Welcome and Talofa Lava
The Vaka Pasifiki Education Conference grew out of an initiative, Rethinking Pacific Education by Pacific People for Pacific People (RPEIPP) which was started two decades ago. Since then, a School of Thought namely, the Vaka Pasifiki School of Thought has gained momentum and many Pacific scholars have been encouraged to delve into research of Pacific indigenous epistemologies, perspectives and ways of thinking as invaluable sources of knowledge and skills, to enable Pacific people to increasingly own the processes of education as well as ensuring the sustainability and the survival of Pacific cultures into the future.
The Faculty of Education is a founding member of this initiative and staff of FOE as well as from other faculties of the NUS have participated in the VPEC, the most recent one being VPEC 2018 which was held at USP, Suva. VPEC normally is a regional conference that is held every four years. In 2021, the plan was to hold it in the Marshall Islands. However, with the disruption of the Covid 19 pandemic, the regional committee decided to let each Pacific Island host its own VPEC. Thus Samoa is hosting its own mini conference by the Faculty of Education of the National University of Samoa for two days, 13th and 14th December 2021 with its name known as Samoa Vaa Pasefika Education Conference 2021 (Samoa VPEC 2021).
Covid 19 has brought about unprecedented conditions in Samoa, the Pacific and the rest of the world. It is an understatement that Covid 19 has caught the whole world unprepared. While education administrators and teachers everywhere have continued to practice their profession in these circumstances, it is evident that the normal situations, economically, politically, socially and culturally are undergoing changes that must be understood and navigated in order for humanity to continue. Hence the theme of the Samoa VPEC 2021 is “Re-imagining Pacific Education Together for the New and Sustainable Normal”. To imagine is to form a picture of something not present. What new voices, new perspectives and new stories need to be heard? What new visions need to be heard at this time? Who should lead the rethinking of Samoan education and schooling in these times and how well are we doing it as stewards of education? What new skills sets are required to adjust to a world that has changed as a result of Covid 19? How can we better prepare our students, teachers, families and villages for living and leading in a dynamic and changing Pacific and/or Oceania?
Presenters are invited to share their insights of what the ‘new normal’ is and how education is expected to adapt and adjust to these new circumstances, and how these perceptions would change teaching and learning in the areas of language, literacy, numeracy, assessment, ICT, and any other aspect of educational administration or teacher education in Samoa as well as the Pacific. Presenters are also expected to share their researches into adjustments and adaptations carried out especially in the processes of education as a result of the general lockdown modes as a consequence of Covid 19.