development and education
Development in the Pacific is usually equated with economic growth and education is seen as one of the ways of climbing up the social ladder to success. This would mean having a job in an office, a car and the best that modernity can offer. There is of course a conflict in the Pacific between the traditional subsistence lifestyle and the modern paradigm with its emphasis on the global economy. Education mirrors these conflicts with informal and non-formal types of education being aligned to traditional cultures and formal education being part of our heritage.
Development is supposed to empower Pacific people to find better ways of surviving using the best of their cultures and western ideals. Education in this sense would mean encouraging people to have the initiative to do things for themselves and to raise the quality of their lives.
Education should encourage Pacific communities to improvise, to be innovative and come up with practical ideas to promote sustainable lifestyles. This calls for education to be integrated with wisdom.
Education has an important role to play in helping to bring about sustainable development in the Pacific. However people need to come out of their complacent lifestyles and face the realities of a rapidly changing world as we move forward into the new millennium.