The urgent need for sustainable development, combined with reaction to climate change from industry and society, has urged many governments in the Asia-Pacific region to develop policies that will lead to a low-carbon economy. The resulting structural changes in labour markets require that new skills be incorporated into technical vocational education and training (TVET). But a research of Dr Margarita Pavlova, Associate Professor at the Department of International Education, The Education University of Hong Kong, revealed that countries in the Asia-Pacific region lack the green skills to implement and sustain low-carbon economies.
Dr Pavlova researched the skills required for green economic growth, identified how greening occurs in industries and how TVET can become more sustainable. She also recommended changes in government policy and practice to develop generic green skills in the labour force to reduce the negative environmental impact of economic development in the region. Her research has led directly to changes in policy and educational practices to address the problem through TVET.
Dr Pavlova’s research has affected the TVET policy debate, green skills in strategic development plans, national educational training and standards, and TVET institutional practices.
In a project funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) from 2012 to 2014, Dr Pavlova and Professor Rupert Maclean mapped existing practices in developing green skills in TVET in Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, as well as demand for green skills in the construction, transport, energy and hospitality industries. The project resulted in three ADB briefs, which provided policy direction for developing member countries on green-related skills development.
In 2015, Dr Pavlova and her team participated in a projected funded by UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre and developed a new framework for conceptualising generic green skills, focusing on embedding generic green skills in TVET for construction and agriculture in five countries.She co-led a project hosted by China’s Ministry of Education for APEC in 2015, which recommended reforms for Chinese TVET programmes, leading to more than eight VET providers in China reforming their curricula to include green skills in seven specialties.
From 2014 to 2018, Dr Pavlova co-led a UNESCO project to examine existing practices and the conditions necessary for a positive impact in the catering, automotive, waste management and PVC industries in seven countries. The study developed a systematic framework with measures to address the holistic development of green skills and incorporate their recognition, validation and accreditation into policies, practices and TVET curricula.
In 2015, her policy briefing workshop in Mongolia, based on regional research, identified a need for green TVET in the country, resulting in green skills being included in TVET curriculum development and staff training in the 2016–21 National Programme for TVET development. In the same year, she conducted a national seminar in Nepal, and in 2017, she designed and ran a programme for Nepal ministries and TVET institution representatives on greening TVET in Hong Kong. Malaysia’s Ministry of Education incorporated her research findings in the development of Malaysia’s national framework for TVET Educator Standards, which was expected to affect over 1,000 TVET institutions.
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