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Title: Wanem we mifala i wantem [what we want] : a community perspective of vernacular education in Vanuatu 
Author: Shipman, Trisha S
Date: 2008
Abstract: This [thesis discusses] the apparent disjuncture of both students and community members in regards to Vanuatu's formal school program. The curriculum, medium of instruction (English or French), and school structure have little connection to the daily lives of primary age students, who are citizens of one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world and live primarily in rural villages (Crowley 2000, 47). Importantly, there has been no clear policy designed and implemented by the Vanuatu Ministry of Education (VMOE) to incorporate indigenous language, epistemology, knowledge, and culture into formal education. However, over the past ten years, the Vanuatu Ministry of Education has made some effort to include indigenous language into the curriculum by implementing vernacular education in approximately sixteen primary schools as a pilot program3 (interview with Gambetta 2007). Currently, the VMOE, struggling to obtain vital resources to implement such programs, has begun to rely more on local community support (interview with Laan 2007). Yet traditionally and today, Ni- . Vanuatu community members have been excluded from the planning process. In fact, they are seldom given an opportunity to express their concerns, ideas, and desires, regarding formal education. At the same time, community members are concerned about the loss of their heritage languages and ways of life, which, according to some, is being accelerated by formal education. Indeed, such dialogue has been taking place for well over thirty decades. In the early 1970s, Francis Bugotu, Solomon Islander educator and indigenous activist, led a team of researchers into rural villages throughout the then British Solomon Islands Protectorate to gather local community concerns regarding the state of formal education and whether or not it was meeting the needs of the communities. In the same way, this project aims to present a community perspective of the formal school program, particularly focused on vernacular and cultural education. However, Bugotu and his team went a step further and, based on the responses of community members, made recommendations to the protectorate government (Bugotu 1975, 44). During the first stages of research planning, I, too, aspired to present the VMOE with a functional document which could provide insight into community involvement in formal education and be used to further the vernacular education program on a national level. Yet, my findings from conducting research with Ni-Vanuatu community members brings to light issues which further complicate the process and purpose of education in Vanuatu. Therefore, this project does not include recommendations, but invites the VMOE, local community members, and other stakeholders to explore ways in which to bridge the growing gap between the national and local levels in regards to formal education.
Description: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 162-170). xi, 170 leaves, bound ill. 29 cm
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/20824
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
LC Subject Headings: Native language and education--Vanuatu.
Native language--Studying and teaching--Vanuatu.

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