Research project: Teachers and teacher education in the Pacific

This project is the result of research carried out through a partnership between the University of the South Pacific, the University of Bristol and the University of Nottingham.

About the project

Teacher education and preparedness are two core issues that have remained high on the educational agenda in the Pacific islands for some time. Numerous aid funded projects have initiated various efforts towards raising the quality of teachers.

Despite the continuous filtering of foreign aid towards improving the quality of teachers and teaching in Fiji and the wider Pacific, there remain widely held assumptions about the general lack of professionalism and competency of teachers, with questions regarding the ability of teachers to generate positive learning experiences and student academic success.

This research was conducted with teachers, student teachers and teacher educators at the three major universities in Fiji. The research aimed to compile a snapshot of stakeholder understandings of issues related to teacher becoming, being and belonging in Fiji and their implications for the drive to improve teaching and learning quality.

The findings from research with practitioner stakeholders (teachers, teacher trainees and teacher educators) generated insights into the nature of teacher identity and professionalism, identified key challenges faced in practice, and focused on the priorities that these stakeholders believe are important for the improvement of the quality of education.


From left: Dr Ledua Waqailiti (University South Pacific), Prof Simon McGrath (Univeristy Nottingham), Dr Frances Koya Vaka’uta (USP), Prof Michael Crossley (University of Bristol), Prof Konai Thaman (USP), Dr Rosiana Lagi (USP)

  • Professor Konai Helu Thaman, Professor in Teacher Education, USP
  • Dr Cresantia Frances Koya Vaka’uta, Senior Lecturer in Education, USP
  • Dr Ledua Waqailiti, Lecturer in Education, USP
  • Dr Rosiana Lagi, Lecturer in Education, USP, Labasa Campus
  • Mr Asish Kumar, Secondary School Teacher & USP Tutor in Education, Labasa Campus
  • Mr Satish Chand, Lecturer in Education, Fiji National University, Lautoka Campus
  • Mrs Atelini Bai, Lecturer in Education, University of Fiji, Lautoka Campus 
  • Professor Michael Crossley, Professor of Comparative and International Education, University of Bristol, UK
  • Professor Simon McGrath, Professor International Education and Development, University of Nottingham, UK

Funding and support

This research was funded by the British Academy Small Grants Scheme SG132329 and the University of the South Pacific, Faculty of Arts Law and Education.

Thanks are also extended to all participants who contributed to the study in Fiji and to the Fiji Ministry of Education, National Heritage, Culture and Arts for granting permission for the fieldwork.


  • UKFIET Symposium: 'Teacher Education, Contextual Values and Sustainable Futures. Learning from Pacific Experience and Perspectives' (Oxford, 2015)
  • 19th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) (Bahamas, June 2015)
  • University South Pacific workshop (Fiji,Feb 2016)
  • Fiji Ministry of Education (July 2016)
  • BAICE Conference 2016 in Nottingham,
  • University of Bristol Seminars (2014-16)


For more information on this research project please contact Professor Michael Crossley.

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