This paper reports on a recent research project about the key role schools can play in promoting social tolerance. The findings of the research highlight the importance of seeking community stakeholder views about the purposes of schooling, particularly in the context of rapidly changing global forces. The paper posits the view that if the educational experience does not support those aspects of a culture the inhabitants believe to be most important, it does not contribute to social cohesion. Communities adjusting to 'modern' forces, including those in Australia, increasingly question the benefits of education when there is uneven access to schooling, inequitable distribution of funding and when the curriculum focus of education reflects only those measurable outcomes which support the hegemonic party's view of the economic well-being of the country. In such circumstances, citizens are uncertain how to use education to cohere their culture and society. This paper reports on a World Bank funded consultancy project which sought the views of citizens of the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu on the role of schools in maintaining culture and in promoting social tolerance and harmony. It describes the development of an educational framework for promoting social cohesion and democratic participation in schools in the Pacific region.
- Social tolerance,
- Social cohesion,
- Solomon Islands,
- Civic education
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/suzanne_mellor/24/