Potential Barriers Towards Achieving Greater Diversity: The Case of Pasifika Underrepresentation in Accounting
Fukofuka, P; Ali, I
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Purpose: This paper aims to provide a commentary on how the accelerated utilisation of online learning in accounting education could further impede Pasifika students from completing an accounting qualification, thus perpetuating Pasifika underrepresentation in accounting. Design/methodology/approach: This commentary is based on the authors’ experiences and informal conversations with teaching colleagues and support staff. This paper uses Bourdieu’s (1977, 1990) theory of practice with a focus on his notion of symbolic violence to evaluate the challenges faced by Pasifika students in the learning of accounting. Findings: The social world is inherently unfair, and this can be seen in the inequality that persists in various settings, one of which is in the accounting field. Acquiring an accounting degree requires studying accounting content, which is taught and assessed in a particular way. Unfortunately for the Pasifika learner, learning and assessment in accounting education are according to the demands and rules of the accounting field. These demands and rules, with the increased utilisation of online learning, are at odds with the Pasifika student’s habitus. Thus, Pasifika accounting students are likely to be disadvantaged by the increased utilisation of online learning. This could potentially exacerbate their underachievement in accounting education and prolong Pasifika underrepresentation in the accounting profession. Practical implications: This paper contributes to teaching practice by bringing to the fore the potential of online learning as an additional impediment for Pasifika students in accounting education. This will help inform policymakers, tertiary institutions, accounting accreditation bodies, educators and support staff and could result in the formulation of suitable strategies to better support Pasifika students in online learning. Originality/value: This paper is original and provides a critical analysis of how some groups in society will be disadvantaged by the increased utilisation of online learning in accounting education, thus further hindering the slow progress in achieving greater diversity in the accounting profession.