HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 23RD INTER-UNIVERSITY SEMINAR ON SUSTAINABLE TOURISM
The 17 Sustainable Development goals by the United Nations (UN), are an urgent call for action by all countries, to build a better place, for people and planet by 2030. SDG 4 calls for all of us to Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education, and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Is current training in tourism in Kenya at the University & colleges aligned to this call? Students, Lectures and private sector tourism businesses held this discussion at the 23rd Inter University Seminar at Amboseli Institute.
Access to quality education and training is important, but what is more important is the relevance of the knowledge and skills being taught. What is relevant now is how to achieve sustainable development. Learning should not be linked only to economic returns. Quality education should be holistic, and aim to address challenges faced by our society. Problems faced by society today are educational problems in disguise. It is time to learn how to survive in a civilization threatened by ecosystem collapse, rising sea levels, armed conflict, and other developmental challenges. As a learner you exist in a society, and through quality learning you can impact other SDGs.
What will make an institution provide quality education?
An institution needs to have adequate infrastructure to facilitate and support every learners needs. Infrastructure that supports learning should be accessible. Learning institutions can be SDG 4 compliant if they are equipped with relevant material and equipment, and offer conducive learning environment. Managing time is part of quality training. Evaluation of quality education should focus on five thematic areas;
1. SDG awareness: SDG awareness for the average Kenyan graduate is 45%, way below the global average at 54%. This will affect our ability as a country to achieve sustainable development. The narrative can be changed if training adapts.
2. Skilled work force: Having skilled work force is important for a sector that is labour intensive. Skilled workforce is a factor considered when measuring competitiveness of a destination, because it affects quality of planning, management and service delivery in tourism. Having a skilled workforce is dependent on access to quality education and training.
3. Capacity building: This is about building abilities, relationships and values that will enable organizations, groups and individuals, to improve their performance and achieve their development objectives. Quality education is situational, and it must build capacity for learners to adapt. According to UNWTO, capacity building in tourism through training is aimed at improving capacities of government officials and local community members to develop, manage and promote tourism.
4. Innovation: Quality education and training is a catalyst for innovation. We need more innovation in tourism to create more and better jobs, and also deliver bigger positive impacts to people and planet. Access to quality education increases the ability of host communities to become more aware of their environment, adapt better to change, and efficiently utilize their resources for prosperity. Access to quality education and training can change mindsets. Changed mindsets are ready to demand for inclusivity.
5. Youth empowerment: More youth have to be engaged in programs for sustainable tourism development.
Quality education and training is about partnerships and collaborations. Quality education is complemented by quality internships. Tourism industry needs to play its role in developing skills, by providing meaningful internships to learners. Learners need to be keen on developing the following skills, which are much appreciated by employers;
- emotional intelligence,
- Communication skills.
Learners should be trained to be responsible agents for change, a change geared towards sustainable development.
Let’s Go Travel Uniglobe
Students and Faculty from Amboseli Institute of Hospitality and Tourism
Universities in Attendance
University of Nairobi
Technical University of Kenya
Total number of Students in attendance: 144