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Enabling policy environment for holistic ECD: a case of Fiji

Tiko, Lavinia (2013) Enabling policy environment for holistic ECD: a case of Fiji. [Conference Proceedings]

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Holistic Early Childhood Development requires the context of services to be integral in their design and implementation. While the context of most services focuses primarily on the western academic approach, the indigenous teaching and learning context receives less attention – and in some cases is totally ignored. And while it is common to take western models and attempt to adapt them, services developed in this manner are almost always not as effective as we would want them to be. The Australian DEEWR (2009) affirms that holistic approaches to ECD take into consideration the ‘Being’: connections to string of interdependence such as to the natural world, and with people including families and communities. This interdependence encompasses values and beliefs that are pertinent to the wellbeing of the group. While policy based on a ‘holistic’ approach has been a regular term in ECD and in the entire education arena, there is a missing link. That missing link is the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives in ECD policy. As a result, there is always an imbalance between two pedagogies, that of the west and that of the indigenous. Fiji has been a subject of colonialism for the past century and the effect of such colonialism is heavily evident in its education system. Enabling holistic policy environmental approaches will only be meaningful when the epistemological knowledge of the natives of a particular country, and in this case the Indigenous people of the Fiji Islands, is explicitly considered in both policy and in classroom teaching and learning. Research (Rosenthal, 2007; Sims, 2004; Ball, 2004; Rogoff, 2003; Super & Harkness, 2002) has proven and challenged the universally taken for granted assumptions of ECD; directing the ears and eyes of concerned ‘Beings’ to context and culture as key pillars of holistic ECD. Holistic ECD can only come about when the indigenous people are empowered through hearing their voices and thus freeing them from the bondage of colonisation. Article 14(1) of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2008, p.18) affirms this, saying ‘indigenous people have the right to establish and control their education systems and institutions providing education in their own language, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning’ In this paper, I argue from my research with the indigenous Fijian elders that enabling policy environments for holistic ECD must embrace the worldviews and safety nets of the indigenous Fijians so there is a fair and honest policy that gives ‘all’ children equal opportunities for lifelong learning, health and success.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Education
Depositing User: Ms Shalni Sanjana
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2014 02:52
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2016 04:51

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