Lessons in paradise

Spending some time last week in Fiji, visited a school on Malolo Levu island. It was the last day of term, so the kids were happy and appreciative, but like so many schools in emerging economies that seemed a regular state. So it was great for my two kids to hear how the principal had in his two years at the school turned it around from one of the lowest to highest ranked in Fiji. This was not only because of his educational leadership but also rallying the entire community behind his cause. This involved students coming to the school at night to study (parents bringing dinner), and also implementing changes to their non school activities such as swiming in the sea mid week. The principal had the backing of the village chief/elders for this denial- convincing them that the kids were too tired during the school day. It seems to have worked. He lectured our kids on how you need to respect the elders (something he observed to be lacking in Aus schools).
There seemed to be a great pride in their school, and the community support was refreshing -helping engender a spirit of cooperaton and participation increasingly difficult in our society. Also couldn’t help reflect on Aboriginal community participation in schooling. Lack of any TV on the islands was also noticeable. The computer room above, was a long way off delivering any digital revolution, as they were only getting a reliable power source for 2 hours per day (regular water supply only having been just turned on). But in Fiji maybe thats one revolution that finally will make a difference.

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About thand

I'm a currently working at NSW Departrment of Education & Training, Connected Classrooms Program, Sydney.
This entry was posted in education, Public schools, schooling. Bookmark the permalink.

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