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Some of the challenges in implementing Education for Sustainable Development: perspectives from Brazilian engineering students

Rampasso, IS and Siqueira, RG and Anholon, R and Silva, D and Quelhas, OLG and Leal Filho, W and Brandli, LL (2019) Some of the challenges in implementing Education for Sustainable Development: perspectives from Brazilian engineering students. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, 26 (4). pp. 367-376. ISSN 1350-4509

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Abstract

© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This article aims to analyse some of the main challenges evidenced in the insertion of sustainability in engineering courses, according to the view from a sample of Brazilian students. Through a systematic literature review, a set of 10 challenges were structured to base the research instrument (questionnaire). These challenges were evaluated by 91 engineering students who participate in sustainable action programs promoted by Enactus Brazil. The collected data were analysed in terms of the averages assigned and via the multi-criteria decision technique TOPSIS, which allowed ranking the challenges. The averages were higher than 5.0 on the scale used, indicating that the students notice the existence of the challenges in the courses in which they are enrolled. The ranking via TOPSIS presented the most evident challenges: ‘Sustainable issues debated only in specific disciplines in a limited extent’; ‘Difficulty to integrate disciplines for the broad teaching of sustainability’; ‘Lack of practical and real examples of how sustainability can be embedded in the specific context of the course’; and ‘Activities and examples presented focus exclusively on environmental issues’. The results presented here may be useful for course coordinators to improve their curriculum; educators to enrich their disciplines from the findings reported here; and researchers interested in the subject can use these findings as a starting point for proposing new teaching techniques. No similar publications were found in the literature, which indicates its originality and contribution to the knowledge base.

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