Post-Pandemic Lessons Learnt from Student Reflections: A Case Study of Diploma-level Students at the Fiji National University


  • Afrada Shah Lecturer - Fiji National University


The global pandemic led to an expansion of research pertaining to education in the new normal. Lived experiences of students were mostly documented through surveys or in-depth online interviews due to movement restrictions. One issue with such approaches is that students are guided by set questions and have limited opportunities to cathartically reflect upon their experiences. With this in consideration, a case study approach was used with the overarching aim to explore the lived experiences of students in Fiji during the global pandemic using an online reflective assessment. As part of their coursework, students were required to complete a reflective assessment which was based on their pandemic-related experiences. Sixty submissions which met the inclusion criteria of the current study were included based on purposive sampling. Findings from this study support Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 as it confirmed myriad student experiences including financial, learning, lifestyle, and mental health challenges. Students also reflected upon the notion of 'social distancing versus social disrespect’ as in the case of Fiji, the phrase ‘it takes a whole village’ is not just a metaphor but literal as the concept of individualism is quite alien to this socio-cultural context. Positive reflections were also documented including revival of traditional systems (‘veisa’ - barter system), strengthening social connectedness using technology and demonstration of values such as resilience and genuine care. This research also suggests the value of reflective assessments using online platforms to avoid the constraints and encourage students to mine their own lives for insight away from a traditional classroom setting.