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Factors contributing to academic under - achievement of first year ethnic Fijian students in science courses at the university of the south pacific

Dakuidreketi, Mesake R. (1995) Factors contributing to academic under - achievement of first year ethnic Fijian students in science courses at the university of the south pacific. UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

There is a wide disparity in academic performance between Indo-Fijian and Native-Fijian first-year science students at the University of the South Pacific. Native-Fijian students seemed to be not performing well in science courses at the above named universityt as compared to their Indo-Fijian students counterparts, The present research investigated some of the factors contributing to academic underachievement of native-Fijian students as compared to Indo-Fijian students. The research was a qualitative and quantitative study that used interviews and questionnaire as the main research tool for data collection. Interviews were conducted with 20 native-Fijian science students and 6 science lecturers together with some data collected using questionnaires from 80 first-year University of the South Pacific science students. The findings showed that native-Fijian students did not perform well at the above named university because there seemed to be a mis-match between their cultural norm and those required by the University to be successful. The "blame" is with the individual or their culture. Their cultural upbringing tend to hinder their academic performance. In addition, their low socioeconomic status also had some effect on their performance. The problem is much deeper than these socio-cultural factors because native-Fijian students' performance is also reflected by the characteristics of their schools. In particular, majority of native-Fijian schools tend to place more emphasis in sports rather than on academics. The unavailability of resources in most native-Fijian secondary schools affected the quality of teaching which in effect affected the quality of students coming to the University of the South Pacific during their first year studies. Native-Fijian schools were also faced with the problem of inexperienced form 7 teachers teaching Form 7 when the government during that time suddenly phased out the Foundation Programme at the University of the South Pacific. Other external factors found to affect native-Fijian students' performance at the University included: the sponsoring of native-Fijian students with low entry marks, the students' inadaptability to the University environment, the absence of native-Fijian students role models and supporting environment, the influence of peer groups, the attitude of lecturers towards students and the lack of parental involvement in terms of educational pressure and assistance. The implications of the findings suggest the need for more research to be carried out on native-Fijian primary and secondary education because it seemed that the problem at the University of the South Pacific originate at these two levels. In particular, more emphasis is needed to research the teaching and learning styles in native-Fijian culture that would enhance science teaching and learning for the native-Fijian students to try to "help" them come up to the "norm". There is also a need to channel learning and teaching resources and best staff to native-Fijian secondary schools because native-Fijian education will be the loser if native-Fijian education funds allocated by the government are not directed towards relevant identifiable areas. The government should also look carefully at the present policy on scholarship quota because the system only allow a tradition of failure amongst first-year native-Fijian students at the University since it only allowed the Fijian Affairs Board to select students with low entry marks. Finally, native-Fijian parents should set high expectations for their children to communicate the idea of the importance of education in the family and to the survival of the future native-Fijian race. This will provide their children with a sense of mission, direction and challenge.

Item Type: Other
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Education
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email mesake.rawaikela@usp.ac.fj
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2014 12:59
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2014 12:59
URI: http://repository.usp.ac.fj/id/eprint/7125
UNSPECIFIED

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