“Ask not what you country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”
The famous quote by the late United State President John Kennedy sums up the call by the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio to the nine contestants vying for the McDonald’s Miss Samoa 2017 crown.
During a closed door briefing Friday, Loau confessed that while Education reforms instituted by government has produced favorable results in some areas of the sector, there a loop-holes in other areas screaming for attention but lack of resources is a major hurdle.
Take teachers for example.
Loau noted that from the nine contestants, the majority have either graduated with Bachelors in education and science or are studying towards a Bachelor in education.
“The reality is, we don’t have enough classroom teachers and it’s Samoans like yourselves that government will love to have on board to assist our teaching profession,” said the Minister.
Presently, close to 2,000 teachers are in the system but research concludes an additional 300 teachers are needed especially in mathematics and science.
“Education should be a universal responsibility for all Samoans,” added the Minister. “Not just government teachers and administrators but educating our country should be a shared responsibility for everyone from parents, to village councils and each individual.”
The Minister noted that despite the limited financial resources, education has taken a bold stand with the introduction of compulsory education to free school fee assistances for Year 1 to Year 8.
“Government is responsible from Year 1 up until when a student graduates from University and that’s a tall order,” said the Minister. But he says its all part of the long term investment by government.
“Education and developing a highly educated public is the key to unlocking Samoa’s full potential,” reiterated the Minister.
“A highly educated, highly motivated and very innovative Samoan is what we are preparing for the next fifty years.”
He said that Samoa should not be compared to New Zealand and Australia’s education systems due to different circumstances and resources.
“But there is one thing that Samoans have that New Zealand and Australia do not have, the will to succeed,” he concluded.