University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 5378-5385
ISBN: 978-84-09-24232-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2020.1169
Conference name: 13th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 9-10 November, 2020
Location: Online Conference
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development established by the United Nations and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) present a set of challenges that ought to be considered by educators. Outstandingly, SDG4 advocates inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all [1] [2], which is transversal to all education modalities, including Vocational Education and Training (VET). Considering that VET is an educational pathway tailored to professional integration in the labour market, it has an important role in the economy and employability [3]. The acknowledged lower economic profiles of VET students compared to regular education modalities [4] is also a social concern. These facts may indicate that other SDG should be regarded as particularly relevant to VET, including SDG8, which urges the promotion of sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth [1], and particularly SDG10, which focus on reducing inequality, namely within countries [1].

This article aims to further elaborate on this relevant topic by presenting a qualitative study conducted in Portugal in 2020 with former VET students and with VET teachers. The objective was for participants to provide their views, experiences, and opinions on the inclusiveness and quality of VET education at the secondary level and how it may contribute to students’ lifelong opportunities, employability, and social inequality reduction. Various perspectives were offered, including divergent views between teachers and students. Topics such as equity, stigma, social status, employability and empowerment [5] [6] towards professional recognition, namely deriving from continuing studies at a higher level, were also discussed. Overall, this study provides valuable insights on the possible roles of VET in what concerns the 2030 Agenda, demonstrating that this topic deserves urgent attention from researchers.

[1] UNESCO, Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 70/1, Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015,, 2015
[2] P. J.Comyn, “Skills, employability and lifelong learning in the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 labour market”, International Journal of Training Research, vol.16, no. 3, pp. 200–217, 2018
[3] E. Boeren, “Understanding Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on “quality education” from micro, meso and macro perspectives”, International Review of Education, vol. 65, no. 2, pp. 277–294, 2019.
[4] A. Traqueia, S. Nogueira, B. Barbosa, F. Costa, G.P. Dias, S. Filipe, A. Melo, C. Rodrigues and C.A. Santos, “Vocational Education and Training vs. General Education: The influence of the socioeconomic context on student’s choices”, Proceedings of INTED2020 - International Technology, Education and Development Conference, Valencia, Spain, March 2nd-4th, ISBN: 978-84-09-17939-8, pp. 8450-8455, 2020.
[5] A. Carr, K. Balasubramanian, R. Atieno and J. Onyango, “Lifelong learning to empowerment: beyond formal education”, Distance Education, vol.39, no. 1, pp. 69–86, 2018.
[6] D. F. Frey and G. MacNaughton, “A Human Rights Lens on Full Employment and Decent Work in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda”. SAGE Open, vol.6, no. 2, 2016
VET, Sustainable Development Goals, 2030 Agenda, employability, inequality.