The Perception Of Early Childhood Education Pre-Service Teachers On Sustainable Development Goal
The purpose of the study was to determine the perception of early childhood education pre-service teachers towards sustainable development goals. The study was on perception. The study was carried out in Ogun central of Ogun State, Nigeria. The study adopted a theoretical framework i.e. systems theory. The main purpose of the study was to investigate the perception of Early childhood education pre service teacher to sustainable development goals and its effect to effective school management. A case study was adopted for the study. The target population was 46 comprising of pre-service teachers and head teachers and a sample size of 23 was considered for the study obtained through random sampling. The head teacher was purposely selected while the pre-service teachers were picked randomly (at least one teacher from every school. Questionnaires and interview were used to collect the data and analysed by use of tables and percentages. It was established from the field that 12.5% of the respondents strongly disagreed that SDG is not objective, 12.5% also disagreed that SDG is punitive, 43.8% agreed that SDG is good for them. 18.8% strongly agreed that performance IS reviewed because of reward and incentive pay and 12.5% of the respondents were undecided. The recommendations were that employees should have the opportunity to review and make comments written or verbal about SDGs to their students.
1.1 Background of the Study
As a concept, sustainability responds to a growing concern about the adverse impact of technology and increases in the level of human degradation on the natural environment by societal activities in the past two centuries. Development became the guiding principle of countries across the world after the Second World War (Khataybeha, Subbarinia, and Shurmana, 2010). Countries embraced the modern scientific and technological developments without fully considering the wider implications on the future of the planet. According to Defra (2011), a horde of problems such as increased pollution, loss of biodiversity, abuses of human rights, inefficient use of energy, global warming and a widening gap between the rich and the poor, have been rapidly created by humans because of a preoccupation with material comforts. These impacts on the natural environment compelled world leaders to seek solutions in order to protect the planet’s natural resources, promote prosperity through equity of opportunity and reduce poverty. Several summits held from Stockholm 1972 to Rio de Janeiro 2012 demanded a decent standard of living for everyone without compromising the needs of future generations (Drexhage and Murphy, 2010).
The concept of sustainable development formed the basis of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The summit was the first international attempt to draw up action plans and strategies for moving towards a more sustainable pattern of development. Over 100 Heads of State and representatives attended it from 178 national governments. Representatives of varied organisations of the civil societies also attended the Summit. In the 1987 Brundtland Commission report commonly referred to as “Our Common Future”, sustainable development was seen as the feasible solution to the problems of environmental degradation (Dresner, 2008). 15 The Brundtland Report investigated the numerous concerns of the environmental degradation of the previous decades, which were the results of the severity of the impact of human activities on the planet. Key works that highlighted this thinking included Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), Garret Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons (1968), the Blueprint for Survival by the Ecologist magazine (1972) and the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth report (1972). The concept of sustainable development received its first major international recognition in 1972 at the UN Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm. The term “sustainable development” was not explicitly referred to, but nevertheless the international community agreed to the notion – now fundamental to sustainable development – that both development and the environment, hitherto addressed as separate issues, could be managed in a mutually beneficial way (Dresner, 2008). The term was popularised 15 years later in “Our Common Future”, report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, which included what is deemed the ‘classic’ definition of sustainable development: “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland and Khalid, 1987 p.41). However, it was not until the 1992 Rio Summit, that world leaders recognised sustainable development as the major challenge as it is today. In 2002, 191 national governments, UN agencies, multilateral financial institutions and other major groups met in Johannesburg to assess progress since the 1992 Rio summit. The Johannesburg Summit delivered three key outcomes: a political declaration, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, and a range of partnership initiatives. Key commitments included those on sustainable consumption and production, water and sanitation, and energy (Dresner, 2008). More recently, another conference was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012. The conference ensued in a focused political outcome document containing clear and practical measures for implementing sustainable development (Huckle and Wals, 2015). The member states in attendance launched a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will build upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and coverage with the post-2015 development agenda (Dresner, 2008).
The SDGs, otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that people enjoy peace and prosperity. The 17 goals are interconnected and built on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals, the new focus includes; climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. Often the key to success of one goal involves tackling issues more commonly associated with another. In view of this, this study believes that with the achievement of Goals 4 (SDG4), which emphasises inclusion, equity and quality education with observable learning outcomes, the solution to global issues can be achieved. Discussion on how quality education can help achieve this is in chapter two, section. The SDGs work in the spirit of partnership and pragmatism with the right choices which centres on improving life sustainably for future generations. They provide clear guidelines and targets for all countries to adopt following their priorities and the environmental challenges of the world at large. The SDGs are an inclusive agenda, aiming to tackle the causes of poverty and unite the world together to make a positive change for both people and planet. That is why it is necessary for children to be exposed to the gaols early hence the need for the study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
As the background information has emphasised, the concept of SDG has now risen to prominence as many people have recognised the urgent need to promote and progress towards SDG. Education and public awareness have been identified as critical components of the transition towards a sustainable future, with the role of early childhood education being particularly pronounced due to its potential to drive individual and societal change in terms of human perceptions and abilities. Although there is growing evidence about the increasing interest and demand for SDG education in early childhood education (Kreitner, 2003), the dissonance still remains between disciplines in terms of staff perceptions and attitudes towards SDG and its integration into school curricula. With a specific focus on early childhood education, this project aims to reveal the perceptions of pre service teachers about SDG and its place at school level, as well as exploring the SDG of student lifestyles and behaviours in relation to their differing attitudes and educational contexts.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to investigate the perception of early childhood education pre-service teachers on sustainable development goal.
1.4 Objectives of the Study
- To assess the frequency SGD are taught by Pre service teachers of early childhood education
- To assess existence of SDG in the Curriculum of early childhood education
- To assess the Perception of Pre service teachers on SDG
1.5 Significance of the Study
- The study will provide relevant bodies with information onSDG
- It will also help change teacher’ attitudes to and understanding of SDG.
- Help schools and education board build better curricula
- Aids students better understanding of SDGs
1.6 Limitations and Delimitations of the Study
- The scope of the study will be only limited to Ogun state, which may not provide a more representative and conclusive result.
- Random sampling selection may not be an assured way of getting the right person for the study.
- It may not be possible to exhaust the options of all the early childhood education pre-service teachers in the state.
1.6 Research Questions
- What is the frequency SGD are taught by Pre service teachers of early childhood education?
- Is there existence of SDG in the Curriculum of early childhood education?
- What is the Perception of Pre service teachers on SDG?
1.7 Organization of the Study
This study is organized into five chapters. Chapter one included the background of the study, research problem, research objectives and questions as well as limitation of the study. Chapter two contains the literature review. Chapter three includes the methodology and study area. Chapter Four contains the results and discussion of key findings of the study. Chapter Five finally looks at the summary, conclusions, and recommendations based on the findings.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
The study was conducted in the Ogun central LGA. . The use of a larger sample could have yielded more valid and reliable result but was not possible due to the difficulty in accessing some schools.
Some of the respondents may have ticked all the responses in order to make impressions and not necessarily reflecting their true or real choices and this may have influenced the result in a way.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Overall, the project has been successful in achieving its research aims, although the majority of the data regarding pre service teachers’ perceptions can only be used as an outline due to the small sample size. The project has revealed that the majority of both pre service teachers and head teachers now have at least a basic understanding and awareness of SDG, as well as having developed positive attitudes and perceptions towards the concept as it has risen to prominence. The findings indicated that pre service teachers do engage with numerous sustainable behaviours, even the topic hasn’t become a key priority for them in their everyday thinking. The results also indicated that early childhood education have a heavy influence on pre service teacher’s attitudes and perceptions. Although SDG-related content is being increasingly integrated within school curricula due to increasing demand from pre service teachers, the extent of its integration varies significantly between disciplines due to staff perceptions.
Based on the findings of this project, the following suggestions are offered regarding the integration of SDG into school curricula:
- Programme Leaders and lecturing staff should be encouraged to consider how SDG is/could be reflected in their curriculum and teaching activities, and to highlight opportunities where links could be made to SDG.
- It is suggested that SDG is integrated and embedded into all core programmes in the school, so that pre service teachers are able to engage with and develop their critical skills around this area.
- Practitioners are recommended to make the links more explicit within modules where the links can be made, as well as making it clear to pre service teachers how SDG is relevant to, and can be applied to that specific discipline.
- In modules where SDG is incorporated and discussed within, the module descriptor should contain specific reference to SDG and how it features within the module.
- Staff development and continuing professional development courses should be utilised to engage staff with the topic and issues of SDG and develop their understanding, so that they can then integrate SDG-related content into their teaching and learning practices.
5.3 Implications for Future Research
Although this project was particularly successful in revealing staff perceptions of SDG and its integration within school curricula, the small sample of pre service teachers did not provide accurate and conclusive findings. Therefore further research should be conducted investigating the perceptions of pre service teachers of SDG and its integration within school curricula. It is also important that perceptions from different institutions in the Nigeria as well as the world to discover how perceptions vary and the factors influencing those perceptions. In terms of future research investigation should be conducted including other disciplines and staff members, as well as including the senior management staff in the research to reveal their perceptions on the matter, as well as monitoring of the potential impacts of this project. Further research should also be conducted with staff from the Learning and Teaching Institute, staff members to discover their views on their responsibilities and the potential of the suggested recommendations.
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