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Rethinking science education in the Pacific: challenges and opportunities

Singh, Sunil K. (2018) Rethinking science education in the Pacific: challenges and opportunities. The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji.

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Despite the need for science graduates, anecdotal evidence suggests the number of students taking science subjects in Pacific Island countries is dwindling and science students have high dropout rates. In this study, a mixed method approach was used to investigate the perceptions of primary and secondary school students and teachers in Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Tonga towards science education generally. It was found that common misconceptions and challenges which discourage students from studying science subjects include: difficulty of the subject(s); lack of resources such as laboratory equipment and materials; inadequately trained teachers; negative peer feedback on science subjects; limited job opportunities; and lack of perceived relevance to daily lives or cultural contexts. These findings highlight the need for active intervention by teachers, peers, and parents during the early school years to help develop positive attitudes towards science. There is a need for professional development of teachers to ensure they are adequately qualified and competent to teach science subjects. Technology and open educational resources are currently underutilised and could be better incorporated in the science curriculum to make it more engaging for students. These resources could also be used to support ongoing professional development of teachers. Further implications for teacher education programmes and opportunities for improving science teaching pedagogy are discussed. Participants will be engaged in discussion about ways to make science learning more relevant and easy to understand. Ideas will be sought from the participants about how to demystify science concepts. The interaction will assist the participants to realize that science is very much a part of everyday lives. Building upon that foundation gives greater confidence to both teachers and learners for more meaningful learning and teaching.

Item Type: Other
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Education
Depositing User: Sunil Singh
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2019 23:45
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2019 23:45

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