The National University of Samoa (N.U.S) celebrated a first in the history of the University yesterday.
During its graduation ceremony at the N.U.S gymnasium, two graduates were awarded doctorate degrees in Philosophy.
They are Dr. Ramona Boodoosingh, of Trinidad and Tobago and Samoa’s very own, Tuiloma Dr. Susana Theresa Taua’a.
Tuiloma is a senior lecturer in Geography at N.U.S in the Faculty of Arts. She was the first member of the N.U.S academic staff to be awarded the N.U.S Vice Chancellor’s scholarship award.
Her thesis is entitled Urbanization, Poverty and Economic Informality: Characteristics of Informal Enterprises in Apia, Samoa.
Her research question asks: to what extent does the urban non-agricultural informal economy provide livelihoods for Samoan people and prevent poverty?
The thesis examines how economic informality has been perceived and analysed by aid donors, economists and geographers in developing countries generally, and in the Pacific Island countries specifically.
Her conclusions are based on analyses of her primary research data collected from street vendors and stallholders and home-based operators selling food and a variety of goods in Apia.
These show that informal enterprises are a vibrant and growing part of Samoa’s economy enabling significant number of rural as well as urban households to earn adequate livelihoods.
The suggested policy significance of her thesis is that government and non-government agencies and development partners could continue to encourage informal enterprise by viewing it positively, removing regulatory barriers and by providing basic business advisory services and small loans.
Ms. Boodoosingh of Trinidad and Tobago came to N.U.S Centre for Samoan Studies on a scholarship from the Caribbean Pacific Mobility Scheme (C.A.R.P.I.M.S) funded by the European Union.
Dr. Boodoosingh’s thesis is entitled Violence against Women in Developing Countries: Policy and Services in Samoa and Fiji.
Her research question asks: are the models for helping victims of gender-based violence in rich countries, such as Australia or the U.S.A, effective in developing countries without social welfare systems?
The thesis presents a detailed analysis of the services offered in Samoa by non-government organisations, and by government education, health and law and justice services, with some comparisons with Fiji.
It concludes that western models tend to be unsustainable because most of the services offered are funded by charity or by development partners, with limited oversight by government or analysis of their effectiveness.
She advocates core-funding and oversight by government for services that have been demonstrated as effective and sustainable.
Tuiloma and Ms. Boodoosingh’s thesis were widely praised by their international examiners from Universities in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji
Yesterday, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi congratulated them – and close to 300 graduates who celebrated with their families and loved ones.
“To everyone who have graduated today, you’re leaders and the future of Samoa,” the Prime Minister said.
“Be honest in whatever callings that you’re going to serve your family, church and the whole country.
“May we continue to light up that candle high for our future generations.
“To the Vice Chancellor and the staff of the National University of Samoa, thank you for all the hard works.
“To parents and relatives, thanks for your support for we all know that ‘faiva e tapua’ia e manuia’We also remember the hard work of our past ancestors in everything ...especially for the development our country.”
Top Economic Student: Faafouina Tuputala
Top Management Student: Amuolemoana Black Pearl Meredith
Top Banking & Finance Student: Silaloata Elu
Top Commercial Law Student: Rasela Taua Leifi
Top Overall Accounting Student: Silimona Faataga
Top Student in Medicine: Nolan Alalatama Fuamatu
Top Student in Education: Folole Anderson Tofa Tu’iala (primary)
Leala Uaite Mose (Secondar)
Top Student in BSc Majoring in Mathematics and Science: Soonalote Vliamu Taimalie