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Sustainability in higher education in cameroon: stakes, methods and prospects

Professor Maureen Ebanga Tanyi,

Head of department of Curriculum and Evaluation,

University of Yaoundé I

tanyi.maureen@yahoo.com;

Ngwa Peter,

Ph.D Student at

Department of Curriculum and Evaluation,

University of Yaoundé I

peterprinceson@gmail.com;

Ateh Theresia Ngongba,

Ph.D Student at

Department of Curriculum and Evaluation

University of Yaoundé I,

ateh.theresia@gmail.com

Abstract :

Instilling sustainability in higher education is important for the improvement of skills/competencies of cohorts of graduates and their contribution to the socioeconomic development of the country. Graduates’ dispositions, abilities and behaviors competency to make the world a more sustainable and better place to live in. Humanity needs to be able to generate solutions to increasingly complex and ever growing global. Education and especially higher education is an important vehicle in this respect, in that it can be used to re-orient perspectives and attitudes and skilling people or learners towards sustainability, motivating them to seek and help to transform themselves and the global society, and thus promote actions for sustainability. This study which was deployed as a survey serves to shed light on this consideration. Through a quantitative analysis with a sample population of 750 graduates from Cameroonian universities purposefully chosen, it allows to highlight the correlation between principles of sustainability and graduates̕ dispositions, abilities and behaviours competency for sustainability. Its purpose is to emphasize the need to embed the curricula or programs in (higher) educational for the sustainable development of our country.

Keywords: sustainability, higher education, skills/competencies, graduates, dispositions, abilities, behaviors competency.

Résumé :

Inculquer le développement durable dans l’enseignement supérieur est important pour les compétences, aptitudes et comportements des diplômés. Pour faire le monde un endroit plus durable et meilleur où vivre, l’humanité doit être en mesure d’apporter des solutions aux défis mondiaux de plus en plus complexes. L’éducation est important dans chaque société, car elle peut être utilisée pour réorienter les perspectives et les attitudes des apprenants vers développement durable, motivant les apprenants à chercher à se transformer eux-mêmes et la société, et donc à promouvoir des actions pour la durable. Cette étude utilise l’approche quantitative avec un échantillon de 750 diplômés des universités camerounaises dans le but d’établir une corrélation entre développement durable, les dispositions, aptitudes et comportements des diplômés. Les résultats montrent un coefficient de 0,587, ce qui révèle l’existence d’une relation significative entre le développement durable et les dispositions, aptitudes et comportements des diplômés au Cameroun. Aussi est-il nécessaire d’intégrer le développement durable dans les cours éducatifs.

Mots clés: développement durable, enseignement supérieur, diplômés, dispositions, aptitudes, comportements.

Introduction

Higher education in Cameroon faces with the challenges of changing socioeconomic and technological trends in the world. In this end and for efficiency pour poses, it is confronted with the need to develop new study programs and curricula that meet these challenges. This is the idea when the Bachelor, Master and Doctor (BMD) program (Teneng, 2017) was introduced in Cameroon as a reform measures to meet the changing trends.  However, conventional education remains an essential factor in addressing critical challenges of development in Cameroon. The pace of its evolution is equivalent to a nation’s prosperity since interconnected issues such as democracy; human rights, social justice, globalization, poverty alleviation, environmental protection, science and technology require inclusive partnerships with the educational sector. Cameroon being a developing country has faced numerous challenges in its educational system especially in the dawn of the 21st century where the global market is increasingly becoming competitive (Tanjong, 2008). The question now is if present structures meet the aspirations of institutions that contribute positively in sustainable activities in the country. HE which is the tertiary phase of the educational ladder must act as a catalyst for sustainable development.

However, the recent changes as observed in this paper are seen partially to be attributed to the recent rediscovery of the importance of higher education as a driver of economic growth at the various levels. It appears that most of the recent transformation processes in Cameroon higher education are direct or indirect impact and pressures of the international cooperation agreements relating to or involving Cameroon. These are the cases of theMillennium Development Goals (MDG, 2000) and those involving education like theEducation for All (EFA, 2000). The rationale for engagement in this study on education for sustainability in higher education (HE) graduates is connected to the need to redress the paradox of higher education that contributes to the advancements in knowledge and skills. Yet results in the most educated countries leave the deepest ecological footprints (McKeon, 2002, p.12) meaning they have the highest per capita rates of consumption. HE is generally perceived as the citadel of learning through which innovative ideas and knowledge is developed to help humanity forge a better path towards the enablement of more equitable and sustainable futures for all (Fadeeva,Mochizuki, Brundiers, Wiek & Redman 2010). Yet the reality is that although higher education produces decision and policy makers (political leaders, economic and administrative leaders at various levels, such as: entrepreneurs, church leaders, financiers/ bankers, political leaders and administrators) and whose policies and decisions influence the behaviors of members of society from the individual to the collective, these higher education elites are the greatest promoters of sustainable behaviors and practices.

Dispositions, abilities and behaviors and practices of higher education graduates have consequent positive effects on society. HE in Cameroon is steered by policies and conditions which overlap at the national and international levels. Which Cameroon is an active member of many international cooperation and solidarity conventions related to education such as: the World Bank (WB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank (ADB) (Besong, 2017),which have been significant in shaping Cameroonian HE in recent years. The financing of HE in Cameroon as most of Africa, was for about two decades relegated to the background in favour of other sectors and educational sub sectors based on prescriptions from international institutions. The aim of this study is to investigate how sustainability in higher education influences graduates’ dispositions, abilities and behaviors competency in Cameroon. The research employs a survey design and uses quantitative analysis. The hypothesis of this work says that there is a significant relationship between sustainability in higher education and graduates̕ dispositions, abilities and behaviors competency. The following sections present the review of the main concepts, the findings, discussion with silent recommendations.

1.    LITERATURE REVIEW

1.1.  Sustainability Education

The Green Curriculum Model presents five keys sustainability and principles are one of them that have been identified and are necessary in sustainability education (Besong, 2017) to effectively prepare learners to face the ever-increasing sustainability challenges of the world as well as become sustainability minded citizens, educators need to foster these principles in sustainability learning and teaching processes. There is no hierarchy in this set of principles, nor is there a prescribed number or mode of integrating them in a particular part of the curricula.  Rather the educator is asked to consider when and how these principles are integrated across the programme of study to facilitate quality, action oriented, and critical learning experiences with respect to sustainability (Fadeeva et al., 2010). The principles include: Change Agency; Multiple Disciplinarily Insights; Reflexivity; Sustainability World Views, Values and Ethics; Systemic Thinking; Authentic Real World Cases Learning; Democracy; Inclusivity & Multiple Voices; Futures Thinking; and, Contextualization (Besong, 2017). It is necessary for educators in Cameroon to foster these key sustainability principles in sustainability teaching and learning and teaching so that learners are exposed to the important transformative learning experiences to become sustainability minded citizens. Sustainability education is action-oriented. The purpose of sustainability is to enable learners to change their behaviors, values and attitudes to embrace sustainability (Fadeeva et al., 2010). Thus, change agency is an important sustainability principle that is necessary for indoctrinating and fostering sustainability in our daily lives.

1.2.  Contextualized Learning

Contextualizing sustainability in Cameroon educational system is an important aspect that serves the process of embedding knowledge in history, culture, philosophical questions, and personal experience. Sustainability is context specific (Nikitina, 2003, p.9). The meaning of sustainability depends on the context in which it is used. Sustainability needs to be contextualized because the concept is slippery and open to multiple interpretations.

  • Foster Change Agency for Sustainability

Sustainability education focuses on critically examining information about sustainability problems and seeking practical solutions to them. To prepare learners to be able to effectively engage with the complex sustainability challenges. Educators need to design or redesign and re-orient education about and for sustainability so that such a process could foster change and transform learners to become sustainability change agents (Ngwa, 2019). Thus, an important objective of integrating sustainability in higher education programs and courses is to equip learners with knowledge, skills and competencies to become change agents for sustainability. Agency is a sense of personal power, as well as personal responsibility as described by Ngwa (2019, p. 43). A person’s sense of agency apportions responsibility for action. It pushes an individual to internally question whether to intervene in a social or ecological problem. Ngwa (2019) explains that, “it is a capacity to have acted otherwise and a condition of intentional conduct that is necessary to effect change” (p.19). The transformative capacity of human agency is the capability of actors to intervene in a series of events to alter their course.

Education provides actors with the capacity to: apply reason to personal decisions and preferences; reflect critically on the world; envisage desirable changes and accomplish such changes in practice. In relation to sustainability, Thomas (2009) argues for the need for citizens to take responsibility to effect change towards promoting sustainability. Change to embrace sustainability is only effected if actors undertake actions to foster behaviour changes to promote sustainability in education. Such changes are successful if people become involved as change agents to promote sustainability. Tilbury, Adams and Keogh (2005) argue that for all sectors of society to actively engage in change for sustainability, there is the need to change all higher education curricula to integrate sustainability.Change agents need to develop capacity for creativity and innovation in areas of futures thinking and design and such competencies is developed through action oriented and based learning. Change agency for sustainability is in line with Lewin’s theory of change process in human systems, which focuses on three basic principles such as Unfreezing, Changing or Transition and Refreezing. Lewin considers these processes as the foundations upon which meaningful change is built.

  • Objectives of Higher Educationin African Society

There is a need to build institutions that are truly oriented toward the development of African societies and economies expecially Cameroon. This requires greater efforts at producing the right kinds of graduates who are adaptable to the rapidly changing needs of African society and global economies but also contribute to innovation and development. Higher education is increasingly seen as central to economic, social and political development and vital to competitiveness in an increasingly globalizing knowledge society.  Most African countries are taking moves towards expanding their tertiary education as a solution to promoting faster technological developments and improving abilities to maximize economic output (Bloom, Canning &Chan, 2006). An example of this was the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), which put forward the claim that, African, higher education is a critical sector whose performance directly affects and even determines the quality and magnitude of Africa’s development. It is the most important means of developing human resources and imparting appropriate skills, knowledge and attitudes.

It forms the basis for developing innovation, science and technology in order to harness resources, industrialize, and participate in the global knowledge economy and for Africa to take its rightful place in the global community. From the Bologna Process, to the BMD-CEMAC Reforms and even the East African case, there seems to be a growing awareness of the importance of higher education in the development of the knowledge based economy, indicating a shift in focus from natural resources as the basis for development to human resources, in terms of human capital formation through education, as central to the economic success of nations. In order words, higher education is increasingly being considered as a priority for people to be effective and fulfilled citizens, capable of facing the novel challenges imposed by the transition to knowledge based economies (Wegner, 2008; Openjuru, 2011). In Cameroon, higher education institutions have been undergoing important transformations and innovation in the wake of globalization and one of the major challenges have been to be able to prepare university graduate to enter the labour market after graduation. Change was evident since 1993 with the rapid expansion of universities from one state university in 1993, to eight in 2010 (Arreté no. 10/0393 of November, 2010 and  Decree No. 93/026 of 19 January, 1993).

1.5.  Dispositions, Abilities and Behaviours Competency

The dispositions, abilities and behaviours competency have to do with what learners’ exhibit in relation to sustainability and dispositions refers to learners’ dispositions for sustainability as pointed out by Besong (2017) that, learners’ desires/willingness and motivations to engage with sustainability and learners’ attitudes, beliefs and value orientations in relation to sustainability learners’ dispositions for sustainability  relate to their sustainability competencies in ‘learning to be’ and ‘learning to live together’ (UNESCO, 1996).  Learners’ values-orientations, belief-systems and attitudes, influence their desires, motivations and willingness to engage with sustainability (The Cloud Institute, 2010). The impact of worldviews on engagements with sustainability is vividly explained inEscobar’s (2001, p. 153) arguments that communities actively construct their sociocultural worlds “through their laborious daily practices of being, knowing, and doing … even if in the midst of other forces.” Cultural constructs and contexts thus impact on learners’ desires and motivations to engage with sustainability. According to Teneng (2017), it is “possessing qualities that facilitate and enhance employment opportunities”. Harvey (2004, p.3) puts it in this sense, it is “the acquisition of attributes (knowledge, skills, and abilities) that make graduates more likely to be successful in their chosen occupations”. It is the aspect of the acquisition of knowledge, skills and abilities that tie this definition to the study. These knowledge and skills are supposed to be acquired in the universities or institutes of higher learning (Wiek ,Withycombe  & Redman, 2011).

According to Besong (2017), abilities refer to learners’ abilities in sustainability, including learners’ skills, aptitudes and knowledge for action on sustainability.  Learners’ abilities to engage with sustainability relate to their sustainability competencies in learning to know and to do (UNESCO, 1996), and this involves learners’ cognitive capabilities and skills to engage in thinking that reflects sustainability values.  This involves learners’ development of cognitive capabilities for systemic thinking, strategic planning, critical reflection, values thinking and futures thinking for sustainability. Besong (2017) believes that behaviours here refer to learners’ behaviours in relation to sustainability. Learners’ behaviours to promote sustainability relates to their sustainability competencies in ‘learning to transform oneself and society’ (Shaeffer, 2007).  This involves their manifestations of sustainability through the actual actions taken to embrace or foster sustainability (Talwar, Wiek  & Robinson, 2011), thus acting as change agents for sustainability meanwhile sustainability competencies are “complexes of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that enable successful task performance and problem solving with respect to real-world sustainability problems, challenges, and opportunities” (Wiek, 2010, n. p.)The US Department of the Interior University (DOIU, 2013) defines competency as “a combination of skills, knowledge, characteristics and traits that contribute to outstanding performance in a particular job”.  These are “individual abilities or characteristics that are keys to effectiveness in work”. Examples of competencies needed for work include: adaptability, commitment, creativity, motivation, foresight, leadership, independence, emotional stability, analytical [and critical] reasoning, and communication skills (Besong and Holland, 2015, Wiek et al., 2011).

1.6. Employability

For sustainability to be real in higher education, graduates’dispositions, abilities and behavoirs competency must be transformed into employability. According to Lees (2002), employability is a multifaceted concept, open to a range of interpretations and definitions. There is a distinction difference between employment and employability (York and Knight, 2007). To them, employment is synonymous with having a job, whereas employability is associated with not only having a job but “possessing qualities that facilitate and enhance employment opportunities”. The focus here is on employability skills, where employment is as a subset of employability. Harvey (2004, p. 3), defines employability in its core sense “as the acquisition of attributes (knowledge, skills, and abilities) that make graduates more likely to be successful in their chosen occupations.”

It is the aspect of the acquisition of knowledge, skills and abilities that tie this definition to the study. These knowledge and skills are acquired in the universities or institutes of higher learning. Employability is the prime factor that influences the very thoughts of a graduating student (Gokuladas, 2011). Employability to Yorke & Knight (2004) is a set of achievements,skills, understandings and personal attributes that make graduates more likely to gain employment and be successfulin their chosen occupations, which benefit themselves, the community and the economy. According to Nayan (2010), employability skills are categorized by the following competency areas: personal values, problem-solving and decision-making skills, relations with other people, communication skills, task-related skills, maturity, health and safety habits.

2.    METHODOLOGY

2.1.  Research Design

The approach adopted for this study was a survey and used quantitative analysis.

  • Population Samples

The interest was not to know from which university they graduated from but to know if their education was sustainable upon graduation. A sample of 750 graduates was presented with questionnaires, who are owners of small and medium size enterprises from different region of Cameroon. They graduated from the following universities: The University of Yaoundé I, The University of Yaoundé II, The University of Douala, The University of Buea, Lead Higher Institute, ICT University, Siatou Higher Institute, CITEC and Catholic University of Central Africa were purposively chosen because the majority of business owners graduated from these universities. These business owners were individually contacted to participate because it links to graduate dispositions, abilities and behaviours competency.

2.3.  Research Instruments

The questionnaire consisted of 19 questions constructed along the pattern of the Likert scale: Strongly agree (SA), Agree (A), Uncertain (UN), Strongly disagree (SDA), Disagree (DA), for the graduate behaviors after leaving university, based on the three research variables of the study: principles of sustainability and graduates’ dispositions, abilities and behaviors competency.

2.4.  Techniques for Data Analysis

Data collected was analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The Spearman Correlation was the tool used in testing the association between three variables. Spearman Correlation is expressed as :

Where:

D is the difference between the ranks of X

and the corresponding ranks of Y

n= the number of paired ranks.

2.5.  Research Question

The research question for this study was: how does sustainability in higher education influence graduates̕ dispositions, abilities and behaviours competency ?

2.6.  Validity and Reliability

To maximize the content and face validity of the magnitudes generated from the descriptive research, four tests were adopted developed by Ying (2003). They include: (i) construct validity (multiple sources of data were collected for the case under investigation in order to increase construct validity), (ii) internal validity (we have maintained a logic chain of evidence; the reader can follow the derivation from any evidence from our research question to the final conclusion. More the triangulation of different sources (used in convergence) of evidence was important way of increasing the internal validity of this study), (iii) external validity (we attempted it to sharpen the external validity in the way that we have chosen the case study and conducted the research. The findings from this study can be generalized and replicate if conducted in the same conditions) and (iv) reliability (It is the consistency and stability of the research process (Miles & Huberman, 2003). The table below is the presentation of data according to the research question. The table below is the presentation of data according to the research question.

3.    FINDINGS

3.1.  Descriptive statistics

Table 1.

Sustainability in higher education and graduates̕ disposition, abilities and behaviour competency

Item Statement SA A Un DA SDA Mean
1 My bahaviours, values and attitudes enhance sustainability. f1 275 182 97 113 83 2,40
% 36,7 24,3 12,9 15,1 11,1
2 I am a change agent. f1 295 249 133 73 2,08
% 39,3 33,2 17,7 9,7
3 It is necessary to infuse and foster sustainability in my daily lives. f1 142 280 134 102 92 2,63
% 18,9 37,3 17,9 13,6 12,3
4 Lecturers integrate knowledge and activities in the learning and teaching process. f1 245 257 73 96 79 2,34
% 32,7 34,3 9,7 12,8 10,5
5 Lecturers take into consideration disciplinary, cross-sustainability and non-disciplinary perspectives to equip learners with knowledge. f1 130 240 231 149 3,04
% 17,3 32,0 30,8 19,9
6 Lecturers take into consideration capabilities of using disciplinary, cross-disciplinary and non-disciplinary knowledge and skills to seek and solve sustainability related problems. f1 163 248 107 84 148 2,74
% 21,7 33,1 14,3 11,2 19,7
7 Co-disciplinarity, con-disciplinarity, cross-disciplinarity, infra-disciplinarity, inter-disciplinarity, intra-discilpinarity, multi-disciplinarity and trans-disciplinarity perspectives is integrated in curricula to offer critical insights into sustainability. f1 199 312 108 100 31 2,27
% 26,5 41,6 14,4 13,3 4,1
8 A systemic thinking fosters programs and courses of study in ESD in Cameroon. f1 202 180 124 118 126 2,71
% 26,9 24,0 16,5 15,7 16,8
9 In this 21 century knowledge economy, I am interested in learning by doing. f1 210 228 80 130 102 2,58
% 28,0 30,4 10,7 17,3 13,6
10 Authentic learning enables me to develop good judgment skills. f1 194 256 109 88 103 2,53
% 25,9 34,1 14,5 11,7 13,7
11 I am engaged in real world sustainability issues. f1 206 213 64 174 93 2,65
% 27,5 28,4 8,5 232 12,4
12 Authentic learning helps me to develop skills in teamwork, critical thinking, innovative and creative thinking. f1 233 277 86 98 56 2,29
% 31,1 36,9 11,5 13,1 7,5
13 Lecturers integrate learning activities that foster the acquisition, development and application of civic skills. f1 156 193 49 152 200 3,06
% 20,8 25,7 6,5 20,3 26,7
14 I believe respectability of the human being depends on mutual recognition. f1 208 196 169 110 67 2,51
% 27,7 26,1 22,5 14,7 8,9
15 I am aware that higher education mainstream is a driver of economic growth. f1 242 386 122 2,00
% 32,3 51,5 16,3
16 I am enabled to build stronger and more sustainable democracies. f1 257 312 85 62 34 2,07
% 34,3 41,6 11,3 8,3 4,5
17 Sustainability learning is action-oriented. f1 214 349 103 84 2,08
% 28,5 46,5 13,7 11,2
18 Values enable sustainability minded citizens. f1 151 375 125 99 2,53
% 20,1 50,0 16,7 13,2
19 I learn different ways of re-cycling and reusing resources. f1 293 155 126 69 107 2,39
% 39,1 20,7 16,8 9,2 14,3

Source : (Field Statistics)

The green curriculum model is the evidence-base for the formation of this framework.Item one is the distribution of respondents according to whether bahaviors, values and attitudes enhance sustainability. 36,7% (275) 24,3% (182) agreed with this statement while 12,9 (97) remained uncertain. 15,1% (113) and 11,1 %( 83) did not agree with this statement. This gave us a mean of 2,40 which falls within the region of acceptance. Item two presents the distribution of respondents according to being a change agent. 39,3% (295) and 33,3% (249) accepted. 17,7% (133) were uncertain while none of the respondents disagreed  and 9,7% (73) did not know what if they are change agent. The mean, 2,08 falls in the acceptance zone. Even so, many graduates from Cameroonian universities do not know if they are change agent. Item three presents the distribution of respondents according to whether it is necessary to infuse and foster sustainability in daily lives. 18,9% (142) and 37,3% (280), understood. 17,9% (134) were uncertain, while 13,6% and 12,3% of the respondents disagreed and strongly disagreed with the statement respectively. Based on the data, we got a mean of 2,63, which falls within the region of acceptance. This means that most of the respondents agreed with the statement. Item four is the distribution of respondents according to lecturers who integrate knowledge and activities in the learning and teaching process. 32,7% (245) and 34,3% (257) agreed with this but 9,7% (73) were uncertain while 12,8% (96) and 10,5% (79) did not agree. The mean was 2,34 accepting the statement. This is indicative of the fact that lecturers integrate knowledge and activities in the learning and teaching process in HE.

Item five shows the distribution of respondents according to whether lecturers take into consideration disciplinary, cross-sustainability and non-disciplinary perspectives to equip learners with knowledge. Based on the data, the mean is 3,04 which is found at the acceptance level.  Most of the respondents accepted. Even so, a great number of the respondents were uncertain (231) while none disagreed and 149 strongly disagreed. This means that there remains a call and need for lecturers proper consideration disciplinary, cross-sustainability and non-disciplinary perspectives to equip learners with knowledge that would them for future disposition and abilities. Item six is the distribution according to whether lecturers take into consideration capabilities of using disciplinary, cross-disciplinary and non-disciplinary knowledge and skills to seek and solve sustainability related problems. Based on the data, the mean is 2,74 found at the acceptance level. This means that most of the respondents supported the statement. Item seven is the distribution of respondents according to Co-disciplinarity, con-disciplinarity, cross-disciplinarity, infra-disciplinarity, inter-disciplinarity, intra-discilpinarity, multi-disciplinarity and trans-disciplinarity perspectives is integrated in curricula to offer critical insights into sustainability. The data gives us a mean of 2,27, found in the acceptance zone. Even so, 100 and 31 disagreed and strongly disagreed with this statement. Item eight presents the distribution of respondents according to a systemic thinking fosters programs and courses of study in ESD in Cameroon. The statistics produced an accepted mean of 2,71. But a large portion of the respondents still remained uncertain (124) with some disagreeing (118) and strongly disagreeing (126). This may be implying that even though the mean is accepted, universities must revise and continue to revise contents of ESD. Item nine distributes respondents according to this 21 century knowledge economy, the interest in learning by doing. 28,0% and 30,4% of respondents supported this statement. 10,7% were not sure and 17,3% disagreed and 13,6% strongly disagreed. Again ,it is seen here that even though the mean of 2,58 falls within the acceptance region, HE course contents are still found wanting in the domain of learners’ practicing what they have learnt.

Item ten distributes respondents according to the authentic learning enables learners to develop good judgment skills. From the data, the mean is 2,52 which fall at the level of acceptance. Even so, a very large number of respondents (88 plus 103) disagreed and strongly disagreed. This indicates that authentic learning enables learners to develop good judgment skills were not effective especially in state universities from where the bulk of our respondents came. Item eleven is the distribution of respondents according to whether engaged in real world sustainability issues. Based on data, the mean is 2,65 and is found at the acceptance level.  Most respondents accepted the statement. But 64 were uncertain while 174 disagreed and 93 strongly disagreed. Even though the mean is accepted, there are strong indications that HE needs to update its engagement in real world sustainability issues. Item twelve distributes respondents according to authentic learning helps me to develop skills in teamwork, critical thinking, innovative and creative thinking. The data gives us a mean of 2,29, which is found at the level of acceptance. Only 86 were uncertain, 98 disagreed and 56 strongly disagreed. Therefore, learners develop skills in teamwork, critical thinking, innovative and creative thinking. Item thirteen distributes respondents according to lecturers integrate learning activities that foster the acquisition, development and application of civic skills. The data gives us a mean of 3,06 which falls within the acceptance range. This implies that most of the respondents agreed with the statement.

Item fourteen distributes of respondents according to the respectability of the human being depends on mutual recognition. 27,7% (208) 26,1% (196) agreed with this statement while 22,5 (169) remained uncertain. 14,7% (110) and 8,9 %( 67) did not agree with this statement. This gave us a mean of 2,51 which falls within the region of acceptance. Item fifteen presents the distribution of respondents according to whether higher education mainstream is a driver of economic growth. 32,3% (242) and 51,5% (386) accepted. Interestedly, none of the respondents proven to be uncertain while 16,3% (122) disagreed and none of the respondents strongly disagreed. The mean, 2,00 falls in the acceptance zone. Item sixteen presents the distribution of respondents according to whether to build stronger and more sustainable democracies. 34,3% (257) and 41,6% (312), understood. 11,3% (85) were uncertain, while 8,3% and 4,5% of the respondents disagreed and strongly disagreed with the statement respectively. Based on the data, we got a mean of 2,08 , which falls within the region of acceptance. This means that most of the respondents agreed with the statement.

Item seventeen is the distribution of respondents according to sustainability learning is action-oriented. 28,5% (214) and 46,5% (349) agreed with this but 13,7% (103) were uncertain while 11,2% (84) did not agree and none of the respondents did not strongly disagree. The mean was 2,08 accepting the statement.  eighteen presents the respondents according to values enable sustainability minded citizens. 20,1% (151) 50,0% (375) agreed with this statement while none of the respondents were uncertain. 16,7% (125) and 13,2 %( 99) did not agree with this statement. This gave us a mean of 2,53 which falls within the region of acceptance. Item nine presents the distribution of respondents according to whether there are different ways of re-cycling and reusing resources. 39,1% (293) and 20,7% (155) accepted the statement. 16,8% (126) were uncertain while 9,2%  (69) and 14,3% (107) did not accept. The mean, 2,39 falls in the acceptance zone. Even so, many graduates from Cameroonian universities strongly disagreed.

3.2.  Inferential Statistics

3.2.1.      Hypothesis

Ha1: There is a relationship between principles of sustainability and graduates̕ dispositions, abilities and behaviours competency in Cameroon.

Ho1: There is no relationship between principles of sustainability and graduates̕ dispositions, abilities and behaviours competency in Cameroon

Table 2.

Correlations of sustainability in higher education and graduates̕ disposition, abilities and behaviour competency.
Sustainability in higher education Graduates Dispositions, Abilities and Behaviours Competency
Spearman’s rho Sustainability in higher education Correlation Coefficient 1,000 ,587**
Sig. (2-tailed) . ,000
N 750 750
Graduates’Dispositions, Abilities and Behaviours Competency Correlation Coefficient ,587** 1,000
Sig. (2-tailed) ,000 .
N 750 750
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

The correlation table above presents statistical information on the correlation between sustainability in higher education and graduates̕ disposition, abilities and behavior competency. The correlation coefficient is 0,587 while the level of significant is 0.000. The level of significance is lesser than 0.05. The results reveal that there is a significant relationship between sustainability in higher education and graduates̕ disposition, abilities and behavior competency in Cameroon. Although such transformational processes focus on the individual its actions eventually trickle down to other members of the community, culminating into the process of collective transformation for sustainability. The green curriculum model is designed to act as a guiding tool to help educators navigate the process of reorienting higher education programs and courses in addressing sustainability (Besong, 2017). Education for sustainable development remains a complex concept and “can be an all-encompassing approach that permeates all aspects of education” (CMEC, 2010, p.16).

DISCUSSION

The Green Curriculum Model provides a much needed comprehensive and practical conceptual design framework. It providesthe integration of sustainability in higher education programs and courses based on sustainability education principles, sustainability related pedagogies, competencies and indicators (Besong, 2017). Data collected on this hypothesis was tested using the Spearman rank correlation and multiple regression. The results confirm that principles of sustainality in HE influence graduate dispositions, abilities, behavors competency.Statistically, the Spearman rank correlation index stood at 0.587. From our field statistics, most respondents (275, strongly agreed, and 182 agreed) that bahaviors, values and attitudes enhance sustainability. yet good number (97) are uncertain about their graduate destinations while (113) totally disagreed that they not know what to do after graduation. This shows that the orientation centres which exist in universities are not very effective. Despite increasing interests in the area of sustainability education, much still has to be done in addressing sustainability in higher education programs and courses. Educators need to change higher education culture to embrace systemic, connective, inclusive, transformative, ecological and values-based learning approaches that engender in learners’ real life changes that foster sustainability as indicated in the literature review. This was corroborated by the 73 respondents who strongly disagreed to question that they are change agent.

While on the field, we noticed that most of the respondents  fin dit necessary to infuse and foster sustainability in daily lives (142 and  280) strongly agreed respectively.  This implies that transformational pedagogic approaches are vital in teaching and learning for sustainability. It is also important for lecturers to integrate knowledge and activities in the learning and teaching process. To this, 32,7% and 34,3% of the respondents agreed with the statement. It was very surprising to notice that many lecturers do not take into consideration disciplinary, cross-sustainability and non-disciplinary perspectives to equip learners with knowledge that will lead them to employability.Based on the data, the mean is 3,04 which is found at the acceptance level.The effective transfer of sustainability knowledge, aptitudes and competences is in itself anchored on the educator’s ability to weave together transformative and learner-centred pedagogies. (118 and 126 strongly disagreed respectively that systemic thinking fosters programs and courses of study in ESD in Cameroon.Yet good number of them (202) strongly agreed with the statement. It means that sustainability themes foster knowledge and principles embedded within the sustainability. It produces in the learner the anticipated sustainability related competencies.

The green curriculum and the principles of experiential learning theory lend credence to the importance of sustainability and curricula. According to Kolb (1984) content of courses should be practice based and should reflect assertive, forward moving and proactive anticipation of future action that is based on what is being studied in the present. Transformative learning in sustainability focuses on “learning-based change that involves ‘learning to know’, ‘learning to do’, ‘learning to live together’, ‘learning to be’ and ‘learning to transform oneself and society (Ngwa, 2019). Education for change is concerned with the role of education in bringing about change in the person or society achieved through educational practice and education in change which refers to the policy changes made to educationalrationale, theory and practice that affect (Besong, 2017). Promoting such changes in sustainability education in learning and teaching for sustainability requires the use of transformative, constructivist and participatory pedagogic approaches (Game et al., 2018). Also, the statistical conclusions discussed previously above are corroborated by literature. Smith (2000), views curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted in an attempt to achieve certain ends in the learners. One of the enduring themes in the literature is employability that should be in the interest of the learners and that their needs of employment after leaving the university should be considered by curriculum planners and designers before any contents are included into their programmes. Because transformative learning involves experiencing a deep, structural shift in the basic premises of thought, feelings, and actions. It is a shift of consciousness that dramatically and irreversibly alters our way of being in the world. Such a shift involves our understanding of ourselves and our self-locations; our relationships with other humans and with the natural world (Ngwa, 2019). The proper application of the sustainability instilled in curriculum, the learning and teaching process empowers and motivates learners to become problem solvers and change agents whose actions will ultimately lead to the development of sustainable communities. Although such transformational processes focus on the individual its actions will eventually trickle down to other members of the community, culminating into the process of collective transformation for sustainability (Brunnquell, Brunstein, & Jaime, 2015). The Green Curriculum  Model is designed to act as a guiding tool to help educators navigate the process of reorienting higher education programs and courses in addressing sustainability (Besong, 2017). This is only possible when graduates’ dispositions, abilities and behavors competency are transformed to employability mindset.

RECOMMENDATIONS

There already have been significant levels of interest in the Green Curriculum Model as a conceptual-design framework for instilling sustainability in curricula of higher education from the sustainability community of experts, higher education staff and other researchers and academic administrators within governmental departments in Cameroon.  Its acceptability within the sustainability education community provides sufficient grounding for its application in instilling sustainability in higher education programs and courses. Therefore, the key recommendation of this study is for future research on implementation of the Green Curriculum Model, and on ascertaining its effectiveness in re-orienting curricula to address sustainability across a range of higher education and disciplinary contexts. In this regard, many studies should be carried out in application of the Green Curriculum Model framework across higher education institutions in Cameroon to ascertain its effectiveness in reorienting higher education course curricula and pedagogic practices towards sustainability.

There is an urgent need to address or embed sustainability in educational courses, it should be accepted that not all applications of ESD embrace the whole ESD’s components within a given programme or course curricula. It is also seen how some courses may warrant the integration of more elements of the Green Curriculum Model such as the principles of sustainability. However, what is important is to ensure that the principles of sustainability and related pedagogic approaches are used in the teaching and learning process to enhance sustainability competencies for all stakeholders (educational and social actors).

CONCLUSION

This paper focuses on considering how sustainability within higher education curricula in Cameroon context enhance graduates dispositions, abilities and behaviours competencies. This study presents the educator with a conceptual-design framework to guide the integration of sustainability in higher education courses and programs Higher education institutions are called upon to play a critical role in mobilizing and fostering learners’ acquisition of sustainability competences. Higher education institutions have the expertise to foster the knowledge and skills necessary to enable students devise preventative strategies and solutions to sustainability related issues now and in the future. Higher education institutions have an important role to play as drivers of education, training and policy enhancement for sustainability. It offers higher education actors (institutions, teachers, students, and researchers) opportunities to better understand the nature and extent of competencies development. The proper application of the sustainability instilled curriculum in the learning and teaching process empowers and motivates learners to become problem solvers and change agents whose actions ultimately lead to the development of sustainable communities.

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