Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has announced a massive increase to the annual Government School Grant assistance to more than double to $13.2 million next year.
For this financial year the Grant assistance is about $6 million.
For next year, Prime Minister Tuilaepa said it would be more than double, as prescribed in the Budget Estimates for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 tabled in Parliament this week.
The increase says the Prime Minister is the result of government consolidating all funding grants and other financial from various sources.
Celebrating its 34th anniversary on Wednesday with the distribution of $6 million tala to mission, private, preschools and for schools for people with special needs, Tuilaepa noted that the assistance was launched in 1984 with a starting budget of $50-thousand tala.
And while the funding has ballooned to where it is today because the number of students enrolled with church, private E.C.Es and schools for people with special needs have also increased, the Prime Minister noted that government does not discriminate whether the recipients of such assistance are paying taxes or not.
And the government subsidy to assist schools outside of the government sphere according to the Prime Minister - is a reflection of the important role played by private and church schools in education.
“Education is a responsibility for government alone,” he said.
“But despite the challenges over the years, the church schools and most recently, private schools and early childhood institutions (E.C.Es)have shared this responsibility with us.
“For that, government is recognizing your role through this grants assistance.
“It also reaffirms government’s commitment to invest in the future of the country through our children and developing the leaders of tomorrow.”
He shared that Cabinet is also entertaining expanding the assistance to cover teachers’ salaries.
“Government wants quality teachers who are passionate and committed to realise our target for our children to receive the best education,” he elaborated.
“Perhaps when your government is rich enough we will afford to finance teachers’ salaries at all schools too. That is the ultimate goal of this government to fund all teachers’ salaries in Samoa.”
However, the Prime Minister stressed that realizing such a huge undertaking would require the commitment of patriotic taxpayers to pay their dues.
At the moment, only teachers at government schools are paid for by government.
The Prime Minister explained that funds are allocated based on the number of students enrolled at each school.