USP Marshall Islands Campus Launches “Bwebwenato” Seminar Series

The University of the South Pacific (USP) Marshall Island Campus initiated a Bwebwenato (Talanoa) Academic Seminar series on 03 September 2020.
The inaugural seminar “Wa Kuk Wa Jimor (canoeing together): Voyaging the Seas of Educational Change in the Early Years: A Multi-Sectorial Approach to Skills Development and Life-long Learning” was presented by Dr. Kelesi Whippy.
Dr. Whippy, an academic at the School of Education, is on secondment duties at the Marshall Islands Campus since 2018.  She works in close association with the Public School System (PSS) and development partners such as ADB and UNESCO to provide teachers, including community-based, training towards improving the quality of basic education in the Marshall Islands.  Her research focus is on socio-ecological perspectives of play and its implications for child holistic development and education for sustainable development.
The Chief Guest for the Seminar was the Public School System (PSS) Commissioner Mr. Kanchi Hosia. Participants included additional officers from the PSS, staff from the Marshall Islands Council for NGOs (MICNGOS), staff from the Natural Disaster Management Office (NMDO), and USP teaching staff and students.
Dr. Whippy used the analogy of “Walap, a traditional ocean-going sailing outrigger canoe, which normally accommodates up to 50 people plus food supplies” thus reflecting the cooperative effort of all seafarers, including women and children” to the smooth sailing of the canoe. Similarly, “we need the whole society to work cooperatively to raise a child as the early years are the most significant growth period in a child’s life”, she said.  This initial Bwebwenato generated discussions on a proposed model, exclusively but not limited to the context of RMI which draws upon participation and social cohesion surrounding the young learner’s immediate and wider support systems.
The PSS Commissioner thanked USP Campus, Majuro for arranging and launching the new ‘Bwebwenato’ seminar and wished it success. “Though it is very new, it brings together people from various professions and ethnic backgrounds to discuss things that are important to life; a small canoe, education, family, religion, government and culture that usually work together for the benefits of today and tomorrow” he sai
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