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Education for sustainable development in Japan and Malaysia: a comparative study among engineering undergraduates

Balamuralithara Balakrishnan (Sultan Idris Education University, Tanjong Malim, Malaysia)
Fumihiko Tochinai (Kanazawa Institute of Technology, Nonoichi, Japan)
Hidekazu Kanemitsu (Kanazawa Institute of Technology, Nonoichi, Japan)
Ali Al-Talbe (King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, BDSaudi Arabia)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 31 May 2021

Issue publication date: 2 July 2021

204

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the impacts of education for sustainable development subject(s) offered at University A, Japan and University B, Malaysia on the attitude and perception toward environment, social and economic issues of sustainability among the engineering undergraduates of the institutions from different countries.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire survey was administered to 108 engineering students at University A, Japan and 117 engineering students at University B, Malaysia to measure their attitudes and perceptions toward sustainability.

Findings

The findings suggested that the sustainable development courses offered at University A, Japan, have developed positive attitudes and perceptions on environmental and social sustainability issues. The subjects on sustainable development offered at University B, Malaysia have developed positive attitudes and perceptions on the environmental issues of sustainability. Respondents from both universities, Japan and Malaysia, have not properly developed positive attitudes and perceptions toward economic sustainability issues. The findings also revealed that geographical boundaries have no influence toward the development of the attitude and perception toward sustainability issues.

Originality/value

This study provides insight into the attitude and perception toward the three pillars – environment, social and economic – of sustainability among engineering undergraduates from two different institutions of two different countries that apply different pedagogic strategies in education for sustainable development in educating undergraduates on sustainable development.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper is based on the research project entitled Development of an Effective Sustainable Development Education Framework for Higher Education Institutions in Malaysia and Japan. The authors would like to extend their gratitude to Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris for the Rising Star University Research Grants (Code: 2019–0124-107–01) that helped fund the research. The authors would like to extend their gratitude to King Abdul Aziz University, Saudi Arabia for the data analysis.

Citation

Balakrishnan, B., Tochinai, F., Kanemitsu, H. and Al-Talbe, A. (2021), "Education for sustainable development in Japan and Malaysia: a comparative study among engineering undergraduates", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 891-908. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-08-2020-0301

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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