There is a need for culturally relevant and appropriate retention pro- grams within a climate of ever-increasing neo-liberalism that is seeking to change the very nature and underlying rationale of higher education. This article is posited alongside the reflections of past and current university students, who highlight various socio-economic and socio- cultural pressures which affect their ability to maintain engagement within tertiary institutions in which they strive to study. Pressures include the neo-liberal ideology of unfettered individualism within a higher education setting, which seeks to make the university a competitive producer of 'consumers' rather than life-long learners who serve and benefit their families and wider communities through knowledge creation and critical application. The article also highlights key factors that may assist in the retention of students from Pacific communities in Australia. This includes the need to create a collective voice, the ability to have staff who exercise culturally appropriate support and under- standing, opportunities to develop greater sense of belonging and connection to University spaces that create an engagement within a cultural context, support to manage conflicting expectations and priorities, ability to inspire and effect change in others through maintaining study commitments, and the need to work to still support educational costs and family.
Available for download on Sunday, September 20, 2020