Scholarly Technical Education Publication Series (STEPS) Vol. 1

Gearing an Institution Towards the Green TVET Initiative: The CPSC Experience


    Dr. Renato Sorolla*
    Carlos Hilado Memorial State College (CHMSC), Philippines
    [email protected]

    Engr. Md. Jahangir Alam*
    Assistant Professor
    Technical Teachers’ Training College (TTTC), Dhaka, Bangladesh
    [email protected]

    Ms. Kenneth Barrientos*
    Program Assistant - ICT in Education
    UNESCO Office in Bangkok, Thailand
    [email protected]

    Mr. Rae Emmanuel Echaveria
    Research Assistant
    Colombo Plan Staff College for Technician Education (CPSC)
    [email protected]


Climate change is a global phenomenon and every sector is increasingly affected by it. It is generally caused by carbon-intensive world economic development and in turn, creates adverse impact on sustainable development due to increased climate risks.

This article seeks to present discourse on the CPSC advocacy of Greening TVET and transforming this advocacy into actual implementation of green and clean technology. It further seeks to present how the green and clean concept be integrated in the different aspects of operating Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions. It will further discuss the existing practices and future directions of implementing Green CPSC.

The suggested CPSC framework for Greening TVET has been built upon the five dimensions anchored on sustainable development principles. The five dimensions are Green Campus for effective management of resources, Green Technology Program for green and clean jobs, Green Community for extending sustainable development practices, and Green Research to foster development and promote Green Culture.

Keywords: sustainable development, green TVET institution


The Colombo Plan Staff College for Technician Education (CPSC), an intergovernmental international organization of 17 member countries in the AsiaPacific region explores a potential model for promoting sustainable development in TVET institutions.

CPSC has adopted a philosophy that cuts across asserting its institutional responsibility to serve as a hub of best practices in TVET and at the same time, facilitates a positive change within the organization as its contribution to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emission. These tasks form part of an integrated idea for Greening TVET which basically enhances the drive of institutions engaged in delivering TVET to rethink and revisit existing systems in the context of sustainable development that is now being espoused as a serious agenda that needs an urgent attention.

The ultimate objective is to come up with practical models that adopt climatefriendly operations and facilitate adaptation of pedagogical approaches that are oriented to environmental sustainability. The CPSC sees this as an opportunity to set new directions to enhance its response to the needs of the future generation using education and training as an effective platform.

TVET and Sustainable Development

On environmental and pollution issues, TVET has a significant role to play in planning for sustainable development. A Green TVET approach to sustainable development can be pursued by institutions in partnership with policy enablers, industries and stakeholders with clear cut policy of green and clean directions (Sustainable Campus Information Center, 2006).

Greening TVET has a crucial role to play in the new knowledge era. Its role can focus on the development of new generation of individuals who could face the challenges for sustainable development-linking economic growth, social development and environmental protection which should be addressed in a holistic manner.

Integrating Sustainability to TVET

In the past it was observed that carbon-intensive world economic development put the fragile life on earth in constant climate risks. In the near future it is predicted that climate change could affect many countries to go underwater, experience extreme droughts as the number of climate refugees increases around the world. In effect of this climate change phenomenon, rainforests are threatened, disease is exacerbated, and it hardly hit on the poor populations worldwide. Climate change adaption and using of technology that will reduce global warming are crucial for sustainable development (Alam, 2010).

Technology is a double-edged sword. It is both a cause of many environmental problems and a key to solving them (Stolte, 2011). Mankind has to realize that technology advancement has depreciated habitability of the earth when it does not consider its impact on the well-being of the earth. It is now without doubt that technologies should be “green and clean”. With rising energy costs, climate change and the threat of global warming and energy crisis, the society is now recognizing the benefits of using green and clean technology to reduce carbon footprint, minimize waste and recycling, harness solar energy from sun, wind power from wind, bio-fuel from bio-plant & biomass, geothermal energy from the earth, small hydro power from water current, rain water harvesting etc which are never exhausted in the universe. Thus, the field of green and clean technology encompasses a continuously evolving group of methods, researches and materials, from techniques for generating energy to environmentally responsible disposal of waste.

The term sustainability is used to describe how the needs of the present are met without compromising the future generations. TVET programs can be integrated as part and parcel of the effort for sustainability with reference to three principal aspects of development (UNESCO-UNEVOC, 2006).

  • Economically Sustainable Development – TVET must be able to produce goods and services on a continuing basis and at the same time avoid sector’s imbalances such as the production between agricultural and industrial sectors.
  • Environmentally Sustainable Development – TVET must maintain a stable resource base and avoid excessive utilization of non-renewable resource systems and encouraging the use of renewable resources by applying the green and clean technology.
  • Socially Sustainable Development –TVET must provide equal distribution of social services including health and education, gender equity, as well as political accountability and participation to promote active citizenship.

Values, attitudes, policies and practices of TVET should be anchored to the direction of promoting sustainable practices for the benefit of future stakeholders. Sustainability concepts mentioned above can be integrated into the daily operations of TVET institutions and agencies to further enhance their effectiveness while giving utmost consideration to its impact on social, operational and environmental aspects.

Focus for Green TVET: the Green CPSC Movement

Having found the close links of TVET and sustainable development and understood the discourse on where TVET sector stands in the process of inculcating skills, knowledge, philosophy and culture to create environmentally- conforming workforce, CPSC is adopting a framework that emphasizes the vital role it plays in extending the advocacy not only to the learning groups, but also to the communities that make up a system, with a potential to create a multiplier effect. CPSC further identifies four major phases of the Greening CPSC movement, namely:

  • Phase 1 - Getting acquainted with the Green CPSC Philosophy;
  • Phase 2 - Getting involved in the Green CPSC drive;
  • Phase 3 - Infusing Green CPSC; and
  • Phase 4 - Transforming lives through Green CPSC movement

CPSC embarked on this green initiative with a clear Green Philosophy stating that:

“CPSC shall position itself to be a well-spring of knowledge and best practices with the ability to promote sustainable practices and principles in the field of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). Towards this end, CPSC champions the cause of integrating sustainable and ‘green’ principles in CPSC policies, practices and program offerings, in every possible opportunity.”

The project has the following objectives:

  1. Promote the highest objectives of mitigation and adaptation to climate change;
  2. Implement practices and lifestyle oriented to sustainable development at institutional level within the CPSC community;
  3. Increase awareness and deepen understanding among all staff and clientele of the inherent responsibilities in and benefits of energy conservation, waste management and reduction and resource management;
  4. Explore new ideas and sustainable creative solutions in making CPSC’s dayto-day operations aligned with sustainable practices; and
  5. Achieve a sustainable TVET model and green education program.

The Greening CPSC is an initiative of the College started during the second year of implementation of the CPSC Corporate Plan. The project is anchored on the 2018 shared vision of CPSC which states that CPSC should be a “The lead HRD intergovernmental organization for sustainable TVET that is inclusive, responsive and innovative to address global change”.

Figure 1: Four Phases of Greening CPSC Movement for SD (Majumdar, 2010)

In the initial stage of implementation, CPSC adopted a communitywide philosophy and commitment to start a process that best situates CPSC as an exemplar of best practices in integrating Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and thereby practice what it preaches. All members of the CPSC community pledged its commitment for greening TVET. Developing ownership for such project undertaking was effectively done through massive consultation discussions, insight building and cross-sharing of green practices. Project identification using a bottom-up approach is part of CPSC’s way of initiating greening TVET.

A demonstration of commitment to the movement was exhibited by the CPSC staff on the agreement signed by all CPSC faculty and staff on July 9, 2010. This agreement emphasizes the commitment of CPSC in the establishment of the Green CPSC movement and adherence towards the green CPSC movement.

The staff affixed their signatures on the binding agreement to implement and uphold the CPSC Green Movement which served as a role model for TVET institutions in the region. As such, it also laid out the frameworks and requirements for greening CPSC, as discussed in the succeeding sections.

Dimensions of Greening CPSC Framework

Greening TVET is considered as an ideal approach for sustainable and lowcarbon world among TVET institutions. CPSC identified five dimensions to anchor sustainable development principles among TVET institutions. These are Green Campus; Green Technology Program; Green Community; Green Research and Green Culture.

  • Green Campus –based on the philosophy of practicing what is being preached in managing campus resources such as energy, water and waste resources. This dimension intends to reduce the carbon footprint of students, teachers and staff within the TVET institutions.
  • Green Technology - to meet upcoming skills for clean and green jobs. The third dimension has a major consideration on the need to build a green community
  • Green Community- to extend sustainable development practice at the community level so that the movement of TVET institutions is extended to the society at large.
  • Green Research- to foster the development of a research culture in relevant areas of sustainable development.
  • Green Culture- is intended to focus on strengthening values education, ethical standards, attitudes and behavior that respects ecological resources and values the future requirements of the future generation.

CPSC believes that a vibrant integration of sustainability into TVET is most effective having both enablers and drivers working in synergy. Institutional value statements, penetration of sustainability principles in administrative and pedagogical systems, community involvement, participation and ownership lead to clear educational content restructuring and transition to a sustainable world.

CPSC as a Green TVET Campus

The concept of a Green TVET campus is anchored on the premise that the issue of sustainable development can be effectively integrated in the existing operational systems of TVET institutions. Various aspects of the improvement of its operation may include: (1) effective management of energy resources, (2) management of water resources, (3) waste management and (4) pollution control. Lessons learned from these experiences can be shared to partner industries and TVET institutions especially in developing tools such that institutions may be familiar with calculating their own carbon emissions, energy consumption, resource use and generation to be in a better position to harness its own initiatives to address environmental issues and concerns.

A sustainable campus program, as explained by a US-based information resource center addresses the need for improving economic efficiency, protecting and restoring ecological systems and enhancing the well-being of its people.

Three projects has been initiated addressing critical areas in CPSC’s day-to-day operations under the second phase which is the – Establishment of a Green Campus. The following are small projects under this phase:

  • Energy- Saving Project - energy-saving practices that combine mitigation and adaptation approaches to climate change;
  • Green Dining Project – sustainable waste-disposal, food procurement, dining and facility practices are envisaged to serve as enabler of sustainable consumption and waste reduction;
  • Green for Gold - conscious effort to apply 5R principles and purchase products and services that are cost-effective and with less harmful effect on the environment.

Goals of a Green Campus

As it has been initiated last July 2010, based on the analysis of the College's first green accounts, the CPSC personnel commit to work towards the following goals of creating a Green Campus and thereby become a more sustainable organization:

  • The CPSC personnel commit to help reduce energy consumption level per man year of all faculty and staff;
  • The CPSC personnel to help reduce CO2 emissions from energy consumption to a lower level per man year of all faculty and staff;
  • CPSC will develop green guidelines for physical planning and will account for the sustainability of all physical plans and projects;
  • CPSC will communicate initiatives and experiences to the partner institutions; and
  • CPSC will participate in networks and enter into cooperation agreements with partner institutions that can inspire and contribute to the College's realization of higher goals set for Green Campus.

The Green Campus project will strengthen its focus over the next few years. Developing new goals is always important in an evolving TVET institution.

CPSC Green Technology Program

CPSC embarks on integrating green principles to the courses offered as part of the academic component of promoting green TVET. The establishment of an innovative Green TVET laboratory is in the pipeline with the aim to provide a demonstration facility of advanced technologies oriented to sustainable development. The incorporation of sustainability in TVET curriculum, courses and activities would be served by making available an interactive and informative facility that can create a training ecosystem and learning environment that adheres to sustainability.

This project also aims to promote opportunities and synergy between TVET institutions and industries on the innovations of products.

CPSC Green Research Initiative

Researches for green initiatives and innovation will become part of future research undertaking of CPSC. Research outputs will be complied and published to serve as reference guide for those with similar interest in TVET sector. Research on the integration of sustainable development to TVET and research on development of curriculum using infusion and diffusion models and establish a prototype model that can be institutionalized as part of CPSC’s academic offering.

Other possible green researches for TVET institutions can be focused on:

  • Improvement of the climate screen-research can be done by improving the existing buildings through better insulation, replacement of windows, securing windows that tightly close, etc.;
  • Energy smart installations-research on energy smart installation can be done on the improvements of building and facilities thru installations of efficient ventilation, lighting-systems resulting to savings in energy consumption;
  • Energy efficient operation- research that may lead to improvement of ventilation and lighting especially on mechanism to be efficient when in use, and should reduce capacity or turn off completely when no longer in use;
  • . Energy smart conduct-research to improve energy smart conduct of personnel like the simple gestures of closing all windows and turning off lights, equipment, and facilities when leaving a room can also be a good idea to determine the green culture.

CPSC Green Community Program

CPSC advocates green education and thru outreach programs, community of practices allow an open interaction and exchange of ideas, concepts and practices for sustaining a green movement. Initial activities have been focused on the facilitation of regular meetings for awareness, exchanges and green campaign as part of building CPSC’s green team. Outreach activities will be identified in the next phase.

CPSC Green Culture

The CPSC’s Greening TVET project will take advantage of the College’s role to “practice what it preaches” in inculcating green lifestyle. It will seek to educate and build the capacity of others on various ways and approaches to use resources wisely and preserve the environment dutifully, in the most cost-effective manner.

The College will give special attention in ensuring rationalized decreasing energy consumption and the CO2 emissions in its day-to-day operations. The parameters for sustainability must be one of the central considerations to promote efficiency, economy and quality in deciding all vital issues in the College. Inculcating the value for the use of green and clean technology can ensure that sustainability principles are more frequently considered and valued by the personnel and clients of the College.


Now on its third year, the CPSC Green Program is already set to be on its fourth phase of implementation. Some of the landmark initiatives done by CPSC are the following:

Phase Two: Getting Involved

CPSC has done the following alignments in its internal operations to the green TVET direction. This is to set an example to other institutions in internalizing the ways to build a green Corporate Culture.

a. Establishment of the Green CPSC Policy and Building Awareness

To solidify the green CPSC commitment among all its staff members, CPSC mandated all faculty and staff to participate in an awareness seminar and campaign on July 9, 2010. The staff laid their signatures pledging to adhere to the CPSC Green Policy, followed by the planting of the santol tree (Sandoricum koetjape) symbolizing resilience in weathering challenges and commitment towards the green philosophy.

b. Alignment of Internal Operations to the Green Advocacy

Taking the Green Advocacy to the next level, the College revamped some of its daily operations to make it more environmentally friendly. Some of these are indicated below.

c. Segregation of Wastes

Segregation of ordinary office wastes by its type (nonbiodegradable or biodegradable) will make waste collection more efficient. For its part, CPSC has created prominent signs on its garbage cans to encourage the staff to properly differentiate their office wastes. These will then go to the correct way of disposal.

Those materials placed in the trash can labelled “non-biodegradable” will be further sorted to separate the recyclable from the non-recyclable. The recyclable materials such as newspapers, glass bottles, aluminum cans and discarded metal parts from vehicle repairs are sent to junkshops and recycling facilities, giving approximately P3,000-P8,000 additional revenue per month to the College.

This demonstrates that an institution can effectively utilize waste materials into an activity that can generate additional income. This activity also helped CPSC reduce the wastes going to dumpsites, thereby reducing the overall impact of CPSC in polluting the environment.

d. Green Dining: Composting Kitchen and Biodegradable Wastes

CPSC maintains a kitchen where the staff takes their lunch, and the wastes it generates comprise a significant portion of CPSC’s trash. In order to reduce the portion of biodegradable wastes, the College practiced biodegradable composting.

Composting provided the College with two benefits. First, it reduced the amount of biodegradable wastes generated by the kitchen and second, it provided CPSC with a healthy soil for the College’s garden.

e. Paper Recycling

As estimated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (2008), paper generates as much as 90 percent of all total office wastes. A green institution must be able to tackle the problem of paper wastes effectively in order to be effective in its campaign.

CPSC, on its part, implemented a policy of double-sided printing of all its nonofficial documents and drafts. It also sold high quality used bond paper and newspaper to recycling centers. The sale of these materials contributed to CPSC’s coffers and at the same time encouraged the staff to use paper efficiently.

CPSC is also gearing towards the implementation of a paperless CPSC by putting its internal forms in Google Drive and making these forms available online. As of date, CPSC has already completed the process of converting all its forms (e.g. transportation requests, leave forms, job request forms). This enabled the staff to utilize online resources efficiently without having to resort to paper.

To effectively utilize discarded paper products, CPSC tapped the help of a local company to convert them into other useful office products. These are given to visiting guests as corporate souvenirs and gifts, as well as to the staff to aid their daily tasks.

f. No Aircon Fridays and Regulated Aircon Hours

Aircon usage comprised around 50-80% of the total electricity consumption in an office. To rationalize its usage, the aircon is turned on only at specified office hours and turned off whenever it is operated on the off-peak hours.

CPSC strictly implements this policy during Fridays on cool months (August to February) to further cut back on electricity consumption. Computed trends show that these policies reduced electricity consumption (as measured by kilowatt hours) by as much as 20%, generating savings that can be used to fund other development initiatives.

g. Preference on Digital Displays instead of Tarpaulins

The use of tarpaulins when welcoming special guests in the College requires the use of non-biodegradable and non-recyclable materials, thereby contributing to the wastes generated. To provide sustainable solutions to the problem, CPSC has opted to install digital display monitors to replace tarpaulin displays whenever it welcomes guests to its office.

The use of digital display monitors saves the office approximately P5,000 for every tarpaulin display. Also, digital displays can be changed accordingly, thereby giving more space for flexibility without entailing additional costs. It also reduced the non-recyclable items generated by the College, thus helping the office reduce its waste output.

Phase Three: Infusing Green

a. Alignment of Services to Clients

The Green TVET advocacy of CPSC will not be complete without the in-country and regional programs aligned towards the propagation of Green TVET practices. These are shown in Table 1.

In its line-up of four Customized Programs benefitting the Korean students from the Korea University of Technology (KUT) from 2011-2013, all of them have included the topic on solar and other renewable energy sources as presented by the CPSC Faculty and Staff. Overall, these Customized Programs have benefited 73 KUT Students.

Table 1: Green TVET Programs Conducted by CPSC

For the past three years of implementation, CPSC has gathered a total of 171 participants from all the member countries to subscribe in its line-up of activities geared towards the promotion of green TVET and sustainable TVET practices. These numbers are also the reflection of CPSC’s commitment to pursue a more economically and environmentally viable approach towards the improvement of the nation’s workforce by employing practices that are both environment and future -friendly

b. Facilitating Internal Monitoring and Evaluation

One of the requirements of the CPSC Green Advocacy is to ensure that the policies implemented are well-understood and accepted by all the CPSC employees. A survey was conducted to gauge the effectiveness of this advocacy as evaluated by the staff. To facilitate understanding, the ratings are interpreted according to the standards as shown in Table 2:

Table 2: Parameters to Measure the Effectiveness of the CPSC Green Initiative

The survey solicited the responses of all the CPSC staff representing all divisions (Office of the Director General, General Services, Research and Publication, Training, Projects and ICT). The results of the survey are elaborated in the table below:

Table 3: Effectiveness of the Green CPSC Initiative

As shown from the data in the table above, CPSC has been very effective in its enforcement of the CPSC Green Advocacy as perceived by its staff. The strongest point of its implementation is CPSC’s effectiveness in turning its kitchen wastes into compost. This is supported by a healthy garden constantly maintained by CPSC using the soil made from its own compost.

The weak aspect of the Green CPSC Advocacy is the internal enforcement among the staff. In this case, CPSC has to revisit the guidelines on how the CPSC Green Advocacy is implemented and improve its monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to address this problem.

The feedback from the CPSC staff demonstrates the sustainable and viable impact of turning a green institution into a realizable project. The high ratings also demonstrates the commitment of the staff in upholding the corporate values instilled by the organization, and it also shows that these concepts are wellreceived and are practiced with utmost understanding.

Phase Four: Transforming Lives

Provided that all the systems on monitoring and evaluation, and the internal alignment of operations were already in place, CPSC deems that it is their responsibility to spread this culture to other institution in the hopes of making this advocacy a stunning testament of TVET’s commitment towards a sustainable future.

a. Greening Carlos Hilado Memorial State College (CHMSC)

The green CPSC advocacy has found support with an institution in the Philippines, which patterned its Green Institution initiative with the one currently implemented in CPSC.

The Carlos Hilado Memorial State College (CHMSC) is an arts and trades school located in Talisay City, Negros Occidental Provice in the Philippines. CHMSC was founded on July 1, 1954 originally known as the Negros Occidental School of Arts and Trades. CHMSC aims for Excellence, Competence, and Educational Leadership in Science and Technology. It has four campuses with specific fields of expertise and remains steadfast to uphold its mandate by providing higher technological, professional, and vocational instruction and training in science, agricultural and industrial fields. The institution was headed by Dr. Renato Sorolla, a former CPSC faculty member.

Dr. Mohammad Naim Yaakub, the current CPSC Director General, stressed in his speech the need for better education that fosters the knowledge, skills and attitudes to shape a future in line with the demands of sustainable development. To achieve this, he proposed three solutions; first is to integrate sustainable development into the curricula; second is to initiate green research; and lastly, prepare CHMSC and convert it into a green campus. The Green CHMSI Movement was the testament of the CPSC’s effort in spreading the need towards a more sustainable and environment-friendly campus to other TVET institutions in the region.

b. Spreading the Need for a Sustainable TVET to all the CPSC Member Countries

An International Seminar themed "Current Practices and Emerging Issues of Sustainable Development in TVET” was jointly organized by the Colombo Plan Staff College for Technician Education (CPSC) and the National Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training and Research (NITTTR), Chandigarh on May 31, 2013 at NITTTR Chandigarh. A total of 81 international participants attended the program. The participants came from countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Fiji, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, and Sri Lanka

The landmark achievement of this program is the adoption of the 12-point recommendations in making TVET more responsive to the demands of a more sustainable future. These major recommendations highlighted the following key points such as: furthering the cause of sustainable development (SD) in terms of social, economic and environment through international and regional cooperation; integration of SD concepts and practices in TVET curriculum operations and processes within TVET systems; SD implementation awareness through training of teachers and policy makers; strengthening TVET-industry linkages on sustainable development; SD advocacy through skill development policies; green campus promotion; skilled manpower training on SD concepts, practices with social entrepreneurship development initiatives; technology innovation for SD integrated with awareness on ecological balance, environment, social equity and safety standards; research and development on SD; SD advocacy for lifelong learning; and stronger integration of SD aspects into TVET teachers’ education through innovative approaches.


Up-skilling the workforce according to the patterns of environmental changes that are taking place allows for opportunities to up-scale the level of responsiveness by those within the system. The experiences shared by CPSC is but a practical approach that may inspire to launch a few steps, small as they may be, in making TVET focus on most urgent requirements under its purview. Education for Sustainable Development strengthens the paradigm that TVET must work upon (NCVER, 2007), hinting that it can never remain stagnant, defocused and unresponsive when the changes that are taking place today urgently require direct implementation of skills training that changes not only hand and head skills, but also sharpen the habits and the culture to live and work within sustainable development principles.

Engagement and collaboration, with both internal and external partners are the strategic cornerstones of the CPSC work to achieve the Greening TVET concept. The close partnership with other international TVET institutions and industries in the Asia-Pacific region could pave the way for thinking up ways and evolving models that can be adapted by institutions, for creating tremendous impact to institute a green culture and for effectively contributing to the reduction of CO2 in the region while in the process of building the capacity of the workforce for the new and emerging jobs dictated by the climate change patterns.


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* Authors are formerly CPSC Faculty/Staf