hørkram, highlighted an example of successful cooperation between businesses and schools to promote sustainability in the private sector. By establishing partnerships with local schools, the company is working towards educating and equipping new generations with the in-demand skills needed to be successful in the global green economy.
During his keynote speech, His Excellency Mr. George Magoha, Minister of Education of Kenya, explained the importance of TVET for Kenya and offered his reflections on promoting greening TVET at the global level. He emphasized the need for investment in research and the development of innovative solutions to the issue of plastic waste - an escalating problem that Kenya is trying to counteract through new production methods.
UNESCO’s work on Greening TVET contributes to its Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), which aims to transform society by reorienting education and training to help people develop knowledge, skills, values and practices needed for sustainable development. The greening TVET concept encourages stakeholders to reflect on how they can integrate sustainability in curricula and training standards, solve local issues through applied research projects, and engage communities, industries and enterprises to reduce their environmental impact through greener practices.
UNESCO-UNEVOC’s Greening TVET Guide has steered members of its global network on how they can embed sustainability in their practices and curricula. Experiences from implementing the guide show that TVET institutions in different countries face similar challenges: a lack of awareness about sustainability, limited capacity of stakeholders, and a shortage of resources to take action.
Head of UNESCO-UNEVOC, Mr. Shyamal Majumdar, explained the concept behind the Greening TVET Guide and shared examples of greening initiatives from UNEVOC Centres: RVTTI Kenya; Cégep Canada; and Seychelles Institute of Technology.
More than 100 participants attended the meeting, including ministers, member state representatives and key TVET stakeholders. They also discussed the possibility of developing a concept for UNESCO’s recognition of “Green TVET Champions”.