Teacher Education Programmes: are they contributing to Poor English Language Skills in Fiji?

Minakshi Maharaj

Abstract


There has been public and governmental concern over the declining standards of linguistic competence and literacy skills in English of young people in Fiji. English is a Second Language for most Fijians. It is the language that has an important ‘institutional and social role in the community (Ellis 1994:12), as it is the language of instruction, employment and governance.  Public opinion generally attributes the decline in reading among young people as the main cause of deteriorating English language skills. Teacher education and educational policy, however, have perhaps not been subject to the kind of critical review that may yield valuable data in regard to the causes of poor language skills.

This paper examines the National Curriculum Framework (2013) and finds that it fails to recognize the Second Language status of English in Fiji. Further, this paper analyses the structure and content of the primary and secondary teacher education programmes at the Fiji National University. This examination reveals that both the primary and secondary teacher education programmes could be considered inadequate for teacher preparedness not only for teaching English, but also for teaching in English, a second language. 


Keywords


language education, teacher education programme structure.

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