Today one of the most important goal is to transform existing economies to green economies which was first coined in 1989 in UK to achieve sustainable development. UNEP defined green economy as “as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. In its simplest expression, a green economy can be thought of as one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive”.1 UNEP, in 2008, launched Green Economy Initiative “to provide analysis and policy support for investment in green sectors and for greening resource‐ and/or pollution‐intensive sectors”2. Another important feature of green economy is the emphasize on the “regeneration-of individuals, communities and ecosystems”3. Green economy comprised of more than 25 industries among which green design, green buildings, materials and construction products, waste management, waste-to-energy are part of almost any sector directly or indirectly including woodworking and furniture industry.
It is evident that green economy can only be achieved by a green society which is an educated society where quality of the education has the key role. The relation between education and innovation are accepted as the “prime movers of sustainable growth in green economies, where innovation, green skills and the capacity to cope with change will be significant drivers of each economic sector”4. Transition to green societies then requires re-configuration/re-structuring the formal and non-formal education in which not only themes related with sustainability but also critical thinking should be taught.
In this context well-trained professionals who can cope with this paradigmatic change in the economy and society will be the backbones in this transformation. Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) should also be revised not only to provide skills needed for an occupation to be green: green skills but also skills necessary to adapt professionals to changes and new technologies in order to sustain themselves. Greening TVET is described as “prepares learners for fields of work and business such as construction, waste management and agriculture, many of which consume enormous amounts of energy, raw materials and water. Green TVET helps develop skilled workers who have knowledge of – and commitment to – sustainable development, as well as the requisite technical knowledge. Greening TVET is crucial for making a transition from energy and emissions-intensive economies to cleaner and greener production and service patterns”5. Skills for sustainable development is illustrated in the report provide by UNESCO as given in Figure 1 below:
Figure: Skills for Sustainable Development regarding Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) (taken from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002162/216269e.pdf
In the very same report how environmentally sustainable development and technical and vocational education complement each other are explained as:
“TVET goes beyond promoting skills development for employability. It empowers young people and adults to develop skills for work and life. Green TVET therefore means more than developing technical skills for green employment (such as eco-tourism, renewable energy and recycling). It also means developing ‘soft’ green skills. There are thus considerable overlaps between ESD and Green TVET. Like ESD, Green TVET can include education for enhancing problem-solving skills in everyday situations (life skills education), education for sustainable consumption and lifestyles, and entrepreneurial learning. Green TVET ensures that all workers are able to play appropriate roles, both in the workplace and the broader community, by contributing to environmental, economic and social sustainability. ESD is at the core of green skills and provides a framework to reorient education and training at all levels towards sustainability”.
The roadmap for greening TVET necessitates the inclusion of subjects related with sustainability and thus revision of the existing curricula promoting the use of cleaner energies, waste management, green technologies, developing skills to cope with new technologies, promoting entrepreneurship and innovative way of thinking, matching theory and practice through work based learning/apprenticeship, emphasizing the needs of the sector.