Challenges of Introducing Sustainability in Curricula of the Built Environment Courses in Developing Countries
Evidence from Tanzania
Comprehensive sustainability education is paramount for success in the adoption of sustainable practices in the built environment. It is however a fact that sustainability education is generally accorded marginal importance in the curricula of higher learning institutions in the developing countries. Drawing evidence from Tanzania, this study looks at the challenges of introducing sustainability aspects in the curricula of the built environment courses offered by higher learning institutions. The study entailed a critical review of curricula of the various higher learning institutions offering courses in the built environment discipline. In addition, a questionnaire was administered to some researchers and heads of selected academic units of the higher learning institutions. The findings reveal that, sustainability education in Tanzania is more popular with courses related to natural resource management and agriculture, rather than those related to the built environment. There are no higher learning institutions which offer courses with comprehensive treatment of sustainability aspects in buildings. With the present curricula, it is clear that students in the built environment courses complete their studies without the necessary knowledge of sustainability. Lack of commanding knowledge and skills on contemporary sustainability aspects in buildings amongst academicians, lack of reading and teaching materials, bureaucratic curricula review process, misconceptions of sustainability concepts and budgetary constraints are some of the main reasons noted to be posing a challenge in incorporating sustainability in the built environment courses curricula. Lack of coordination between experts in different components of sustainability between and within institutions is another main reason for not incorporating sustainability in the curricula. Identification of the key aspects to be included in the curricula which fit the Tanzanian settings and which emanate from within and across disciplines is a prerequisite to the success of education for sustainability in the built environment.