How Might Traditional Cultural Knowledge Contribute to Sustainable Education? A Nepalese Case Study

  • Meyrav Mor

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Abstract The research explores the contributions traditional cultural knowledge (TCK) can offer to sustainable education (SE). Education has been identified by the World Commission on Environment and Development (UN, 1987) as key to addressing sustainability issues. Agenda 21 (UN, 1992) stresses integrating sustainable TCK practices in education. However, the pedagogies on offer so far have not yielded the necessary shifts towards sustainable lifestyles. Sterling (2001), in his SE theory suggests transformative education which leads to changing consciousness; a necessary requirement for moving towards embracing sustainable lifestyles. Sterling, (2001) suggests that holistic education, such Steiner’s education, has SE components as Steiner developed an extensive education approach to develop heightened consciousness. In this research I examine, through an ethnographic study carried out in Nepal, how TCK might contribute to SE through linkages to Steiner’s theory and practice of education. This study confirms that many TCK values and practices can benefit SE, for many aspects of traditional cultures ways of life are sustainable and can be incorporated in SE. In examining the literature and confirming it with this research study of Bahing culture I observed that many traditional cultures live sustainably; they provide their children with a natural childhood; educate their children by being a role model; and they have a welfare system that supports those in need without having to rely on external agencies such as governments. Also traditional people tend to be physically and emotionally resilient. Their spiritual practice is usually unbroken, which helps in maintaining and nourishing individuals and their community. Their worldview is holistic; interdependency and interconnectedness is normally the outlook which contributes to strengthening communities and their relationship with their natural environment. Furthermore, through the process of this research it becomes evident that the unique Steiner Waldorf Education (SWE) approach enables to capture TCK’s richness and spiritual essence in the course of integrating TCK into an education practice.
Date of Award12 Nov 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorSteve Gough (Supervisor)

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