Cultural values embedded in the Samoan curriculum are of a high standard compared to Australia.
The comparison was made by Adventist Schools South Queensland Education director, Jack Ryans, who was part of a group of principals from Queensland, Australia who visited Samoa recently.
The Australian educationists made a donation of $30,000 to the S.D.A. School at Lalovaea and $10,000 to Si’ufaga School in Savaii.
Speaking at a press conference at the Seventh Day Adventist Church at Lalovaea, Ryans said Australian children have access to content, which they can easily get through the internet. But that is not the same in Samoa according to the Australian principal.
“However, in Samoa we’re looking for values taught in schools, so Australia is changing because they are recognising that teachers are no longer the source of finding content because no teacher is as smart as the internet. I think it’s a mistake to chase content and I think Samoa will do very well to really imbed the values (in) education that you have here,” he said.
Ryan added that Samoa should be thankful for the cultural values that are being taught in schools here.
“However, if you look at the graduates of this school and the graduates of Avele and Samoa College, they are travelling the world and they are in high paid jobs right across the world. I’ve come across the alumni of schools in Samoa and they achieve in respect of the qualification here because of the value that they learnt. That is because they are determined, positive, resilient and all of those things are embedded in their culture, so when we go back that’s what we are looking for.”
In Australia children have immediate access to content, but they still rely on their parents for a lot of things including school pickup and drop-offs, he added.
“They become very dependent on their parents. They run for nothing but they are not good at crossing the street if I can use that as an exaggerated example.”
Ryan said the Australian education system is developing a ‘a high level of learning dependents’ unlike in Samoa.
“We went up to Avele College and what those kids can do on their own is amazing. They mentored all the time on their own and that is something you should really treasure so I think Samoan education is at a very good standard and I think it’s a mistake to count success through examination, but rather count success by the actual achievement of your children as they are achieving right across the world.”
He also commended Samoan educators for ‘doing so much with so little’, which has led to the students here becoming resilient, resourceful and respectful.
Ryans said they opted for a monetary gift to the schools rather than the usual second-hand material so the funding could be put to good use.
“The local teachers know what their greatest need is and if we send a container full of stuff that means we’re just guessing because we don’t know what the school needs. And we have made a commitment to continue to support our denomination, the Seventh Day Adventist School, in both Apia and Siufaga,” he added.
The role of the churches in life in Samoa also amazed him with Ryan saying Samoan children knew the roles that each institution played in his or her life.
“Church, family and school are all saying the same thing and so the children here are not confused, they are very clear on their purpose in life whereas most children in Australia they know those who are claiming and are practicing Christian in Australia is down to 8 percent,” he said.