Cabinet Minister Loau Keneti Sio has rejected reports that the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture is set to undergo major changes.
The reports said the Ministry is splitting into two separate ministries. The Ministry of Education will operate alone while Sports and Culture will form a separate Ministry, a source had told the Samoa Observer.
Asked for a comment, Minister Loau said there has been no such discussion about the separation in the Ministries.
“I haven’t discussed anything with the Ministry about that,” said Loau.
“It might be an idea from someone else. If anything, I need to present a paper to Cabinet about it to determine whether it is appropriate.
“And even when that happens, it would be a long process.”
Loau said the claims must be from discussions among officials at the Ministry.
“But if it’s for a good change, then why not?” he added. “I would love to talk about it and discuss it.”
Last week, a source from M.E.S.C. told the Samoa Observer the change was announced to staff members at their headquarters on Friday.
A staff member who preferred not to be named, suggested that one of the reasons for the split is the recognition that a ministry is needed to focus on Education alone.
This would also mean that Sports and Culture would receive the separate attention needed as areas with increased potential for growth and development.
The source said other entities such as the museum of Samoa, the archives and the national orchestra of Samoa which are currently listed under Culture, would probably move with the new ministry overseeing Sports and Culture.
The change has already garnered some support.
For Samoa’s Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (S.A.S.N.O.C) C.E.O, Faámausili Taiva Ah Young, his excitement comes with the possible increased spotlight on sports in Samoa.
“We are really happy to see that sports is being prioritized, and we are now just waiting anxiously to see what is going to happen,” he told Samoa Observer.
Asked about SASNOC’s future plans, Faámausili said he thinks it’s a bit premature for S.A.S.N.O.C. to answer now, because they would like to see the structure of the possible Ministry of Sports before they begin to look at various ways to cooperate.
“There might be different structures that the government might be proposing, so far as the ministry is concerned,” he said.
“It might not be a ministry at all; we might just be a sports authority. Whatever type of structure they come up with, I personally think S.A.S.N.O.C. will certainly cooperate with that organization that the government is now preparing.”
Faámausili also stated that this plan of dividing M.E.S.C. into two will definitely impact Sports in a positive way.
“The priority will be on sports and now we have got an organization from the governments sector that is primarily focusing on sports,” he said.
“That means we now have something to work with, and if we have something to work with, and a goal and direction, we can achieve even greater performance rates.”