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Yaqona (Kava) and Education in Fiji. Edition No. 1
VDM Publishing House, May 2008, Pages: 148
In the Fiji Islands, education is promoted as a pathway to development. However, low academic achievement is undermining this strategic focus, with some observers questioning the influence of culture and values on scholastic failure. This book examines the 'culture of yaqona' (the etiquette associated with the use and consumption of the beverage kava) and the impact this substance is having on education delivery and under-achievement in rural Fiji.Factors that comprise the 'culture of yaqona' are examined, including cultural observance and the vakaturaga (chiefly) ethos, networks of obligation, tauv? and veitabani relational connections, bole (a non-aggressive form of competitive consumption), ideals of masculinity and the 'grog swiper', kanikani (dry skin from excessive consumption) as a 'badge of honour', and strategic forms of consumption that allow attendees to stay until drinking sessions? completion. Teachers? consumption habits and the effects of kava on the body and productivity are also discussed. This study, the first of its kind, reveals that one third of rural teachers consume yaqona for an average of six hours on nights prior to teaching in the classroom, and that this negatively affects education delivery and student academic achievement. However, it is argued that due to complicating factors this traditional beverage should not be banned from the teaching environment.
?Apo? Aporosa has a PGDip and MPhil (Distinction) in Development Studies from Massey University, New Zealand, where he currently studies as a PhD student. He is maternally related to Macuata, Fiji, and regularly visits his ancestral homeland where he conducts research, assists with grassroot-level development projects, and farms yaqona.