Thursday, 30 May 2013

Fiji needs citizenship education_EDITORIAL

Good citizenship is an essential requirement of a cohesive and progressive society and a strong sense of nationhood is very important for the sustainable development of a country. Fiji, through the years had been known to be the representation of the way the world should be. It is a doubt that this phrase could still be used today, looking at the way our country is progressing right now. Poverty issues are rising each year. Think Pacific, an organisation aiming to reduce poverty rates in Fiji stated more than 250,000 people in the Fiji islands lives in poverty while many more lives on or just above the poverty line. Authorities seems to be powerless in enforcing rules to avoiding accidents as number of  road accidents kept increasingover the years. The rise in crime rates committed among youths seems to be unstoppable and rape cases has surprisingly increased, the youngest victim being a nine-month old baby, as reported by the Fiji media.

The police department recorded a total of 2980 sexual crimes, with offences against public morality topped the list with 2153, and rape and attempted rape followed with 448 cases.

We, as citizens need to be critical about this issues that seems to emerge unexpectedly. With the many fights and suggested solutions to the issues addressed, nothing seems to be effective. What people in Fiji need is a change in attitude and I believe this could only be achieved if all citizens are educated with civic values.

One of USP's most prolific researchers in education, Jeremy Dorovolomo said higher education institutions needed to citizenship values, character and civic life as its first objective. He said activities and programs enhancing cooperation, critical thinking and tolerance would bring out the best in students. Director for Higher Education Commission Salote Rabuka said citizenship education was vital for the growth of Fiji youths as they would be future leaders and acquirement of desired attitudinal values would help in making effective decisions. She said the Ministry of Education supports citizenship education, having it integrated into the Social Science program in Fiji. It would be good, however, if this study is integrated in all school programs.

There is a high possibility that crime rates, poverty and road deathscould be reduced if citizens are educated with moral values. What they learn will restrain them from committing unforgivable acts. Everyone would strive to make a living on their own by resorting to other ways of solving problems. In the case of unemployment, they may resort to living the life as those in traditional settings, earning a living through farming and fishing, to name some. Road accidents would be solved in the sense that everyone would be equipped with the knowledge on the necessity of following rules laid down by authorities.

If citizenship education is enforced in homes, work places and schools, Fiji could again claim that yes, they are the representation of how the world should be.






My Podcast : A day in the life of Sports Science students

“A Day in the life of Sports Science Students. This podcasts gives a clear picture of Sports Science student's outreach to the community, particularly to those who are often ignored and looked down upon in society, the Elders at the Old People's home and the mentally challenged students at the Special School in Labasa.


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Community collaboration vital for school sucess

Have you ever wondered what the best approach would be for a success school?
A study conducted by one of the lecturers at USP in the Solomon Islands proves that schools could be successful in its operation if  school principals has a strong connection with the community.

The study showed it was necessary that school Principals build a positive, productive and engaged school community.

The study found that some school principals were heavily bureautic, and in some instances threatening, demanding, intimidating, manipulative, and even frightening staff members to the point where they seek transfer or find a different profession.

School principals must therefore be aware of these flaws in their characters and resort to communicating more with the community if they want to see improvements in their schools.

Director of Higher Education Commission Salote Rabuka said collaborations with communities were essential components of successive schools.

“I taught for ten years before working in an office and this was actually what I found,” she said.

“While the school will benefit in terms of social, economic and moral support, the community will also benefit through education for children, through interaction with teachers and other forms of informal contacts and support of community development.”

It is therefore important that school principals take into account the approaches to having a successful school.

In order to place impactful and improved student learning, school principals need to work closely with teachers, parents and students as these are the people who contribute to the successful operation of a school.

You can look at a story on this study here-

Sunday, 26 May 2013

USP Postgraduates urged to publish research

Postgraduate students at the Institute of AppliedScience at USP were  urged to publish findings from research to provide information to interested audience.The need for research publications was highlighted at a workshop held earlier this year at IAS where all participants made an agreement to submit journal articles focusing on findings from postgraduate researchers.
This approach should be a delight not only to students within the university but also to researchers in the country.Benefits for publishing research findings would enable both international and local audiences to be well informed of any research work and significant findings made.
As a budding journalist, I feel journalists too would benefit more if researchers publish their findings and I have learnt this from experience.
As a reporter for the USP newspaper, Wansolwara, I have often written research stories. I have benefitted mostly from the research works published but at times faced difficulty as some research works were not published and would therefore have difficulties in finding information for certain stories I wanted to work on.
Therefore, it is critical that research works conducted should be published for the benefit of everyone seeking information on the findings, especially if the research work conducted is significant.
Workshop participants with Dr Hodge






Thursday, 23 May 2013

Local experts critical for new discoveries

Developing experts in Fiji and the South Pacific region is critical in further discoveries and documentation of new species. USP, as a highly recognised institution in Fiji is one place where opportunities are given to develop quality researchers. This is because of the quality resources available and the institution’s successful collaboration with quality researchers abroad. USP has proved to have developed quality researchers and this could be seen by the success of the student researchers it produces. For instance, the discovery of a newly recorded plant in Fiji by a Graduate student researcher and field assistants at USP shows the capability of Fiji in making new discoveries on their own without depending on foreign scientists to make new discoveries for them. The plant, which was a bryophyte plant, was a result of a study taken for the first time in Fiji and the region. USP Vice-Chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra said the finding of a plant species never recorded in Fiji before was an example of the need to develop our capacity for research within the Pacific Island countries. He said it represented a significant step in the development of independence of our societies and nation and it was important that people in Fiji realise this. Collections Manager and Adjunct Curator at the Field Museum ofNational History in USA Dr Matt Von Konrat said the discovery reinforces the fact that there are many exciting discoveries remaining both for Fiji and the region. Konrat said the new finding highlighted that nothing could replace having a resident expert. 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Fighting Poverty in Fiji

More than 250,000 people in the Fiji Islands are estimated to be living in poverty, while many more are living on or just above the poverty line. It is said that Fijian communities, especially those in rural areas suffer the most extreme consequences of poverty. Despite the many fights against poverty in Fiji, it seems nothing has been effective enough as the poverty rates in Fiji kept increasing. What we need is a new approach, actually, one that has been in existence long before the modern world became an influence. I have often been reminded of the days when our ancestors would enjoy living on the natural resources that were available. They had farms, they went fishing, went  hunting for food and fruits to make a living and they lived well. I think its time that those living in rural areas in Fiji realize the resources available to them and make use of it for a living. During my primary and secondary school years, I have often come across many students whose families earn a living through farming. There was no problem in the payment of school fees.
During the ground-breaking ceremony of a new multi-purpose hall for women in Savusavu earlier this year, Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Doctor Jiko Luveni said it was the duty of all citizens to ensure poverty issues were controlled.
She said families needed to be self-sufficient instead of depending on social welfare assistance.
This is one thing Fiji citizens must be aware of, to be self-sufficient. Who knows, causes for poverty may be due to laziness. There are many kinds of work that are available in rural areas, where villagers could make a living from. Unemployment should never be deemed as a cause for poverty. Many a times, people have often though high quality education was a solution to ending poverty as they would get a good job later in life. There needs to be a change in the mindsets of people. Instead of sitting down and lamenting on things not achievable, people in rural areas need to make use of the resources available. With a resourceful environment they live in, they do not need to count themselves unlucky just because they do not have access to things those in urban areas have access to. If they are saying that life is difficult, they need to think about how their ancestors managed to live through the years through the use of natural resources. 

Minister for Women Doctor Jiko Luveni at the ground breaking ceremony of the new multi-purpose hall in Savusavu.