Highlighting lessons from Pasifika communities for decolonial transdisciplinary education

Professor Upolu Luma Vaai explores the importance of the Pasifika communities-based indigenous philosophy of relationality and how it has shaped transboundary thinking and praxis for centuries, and how it would assist in creating a ‘whole of life’ education approach.

Living in the Moana without boundaries, houses without walls, knowledge without centres, Pasifika communities are never people of closed systems, therefore transdisciplinarity is not a new concept.

Unfortunately mainstream education has firmly embedded a compartmentalized learning system that treats and confines knowledge strictly to departments, systems, and categories. While this is helpful in terms of specific employment targets and market driven interests, it has fostered an unhelpful dichotomy that formalizes and gives power to a certain centre of knowledge at the expense of communities, spiritualities, values, and indigenous cultures labelled under “informal knowledge.”

Alternative holistic approaches to education are needed that seriously consider transdisciplinarity and transboundary flow, as well as a ‘whole of life’ philosophy to underpin a decolonial learning approach.

The seminar by Professor Upolu Luma Vaai, Principal and Professor of Theology & Ethics at the Pacific Theological College in Suva, Fiji, on “Pasifika ‘Whole of Life’ Education: A Decolonial Communities-based Approach” was presented on July 20, 2022 as part of the NITRO-Oceania (Network of Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Research Organisations in the Oceania region) seminar series. Videos from the series are hosted on i2S-Talks. The direct link to this (56 minute) YouTube video is: https://youtu.be/_DAYYeyb_Mg

Posted: February 2023
Last modified: February 2023