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Education for Sustainability in Western Australian Secondary Schools: Are We Doing It?

  • Kelsie Prabawa-Sear (a1) and Vanessa Dow (a1)

This research was commissioned by the (then) Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) to provide recommendations on how to best support Western Australian (WA) secondary schools to engage in education for sustainability (EfS). The research aims were to identify barriers and benefits to being involved in EfS, the support systems required for schools to participate in EfS at secondary school level, and the difficulties that secondary schools experience when implementing EfS programs. A variety of research methods were utilised: semi-structured interviews with non-teaching stakeholders; online questionnaires for teachers, school administrators and students; focus groups and semi-structured interviews with teachers and school administrators; and an expert panel workshop to discuss data and recommendations prior to completion of a final report. Data were collected from 29 schools, 45 teachers and school administrators, 186 students, and various EfS external providers and stakeholders across metropolitan and regional WA. This article focuses on three issues identified in the data that we consider important and under-represented in discourses of EfS in Australia: lack of understanding about what EfS means among educators; lack of meaningful student involvement in EfS in secondary schools; and differing quality in EfS programs offered by external providers. We conclude this article by offering ways to improve EfS in WA secondary schools.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Kelsie Prabawa-Sear, 106 Forrest Road, Padbury WA 6025, Australia. Email:
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Australian Journal of Environmental Education
  • ISSN: 0814-0626
  • EISSN: 2049-775X
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