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Open Access Analysing key debates in education and sustainable development in relation to ESD practice in Viet Nam

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This article is based on qualitative field research carried out in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, in 2013 for an MA dissertation in Education and International Development at the UCL Institute of Education. It analyses interpretations of education for sustainable development (ESD) in Viet Nam, relating these to key debates around instrumental and democratic approaches.

In order to understand and analyse ESD in the Vietnamese context, interviews were conducted in Ha Noi with university student volunteers who create and implement ESD activities. Students were part of NGO-led networks or universitybased clubs. Their activities targeted peers, children, and local communities. NGO staff working on youth-related ESD were also interviewed.

The institutional structure in which these youth-led projects operate strongly determined their approach, revealing a focus on behaviour change. This links closely with core debates within the ESD canon on instrumental and participatory approaches. Youth activities generally align with the instrumental approach, however, participant experiences also contained elements associated with the participatory approach. These included critical thinking, personal development, and engagement with complex cross-cutting issues such as climate change. The research presents an example of ESD practice that combines the democratic and instrumental approaches within the unique cultural, social, and political context of Viet Nam.

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Keywords: EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT; ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION; VIET NAM; VIETNAM; YOUTH; YOUTH VOLUNTEERING

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • This internationally refereed journal publishes the outcomes of research and current debates on development education and related concepts such as global learning, global education, and global citizenship. The journal is an academic response to the increased public and educational interest in learning and understanding about the wider world. It offers greater understanding of the reasons for global inequality and how global issues such as poverty affect people's everyday lives. It critically explores international development issues so as to help people develop the practical skills and confidence to make positive changes, both locally and globally. Development education and related areas such as global learning have their roots primarily in the practice of non-governmental organisations. The journal brings to the international academic and research community the richness and importance of this neglected academic area. Its purpose is to help advance theoretical and empirical understanding of development education and global learning through a focus on research and reviewing policy and practice in the field.public and educational interest in learning and understanding about the wider world. It offers greater understanding of the reasons for global inequality and how global issues such as poverty affect people's everyday lives. It critically explores international development issues so as to help people develop the practical skills and confidence to make positive changes, both locally and globally.
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