Learning about Timor-Leste: tracing the “Timorisation” of curriculum reform

Universidade Estadual de Maringá
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Diálogos, 2022, 7
Issue Date:
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The first national planning document of the newly independent Timor-Leste included in its vision that “East Timor will be a democratic country with a vibrant traditional culture” (East Timor Planning Commission, 2002, p. xviii). Education, as an important arm of nation-building, includes a strong link to culture by including the principle of “Ligasaun ba kultura no maneira moris lokál nian [Connection to culture and way of local life]” (Ministério do Educação [ME], 2014, p. 18). However, much of Timor-Leste’s educational history has been characterised by adherence to goals that rarely addressed Timorese needs or identity. Using content analysis, this paper traces the way in which official and educational documents have considered local people and conditions in the past - during the periods of colonisation and occupation - and those of the present, particularly through the current curriculum for primary school. Also considered are teachers’ responses to a recent survey of understanding of “local life”, suggesting that a greater orientation of learning to the local context is needed in the future to understand how education might strengthen Timorese communities and culture.
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