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Hall of Fame for Pacific educator

21 September, 2012

Hall of Fame for Pacific educator

A senior lecturer in Education at Waikato University is the first Pacific to be nominated and accepted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame based at the University of Oklahama.

Dr Timote Vaioleti is Tongan and was nominated by German Professor Heribert Hinzen, former vice-president of EAEA – the European Adult Education Association and Dr Rajesh Tandon, UNESCO Co-Chair, Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility of Higher Education. Dr Vaioleti joins an illustrious list of people who have been inducted into the American-based non-profit corporation that honours adult and continuing education scholars, practitioners and policy makers from all over the world.

To be eligible, a person must be eminently distinguished in their profession, brought honour or distinction to it, and contributed to the heritage of adult and continuing education. In 2009, Sandra L. Morrison from the University of Waikato was the first New Zealander to be inducted in the Hall of Fame.

Dr Vaioleti started his working life in the technical profession which later saw him involved in work and inventions that gained international recognition and awards. In the community, he has led and taught unskilled groups to design and build churches and other projects in New Zealand and Tonga. He took up teaching to spend more time with his family and over the years has made an extensive contribution to Pacific community affairs as well as initiating the development of Talanoa Research Methodology; teaching and research adult education; Pacific issues and cultural learning theories.

News of his admission into the Hall of Fame was announced in the Tongan Parliament, which surprised and delighted Dr Vaioleti. Alongside his research, he has served on numerous public and private panels on Pacific development and currently serves on the Asia Pacific Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE) eight member Executive Council based in Mumbai. He was the International Rapporteur for the Asia – Pacific Center for Culture’s UNESCO Meeting of Experts on Non Formal Education Policy and Programme for the Promotion of United Nations EFA Goals (Education for All). He is the Pacific region’s Convenor for CLIMATE Asia Pacific, and was the moderator for the World Assembly for Education Sustainable Development and Gender Issues for the International Council for Adult Education.

“To me, education is holistic – literacy and numeracy includes reading and analysis of contexts and relationships that hold us in various forms but in a perpertual connectedness – it’s also circular,” says Dr Vaioleti. “Older people have a responsibility to teach the young, which ensures community’s spiritual, emotional health and cultural continuity. The young can also teach their elders, for example, today, in the use of IT and digitizing information, knowledge and stories.

“In Tonga we talk about fatongia – which means obligation or roles not only to those around you but to those who have gone before and those yet to follow. As a person becomes more qualified or esteemed, their fatongia increase hence more learning is needed and as a result you have more to teach others about; learning and teaching never stops- it is lifelong.”

Dr Vaioleti will travel to Nevada in October to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.


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