Sims, M. and Tiko, L. (2019). Neoliberalism and post-colonialism in conflict: Hybridisation in early childhood in the South Pacific. NZ International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 22(1), 15-30.
Original Research Paper
Neoliberalism and post-colonialism in conflict: Hybridisation in early childhood in the South Pacific
University of New England, Armidale, Australia
University of South Pacific, Suva, Fiji
The colonial history of the South Pacific resulted in generations of South Pacific Island children being educated in what is fundamentally a western system, aiming to prepare them for employment in what is increasingly becoming a western economic environment. In recent years this environment has become strongly influenced by neoliberal ideology which positions children as human capital, the employable citizens of the future. Accompanying this is a growing post-colonial movement which positions Indigenous values and practices as crucially important in shaping the identity of children. Part of this is the process of recognising that Indigenous knowledge has an important place in Indigenous nations. It is in this context that citizens in many previously colonised nations are attempting to develop their own early childhood policies and systems in order to deliver the kind of services and support that will best achieve their vision for the future. In this paper we explore the understandings of early childhood professionals in the South Pacific. These professionals are the leaders, and future leaders whose work will shape the way in which early childhood services develop over the following years. Thus their understandings provide an indication of the ways in which the tensions between western neoliberalism and Indigenous post-colonialism may be enacted in the context of South Pacific nations.
Key words: Indigenous education, leadership, neoliberal ideology, post-colonialism.
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