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The Effectiveness of Formal and Traditional Learning about Climate and Disaster Resilience in Vanuatu

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posted on 2023-06-26, 10:07 authored by Charles A. E. Pierce

This research focuses on Vanuatu, one of the planet’s most at-risk countries to natural hazards.

Firstly, and using a proposed model for resilience education, I apply mixed methods to investigate the efficacy of formal school and post-school systems in helping students learn about climate and disaster resilience, as measured by changes in their knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour. At junior secondary level, a survey among 363 students on the deployment of a pictorial resource on climate change proves that it is most effective in promoting actions that build adaptive capacity, but less so in fostering scientific understanding. At upper secondary level I find potential for resilience education in three optional subjects, but 82% of students have already left school, and course evaluation by 180 students and their teachers reveals an emphasis on cognitive learning, a lack of stimulating resources and limited field experience. There is also a mismatch between national policies on resilience and the classroom reality. Of all formal systems, the most effective resilience education is occurring through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) courses that involve practical activity, student-centred pedagogy, contextualized learning materials and traditional knowledge.

Secondly, I use surveys and interviews to determine the extent to which informal education about resilience is taking place through the intergenerational transmission of traditional knowledge, skills and social capital, and its relevance to the nation’s future. Results demonstrate that such transmission is declining in the face of rural-urban migration and rise of digital technology. However, recent experiences during severe cyclone Harold endorse the value of traditional warnings and resilience strategies for the recovery of remote populations, and TVET courses in Vanuatu offer a model for the introduction of similar programmes in school classrooms.

History

Supervisor(s)

Sarah Hemstock; Philip Wood

Date of award

2023-03-29

Author affiliation

Bishop Grosseteste University

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Language

en

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