| || || Alifereti, Vasemaca Ledua.|
| || || An investigation into the status of fijian language as a subject in schools |
Author:Alifereti, Vasemaca Ledua.
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Call No.: pac In Process
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: This is a qualitative study which investigated the status of Fijian language as a subject of study at the Form 5 and Form 6 levels in secondary schools in Fiji. The investigation was done on three levels: firstly by looking at the current Fijian language prescription for Form 5 and Form 6 and assessing the quality of its aims and objectives. These intentions were then used as a guide to assess the quality of related processes and activities in the three study schools. Data came from two main sources: an inside school source that came from groups of Form 5 and Form 6 students and their teachers in the three schools; and an outside school source that sought the views of curriculum officers of the Curriculum Development Unit (CDU), two chiefs of nearby Fijian villages, and two ministers of the Methodist church. The study used questionnaires to gather students’ data, interview guides for teachers and curriculum officers, and a kind of oral testimony called ‘talanoa’ with the Fijian elders. The data collected was most interesting. An observation report of current practices and activities in the three schools alongside what students and teachers thought of them was enlightening. The voices strongly spoke of a strong inherent desire for the adoption and recognition of the Fijian language in schools both as a compulsory subject of study and a medium of communication. There was strong condemnation of school rules which prohibited students from speaking in Fijian in the school. The main views from the data are supported by literature that proposes that the mother tongue has academic benefits. Well-documented research shows that a strong and well-founded first language will enhance the learning of a second language and also improve academic achievement. The study has proposed policy directions in line with the data collected and current literature. Consideration was also given to the multicultural and multilingual reality of Fiji’s environment. Broad encompassing policies point to Cultural Studies as the best option. This would have Fijian Cultural Study as one option and to cover Fijian language study, arts and other cultural entities. A number of issues and requirements that would ensure the easy adoption and transition of the policy have also been presented. The proposals not only address learning and achievement but also celebrate the uniqueness of each cultural group as well as Fiji’s cultural diversity. Such a programme would promote mutual understanding and respect for cultural difference and can be a powerful agency in national development.