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Talanga:“I like school but…”

Date: 01.10.2014 08:45 Age: 3 yrs

“I like school but…”
Exploring student experiences in Fiji

Dr Vanisha Mishra-Vakaoti

Concern in Fiji over the ever increasing number of students who, at the early stages of their education, discontinue schooling has made this exploratory study of schooling and discontinuing schooling timely. This study of eight schools across four locations involving two hundred and twenty-nine students provide glimpses into  what schooling is really like for children in 21st century Fiji. This presentation focuses on two aspects of children’s experience of schooling: absenteeism and the tendency to consider discontinuing schooling at the primary and secondary levels. Many factors were found to be statistically significant when considering absenteeism. Ethnicity proved to be a highly significant factor, with iTaukei students being the most likely to be absent from school. Students in both primary and secondary schools expressed having considered discontinuing schooling. In these cases, the age of the child and location appear to be statistically significant factors. The study demonstrates that students have much to contribute to the debate surrounding schooling in Fiji. It also highlights certain tensions that arise between what children want and what is expected of them. The experience of these children illustrates how they negotiate structural influences and make individual decisions about schooling.

Dr Vanisha Mishra-Vakaoti completed her PhD at the Australian National University and is an alumna of the University of the South Pacific. She is currently an independent research consultant.

Venue: FALE meeting room
Time: 1-2pm
Date: Monday 6th October 2014

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