Fiji National University (FNU) academic Ravinesh Prasad has released his first book titled EasyPieces on Education – An Ephemeral Perspective which is an instructive publication that highlights Fiji’s declining trends around numeracy and literacy education. 

The book is based on Prasad’s personal opinions which provide teachers, students and the Fijian community an understanding of the growing concern with practical suggestions and techniques to create a knowledge-based society.

The Chief Guest, Dean, School of Humanities & Arts at the University of Fiji Professor Tupeni Baba while launching the book said that Prasad’s ‘Easy Pieces on Education’ are the easy bits in the learning and teaching arena. 

“This is a very ambitious and valuable book that tackles the range of issues relating to child development, debate about which language to use, literacy and numeracy education via newspapers, self-awareness and exam preparation at different educational levels.” 

“We can take your ‘easy bits’ as ground clearing for new thinking. It could be an appropriate point to begin the task of deconstruction,” said Professor Baba. 

The senior academic urged readers and writers to unite and celebrate new writings. FNU’s College of Humanities and Education (CHE) Dean, Professor Unaisi Nabobo-Baba, who is the foreword writer of the book, commended Prasad for sharing instructive pieces on education.

 “Prasad like Oodgeroo Noonuccal (an Aboriginal Australian political activist, artist and educator) is writing his views on various matters and issues on education and in doing so shares his perspectives – those of a young man in Fiji in this day and age, a young academic and budding author.” 

“In ‘Easy Pieces on Education’, Prasad who belongs to a new generation of writers and academics in Fiji and the Pacific has joined a long line of scholars who have tried to rethink education in Fiji and the Pacific Islands,” said Professor Nabobo-Baba. 

While congratulating Prasad for penning his first book, Professor Nabobo-Baba said it was a proud moment as a Professor in Education to witness the book launch. Prasad, a lecturer in Education at FNU, stated that the FNU’s 2020-2021 prospectus ‘Rethink the Future’ is what motivated him to continue working on his book despite some unfortunate events that transpired during his writing. 

“This was my dream project that began in 2016. During the writing of this book, I lost my father. As a kid, I remember my dad working long into the wee hours of the night to provide for our family. In looking back on my childhood, I can see the grace of God at work in our family through my dad, who worked diligently to take care of our family,” said Prasad. Prasad dedicates his first book to his father, family and the FNU’s College of Humanities and Education.

 Prasad sought his view on issues in ‘Easy Pieces on Education’ by capturing the dialogue: a conversation on easy pieces between Prasad, and Professor Subramani, a writer and academic of the University of Fiji. “Professor Subramani has written and spoken on the subject of ‘new illiteracy’. This has to do with attitude to reading among young people. Recent investigations have shown that there is an alarming decline in reading printed books globally.” 

“Young people are finding it more and more difficult to focus on small and large texts. They are easily distracted in their endless search for amusement or diversion. They are ill-informed about books and authors, and ideas, and lack the discipline to engage in concentrated, deep reading of book-length texts,” said Prasad. 

Prasad stressed that there is a frantic obsession with novelty in smart devices that are resulting in neurological restructuring. “Teachers in higher educational institutions are already complaining about general shallowness in their students. Shallowness in thinking is not very agreeable news for a country that is trying hard to make the transition to a democratic way of life and need broadly educated, committed citizens to support the movement towards an intelligent society,” said Prasad. 

During the launch, FNU’s Music Lecturers, Naresh Chand and Lasarusa Daveta composed and sung original lyrics related to the book ‘Easy Pieces on Education’ in Hindi, I-Taukei and English. ‘Easy Pieces on Education’ (2020) is being sold at $15 a copy. Copies can be obtained by emailing the author directly  prasadravinesh234@gmail.com Currently, Prasad is working on a research paper and his second book that will be published in 2021.

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