| || || Education, Primary -- Fiji|
| || || An exploratory study : challenges in achieving quality basic primary education in Fiji|
Author: Chand, Rishi.
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Subject: Education, Primary -- Fiji, Education, Elementary -- Fiji
Call No.: Pac LA 2270 .F5 C45 2011
Copyright:20-40% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: To date, education was only seen as a fundamental human right. However, due to rapidly changing national, regional and international challenges, it has also become a vital human need(UNESCO, 2008). This in turn, calls for quality educational provision at all levels starting fromearly childhood. Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report by UNESCO (2006)cautioned that a child denied the right to quality primary education is deprived not only as a childbut also becomes handicapped for life. This is true as education builds on human capabilities. Itlays the platform for life-long learning, development of personality, character and talents and fora prosperous life (Bruns, Mingat & Rakotomalala, 2003).This research explored the challenges towards providing quality basic education in Fiji. For thepurpose of the research, a rural and an urban primary school were used as case study schools. Aqualitative research methodology was considered suitable for the study. Data gatheringinstruments involved open-ended questionnaires, informal interviews and non-participantobservation to search for answers relating to the following research themes: 1. ‘Education for All’ in the Fijian Context; 2. The over-arching challenges to achieving quality basic education; and 3. Strategies for overcoming these challenges. The research respondents were two Headteachers, two managers (1 from each school), six teachers (3 from each school), twelve students and parents (6 from each school). The data wereanalyzed using thematic analysis.The first theme on EFA in Fiji depicted the stark reality. The participants at school and community level had no knowledge of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and theunderlying Education for All (EFA) concepts, which emphasize quality education at all levels.The Ministry of Education places a lot of emphasis on quality basic education and has also formulated policies, as discussed in Section 2.4, to promote quality basic education in all primary schools. However, the lack of awareness of these by the participants has hindered their efforts in promoting quality education. The second theme identified the following challenges that impeded the quality of education delivered in the case study schools. These were: • Pedagogical challenges; • Institutional challenges; • Human Resource challenges; • Financial challenges; • Social challenges; and • Technical Resource challenges. The results indicated that Pedagogical and Human Resource challenges had direct impact on the quality of education delivery, while the others indirectly influenced the quality of teaching and learning taking place in the case study schools. Based on these findings, this study reveals that attaining equity and access to quality basic education in the case study schools still remains a distant dream. The final theme on possible strategies to overcome these challenges suggested a number of simple and practical ways such as: • having visionary leaders at all levels of governance; • inclusiveness and equity and, thus, the need for scaling up and targeting of hard-to-reach, disadvantaged groups; • focusing on results and outcomes by calling for a steady attention to quality and support to education delivery levels in schools and classrooms as much as possible; • sustainability of schools through self-help income-generating projects; • schools to get into corporate involvement with businesses and other communities; and • having stronger social network between schools, parents, community and the Ministry of Education (MoE). Finally, while this research tried to understudy a rural and an urban primary school, it is further recommended that extensive and indepth research on the impact of the challenges emerging from this study is further investigated on a wider scale throughout Fiji. This study provides a foundation for further investigation on each of the EFA goals and contributes to the local literature. It will also provide relevant stakeholders with empirical evidence on the progress and drawbacks towards attaining EFA goals in Fiji. Based on these findings, appropriate measures can be put in place, at least, to get a step closer to achieving quality basic education.