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View the PDF document Exploring home and school factors affecting the performance of form 7 Fijian students
Author:Tokalauvere, Maikeli.
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Award: M.Ed.
Date: 2008.
Call No.: pac In Process
BRN: 1173920
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission

Abstract: This study explored various Home and School Factors affecting the academic performance of Fijian students in Form 7. It briefly sketched the history of education in Fiji, from the early missionaries, through the British Colonial Administration period to the present day post-independence Fiji, highlighting their influence on formal education in Fiji. It also dwelled on the Fijian culture with its traditional obligations and values and the failure of the Fiji Government's affirmative actions in achieving its targets for the Centres of Excellence, designated by the Ministry Of Education. Political interference and different policies by successive governments have not improved but rather seen as detrimental to the performance of Fijian students in Form 7. Quantitative and qualitative approaches were utilised to identify the problem of home and school factors affecting the academic performance of students in Form 7. Archival records from the Examination Section of the Ministry of Education were collected to identify the high and low performing schools. Questionnaires were then distributed to Form 7 Fijian students while structured interviews were carried out with Form 7 stakeholders, which included principals, heads of departments, senior education officers and teacher union representatives. Observations and talanoa sessions were also used to complement the gaps in the questionnaires from students and the structured interviews for the stakeholders. The study and findings are in two parts; the first consists of the Home Factors and the second part relates to School Factors. The adherence (and non-adherence) by schools to the Form 7 students' intake-policy was a key factor associated with the poor academic performance of Fijian students in Form 7. All Fijian-managed schools ignored the Ministry of Education intake-policy, while all Indian-managed schools on the other hand, adhered strictly to the Ministry's intake-policy and as a result, achieved comparatively excellent results over the past five years surveyed in this study.Fijian home culture, environment and orientation were also seen as contributing to the poor performance of Fijian students. The level of education of parents, parents' aspirations and orientations and home culture determine the ability of students to succeed in schools. The other variables affecting performance of Fijian students in Form 7 were the irrelevant and outdated colonial curriculum, the lack of expert teachers in Form 7 and the ineffective leadership of school principals in Fijian-managed schools. Similarly, quality staff developments, continuous improvement of instructions and collaboration amongst staff are needed. In evaluating how successful a school is, the following factors came out strongly: (i) student's intake policy, (ii) students' attendance, (iii) school sizes and class sizes, (iv) recorded quality instructions by teachers, (v) leadership of principals, (vi) school culture, (vii) professional development, inclusitivity and (viii) the use of technology. While the quality of marks in all the Indian-managed secondary schools steadily increased, the quality of marks in Fijian-managed secondary schools continued to decrease. This research, urges stakeholders in education like the Ministry of Education, other government ministries, community, parents, teachers, police, universities, schools and students to act now by collaborating and talking about solutions recommended during PTA meetings, board meetings, village and district meetings and school pocket meetings. Based on these findings, the study recommends policies and ways and means to improve the quality passes amongst Form 7 Fijian students. Further, some possible areas for further research are also suggested.
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