Lecturers’ Perspectives on Integrating Sustainable Development into Social Science Courses

By Zubaidah Mohd Nasir, Mashitoh Yaacob and Halimaton Saadiah Hashim.

Published by The Learner Collection

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The purpose of this paper is to discuss the perspectives of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) lecturers on the integration of sustainable development (SD) concept into social science courses. Environment, economy and society are the dimensions of SD that may require knowledge, positive attitudes and willingness of lecturers to realize Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in social science courses in UKM. A set of questionnaires was distributed to 478 lecturers of social science courses in UKM, and 145 of them responded. Lecturers’ understanding of SD, their attitude towards SD and their belief in the ability to integrate the concept into their courses were investigated in the questionnaire. Frequency analysis was used to measure the level of understanding, attitude and belief of the lecturers towards SD concept, and Pearson correlation was utilized to obtain: (a) the significant levels of the relationship between understanding, attitude and belief of lecturers towards SD concept; and (b) the relationship between understanding, attitude and belief of lecturers towards SD concept and demographic characteristics. The majority of the lecturers misunderstand the concept of SD in that they thought the SD is only about economic development and environmental needs and that they are more important than human needs. Conversely, they demonstrated positive attitudes towards SD as well as towards the relationship between economy and the environment. Most of the lecturers were willing to integrate SD elements in their courses. Pearson correlation of lecturers’ understanding, attitude and belief towards SD is significant at p < .01. In addition, there were significance between lecturers’ attitude and gender, and their understanding and age which p < .05. Thus, lecturers of social science courses have positive attitudes towards SD and a willingness to integrate the concept into their courses, but they misunderstood the real meaning of SD which has three dimensions (i.e., environment, economy and social).

Keywords: Sustainable Development (SD), Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp.383-398. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 840.136KB).

Zubaidah Mohd Nasir

Graduate Research Assistant / Master’s Student, Institute of Environment and Development, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Dr. Mashitoh Yaacob

Lecturer, Centre for General Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Dr. Halimaton Saadiah Hashim

Principal Fellow, Institute of Environment and Development, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Selangor, Malaysia


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