With persuasion from Stacey King and the importance of the current practice that Rabi High School is implementing in incorporating traditional values learning into their curriculum, I thought it would be a great idea to start a discussion on how some of us can assist on this model of learning.
As highlighted by Koro O'Brien, I belong to NOPE (Network of Pacific Educators) and subsequent posting of the same article to this network, has generated a lot of commendation on the 'model'.
Here are a few of them;
From Donald Raka, CAP Manager, Save the Children Australia, Solomon Islands
- "Very interesting story to learn from. A job well done"
From Tili Afamasaga, National Univeristy of Western Samoa, Samoa
-"That is what RPEIPP is all about. Great model Rabi High School."
From Dr Kabini Sanga, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
The recent circulation about Rabi High school and its education experience seemed to have resulted in a sense of uplift for a good number of NOPERs who have recently commented. As Tili had pointed out, the Rabi story is exactly the kind of educational experience that the Rethinking Pacific Education Initiative (RPEI) is advocating for. More so, over the last 8-9 years, the RPEI has been calling for the “rethinking” of the ideals, ideas, frameworks and practices of economic systems, leadership and governance, justice, science, research and more. Our central message has been for Pacific Islanders to start with their contexts first, rather than with the external idea, the international framework, the global model of best practice or the outside expert.
In the RPEI, we had argued that a firmer and more rooted contextual grounding first, is likely to pay off better in the longer term, as a strategy for dealing with a dynamic world. Not the other way round, we say. The starting and primary assumptions, in our view, are essential because they influence which routes you subsequently follow. Unfortunately, many of our educational development journeys in Pacific contexts had started on inappropriate, dated or unclear starting points. In some instances, we seem to remain on the starting plates when we should have moved on. Subsequently, Pacific education systems are having to tidy up, as a predominant role.
As one of the advocates of the RPEI philosophy, I have missed the learning engagement with donors and some Pacific education officials. It would seem that the up-take by donors and some Pacific educational officials in the discussions on the RPEI message or its emerging “evidences” have not been forthcoming. Even NZAID as a partner with the Pacific educators of the RPEI has not kept up with its engagement and learning. My hope is for Pacific education donors to engage with us, Pacific educators, beyond just the politics of aid.
I see that the challenge for us as ‘The educators of the Pacific’ is to repeat and sustain Rabi High-like schools and experiences in all our countries. As earlier stated, the need to provide ‘uplifting educational experiences’ is in all areas of Pacific development; not just in education. The arena of policy-good governance in Pacific countries is one such area, where there seems to be many well-intentioned, donor-supported initiatives which continue to ignore the RPEI philosophy of Pacific development. My invitation: Let us talk, shall we? After all, the communities you’re wanting to ‘develop’ are ours. The people are our kainga, aiga and wantoks."
I would be very interested in your views relevant to this topic.