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Grassroots talk back on social media: An analysis of public engagement in Vanuatu’s language-in-education policy

Willans, Fiona (2017) Grassroots talk back on social media: An analysis of public engagement in Vanuatu’s language-in-education policy. Current Issues in Language Planning, 18 (4). pp. 1-17. ISSN 1466-4208

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    Abstract

    This paper analyses the participatory space for political debate opened up by social media in Vanuatu with reference to the implementation of a recent language-in-education policy, jointly funded by the governments of Vanuatu, Australia and New Zealand. Although Vanuatu appears to have been debating the same language issues for several decades, what is new is the level of participatory engagement in political matters, with the Facebook group Yumi Toktok Stret (YTS) providing one platform through which democratic citizenship is established and negotiated. Analysis of a debate that erupted in the group in March 2016 reveals significant disquiet and confusion about a change to the medium of instruction in early primary education. I argue that social media provides an invaluable insight into the extent to which the general public understands, feels consulted about and supports policy change. The debate on YTS also shows that the Government, its international development partners and technical advisors would be well advised to pay attention to such debates, and engage with social media as a new mediated “think tank” through which new policies can be democratically debated.

    Item Type: Journal Article
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Language-in-education policy, social media, development aid donors, civil engagement, Vanuatu, Bislama
    Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
    P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
    Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Language, Arts and Media
    Depositing User: Fiona Willans
    Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2017 12:45
    Last Modified: 04 Jul 2017 12:45
    URI: http://repository.usp.ac.fj/id/eprint/9974
    UNSPECIFIED

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