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Professor Thaman Mindful Of Culture Issue

There is a need for educators to put their policies in such way that fits the culture of people in the Pacific, says Professor Konai Helu Thaman. The University of
20 Feb 2018 14:39
Professor Thaman Mindful Of Culture Issue
University of the South Pacific’s Professor Konai Helu Thaman. Photo: DEPTFO News

There is a need for educators to put their policies in such way that fits the culture of people in the Pacific, says Professor Konai Helu Thaman.

The University of the South Pacific academic made this statement while speaking during the 20th Commonwealth Education Ministers meeting at the Sheraton Fiji Resort on Denarau Island, in Nadi, yesterday.

Being part of colonial education system, Professor Thaman said they needed to think outside the box in terms of doing business.

In some places especially in developing nations, she added that teachers had realised that they needed to change in the way they deliver.

Professor Thaman said whether it was about social science, education or research teachers needed to contextualise the way they do things.

“There are two things we need to implement, that is we need to consider context and process,” she said.

In the Pacific context, Professor Thaman said goals and policies needed to be put through a process where it contextualises with the culture.

For example, she added sometimes English when translated into language in the Pacific it ended with the different meaning because each society had their own mother tongue.

“It’s quite difficult to translate into vernacular because there are different ways of understanding. In the Pacific sustainable development means a lot.

“It is usually survival and continuity of our cultures. When we source ideas from their languages it is very different.

“We must contextualise whether climate change or sustainable development is and in our context in the Pacific we are small-minded communities, we have a diverse culture,” Professor Thaman said.

In some Pacific Island countries, she said students tend not speak up when academics speak not because they don’t know anything but it is the respect they have for them which is enshrined in their culture.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

Feedback: arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

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