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The role of sustainable development in the academic curriculum and prospective employment: a survey of information technology students in Bulgaria

The role of sustainable development in the academic curriculum and prospective employment: a... The information technology (IT) sector is a powerful factor in present-day society, and its role in pro-sustainability policies is crucial. This study aims to gain insight into IT students' perspectives on the role of education for sustainable development (ESD) in their academic curriculum as well as to project their attitudes and actions to prospective employers.Design/methodology/approachThis study used a cross-sectional survey design, involving 260 students majoring in IT at a public university in Bulgaria.FindingsThe majority of the students (67.30%) believed that their university education should promote students’ social and environmental skills. However, 55–65% thought that the current academic curriculum failed to connect subject matter with relevant environmental issues. The students held high expectations of prospective employers. There was a significant concordance between the participants' views on sustainability and their perceived workplace actions. The participants who believed that employers should reduce carbon emissions were significantly more likely to refuse to do any work that supports the fossil fuel industry [odds ratio (OR) = 4.82, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.04–11.37] or leave a job if the company provides products or services for the fossil fuel industry (OR = 3.10, 95% CI: 1.26–7.26). Such participants were more likely to opt for a lower salary in favor of environmental principles (OR = 2.38, 95% CI: 1.32–4.28).Social implicationsThe IT sector is a powerful factor in present-day society, and its role in pro-sustainability policies is crucial. IT students’ perspectives on the gaps in current sustainability practices convey a message to the IT academic and employment communities that environmental issues matter and are important to this new generation of technologically savvy people.Originality/valueThere have been a few other studies in Bulgaria on the issue of ESD, but no other study has focused on the projection of students' attitudes toward the environment onto future employers. The study's results showed that the Bulgarian young people who were getting ready for jobs in the IT field had the same environmental values and concerns as their peers from different higher education areas in different parts of the world. They were interested in acquiring knowledge and competencies that would help propel pro-environmental actions in their academic institution and future workplace. Notwithstanding the overall low economic standards in their country, they tended to put carbon-free and environmentally friendly policies ahead of financial interests. Their critical perspectives on the gaps in current sustainability practices convey a message to the academic and job communities in IT that environmental issues matter to this new generation of technologically savvy people. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education Emerald Publishing

The role of sustainable development in the academic curriculum and prospective employment: a survey of information technology students in Bulgaria

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References (41)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1467-6370
eISSN
1467-6370
DOI
10.1108/ijshe-09-2022-0309
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The information technology (IT) sector is a powerful factor in present-day society, and its role in pro-sustainability policies is crucial. This study aims to gain insight into IT students' perspectives on the role of education for sustainable development (ESD) in their academic curriculum as well as to project their attitudes and actions to prospective employers.Design/methodology/approachThis study used a cross-sectional survey design, involving 260 students majoring in IT at a public university in Bulgaria.FindingsThe majority of the students (67.30%) believed that their university education should promote students’ social and environmental skills. However, 55–65% thought that the current academic curriculum failed to connect subject matter with relevant environmental issues. The students held high expectations of prospective employers. There was a significant concordance between the participants' views on sustainability and their perceived workplace actions. The participants who believed that employers should reduce carbon emissions were significantly more likely to refuse to do any work that supports the fossil fuel industry [odds ratio (OR) = 4.82, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.04–11.37] or leave a job if the company provides products or services for the fossil fuel industry (OR = 3.10, 95% CI: 1.26–7.26). Such participants were more likely to opt for a lower salary in favor of environmental principles (OR = 2.38, 95% CI: 1.32–4.28).Social implicationsThe IT sector is a powerful factor in present-day society, and its role in pro-sustainability policies is crucial. IT students’ perspectives on the gaps in current sustainability practices convey a message to the IT academic and employment communities that environmental issues matter and are important to this new generation of technologically savvy people.Originality/valueThere have been a few other studies in Bulgaria on the issue of ESD, but no other study has focused on the projection of students' attitudes toward the environment onto future employers. The study's results showed that the Bulgarian young people who were getting ready for jobs in the IT field had the same environmental values and concerns as their peers from different higher education areas in different parts of the world. They were interested in acquiring knowledge and competencies that would help propel pro-environmental actions in their academic institution and future workplace. Notwithstanding the overall low economic standards in their country, they tended to put carbon-free and environmentally friendly policies ahead of financial interests. Their critical perspectives on the gaps in current sustainability practices convey a message to the academic and job communities in IT that environmental issues matter to this new generation of technologically savvy people.

Journal

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher EducationEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 13, 2023

Keywords: Education for sustainable development; Pro-sustainability attitudes and actions; University students; Prospective employers

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