(L-R) Book Editors Dr Mesake Rawaikela Dakuidreketi and Associate Professor Govinda Lingam with Deputy Vice-Chancellor Learning & Teaching Professor John Bythell and Professor Konai Helu Thaman during the launch of the book.
A new book titled “Higher Education and Community Engagement in the Pacific: Development and Policy Issues” was launched at The University of the South Pacific’s Laucala Campus on 29 September.
Thirteen academics contributed to the content of the book which was edited by Dr Mesake Rawaikela Dakuidreketi and Associate Professor Govinda Lingam.
The publication presents a series of cases and perspectives to illustrate areas where higher education institutions could do more to accelerate development of the Small Island Developing States in the Pacific.
The chapters from the contributors highlight diverse efforts emerging from within the Pacific higher education sector, bringing new voices into scholarly discussions about development, policy issues and strategic change in the education arena.
The contributors also seek to extract lessons to uncover critical factors for success and to understand the implications for change within higher education in the Pacific.
“We are now moving from face-face to online and blended mode education. However, there are still issues with people who stay in rural areas such as the problem of internet connection so how will they learn the subjects which are taught online,” Dr Dakuidreketi said.
He said through this book they aimed to highlight issues faced in the higher education sector in the South Pacific.
“We have been teaching for a long time now and majority of the issues highlighted in the book is what we have experienced in class,” he said.
Dr Dakuidreketi has been teaching at USP for 14 years.
Meanwhile Associate Prof Lingam said they have also highlighted ways in which higher education institution can respond to the challenges and pressures from the stakeholders in this rapidly changing landscape.
“I am emphasising that if we build the capacity of local researches then we will not have to worry about getting the information. I am also talking about the importance of action research,” Associate Prof Lingam said.
He said focusing on action research can help people solve their day to day problems.
According to him there is also a need to further equip teachers so that they can fit well in the classroom environment.
“Teacher training programmes need to be better connected to the world of work because changes keep happening in the teaching field,” he said.
In launching the book Deputy Vice-Chancellor Learning & Teaching Professor John Bythell congratulated the contributors.
“I think the important messages are well taken and it is excellent to see the integration of so many diverse ideas in the development of educational strategy at USP. I applaud and recommend everyone to read this book,” Prof Bythell said.
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