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|Title:||Cultural Influences on Academic Performance in Fiji: A Case Study in the Nadroga/Navosa Province|
|Keywords:||Cultural Values, Beliefs and Practices affecting Academic Achievement in Fiji|
|Publisher:||University of Sydney.|
Faculty of Education and Social Work
|Abstract:||At an upper level of education, especially Forms 5, 6 and 7 of secondary school and in tertiary institutions, Indo-Fijian students often perform better than their ethnic Fijian counterparts. This pattern of ethnic difference in academic performance is a long standing one, lasting over 70 years. However, both ethnic groups have been participants in the same educational system in Fiji. Educational policies have been implemented to reduce this difference. This present case study argues that there are cultural differences of values, beliefs and practices with respect to educational achievement among Indo-Fijians and ethnic Fijians. The achievement ethic of the two ethnic groups differs. Indo-Fijian culture respects and values education highly. Generally speaking, educating children has been always the top priority of Indo-Fijian culture. They believe that education changes people for the better, and the only way to “success” is through education. Thus, Indo- Fijian parents believe that helping children to strive for academic excellence is one of the most important tasks for them. The priority attached by such parents to educational success is one of the strongest forces behind academic success. By contrast, ethnic Fijian culture encourages children to have a strong sense of loyalty to their community and of becoming good members of their koro (i.e., village). Indeed, one’s total commitment to communal activities and cultural requirements is of vital importance. Although ethnic Fijian parents generally understand the importance of their children’s education and wish to support their education, ethnic Fijian communal demands are enormous in terms of time and labour. The pressure to maintain their moral and social obligations within the community tends to make ethnic Fijians spend a large amount of time, energy and money on functions such as ceremonial events and church activities, at the possible expense of providing for the formal education of their children. These demands mean that parents are often absent from home, and unable to supervise children’s homework. Ethnic Fijian children, upper secondary schoolers, feel strong pressure from their peers within their koro to conform to social activities, such as attending church, playing sports such as rugby and volleyball, and hanging around in the koro and town. Besides, the layout of the typical ethnic Fijian home is a more difficult environment than Indo-Fijian households for children’s study, largely due to the limited space to study independently. The socio-cultural background of ethnic Fijians, especially their home environment including family values and priorities, is one of the major barriers to their children’s educational progress. In addition, school leadership, teachers’ expectations, colonial policies and legacies, e.g., land tenure issues, play important roles in affecting differences in the academic performance of these two ethnic groups. Consequently, the educational achievement differences between ethnic Fijians and Indo-Fijians are revealed substantially during the secondary and tertiary educational institutions.|
|Description:||Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)|
|Rights and Permissions:||The author retains copyright of this thesis.|
|Type of Work:||Professional Doctorate|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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|01front.pdf||front of the thesis||61.2 kB||Adobe PDF||View/Open|
|02whole.pdf||whole of the thesis||1.14 MB||Adobe PDF||View/Open|
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