Alternative education and community wellbeing : a case study of Tutu Rural Training Centre in Taveuni, Fiji : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Development Studies at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Conventional western education has effectively become global education and yet it is largely unchallenged. The few who dare to challenge, what is arguably orthodox development’s main ally, highlight concerns. Education, it is argued, promotes elite capture, homogenises diversity, and disconnects students from their own communities and places that give their lives meaning. Formal education is fundamental to economic growth. It prepares people for work and carries the message of materialism. However, this study argues economic growth brings income disparity creating extremes of wealth and poverty, resource depletion and major environmental issues, further challenging education’s emphasis.
This study sought to find an alternative approach to education. This approach is informed by postdevelopment thinking, indigenous values and indigenous education. Place-based education is an existing education modality which was found to conform to postdevelopment principles. A case study of Tutu Rural Training Centre in Taveuni, Fiji was used to explore if the training provided could be described as place-based education. Wellbeing is investigated and presented as an indicator of education effectiveness. The enhancement of community wellbeing, therefore, is used to assess Tutu RTC in comparision to formal education.
This research found that Tutu RTC was far more effective than formal schooling in enhancing the wellbeing of the Tutu community. It also found Tutu RTC could be described as indigenous education, postdevelopment-informed education, and place-based education. Generalisations were made from these findings that have implications for the policy, practice and philosophy of the global business of formal education.