More than sixty students who have won scholarship awards funded by the Australian and New Zealand government were congratulated yesterday.
The congratulations came from Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, during a gathering at the National University of Samoa.
The students will study at universities in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
In addressing them, Tuilaepa had a very firm message.
“Use the opportunity wisely,” they were told.
“Education gives you access to many opportunities. It is also the key to developing our country Samoa and lifting the standard of living and the quality of life.” The Prime Minister reminded them that they are the future of Samoa.
With a good education, it gives them the key to a bright future. “But having the key is not enough, you need to choose which door to open.” The Prime Minister, who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs, told the students to choose their friends wisely and stay away from trouble.
The Acting Australian High Commissioner, Rosemary McKay, echoed the message from the Prime Minister.
“You are a source of great pride for your families and your country,” she said. “You have been recognized for your excellence (results) and you are the future leaders of Samoa.”
She said many of Samoa’s leaders have taken the same path. Ms. McKay said Australia prioritises education in its aid programme because they believe education is vital to improved economic growth and lifting the living standards.
One of the scholarship recipients, Mercedes Fabricius, is extremely grateful for the opportunity, saying she is looking forward to the journey.
The 17-year-old will be studying for a Bachelor of Commerce at Griffith University in Australia. For 2016 scholarships, the governments of Australia, New Zealand and Samoa will collectively sponsor close to 90 new students.
It includes students from the National University of Samoa Foundation Level, employees from the public, private and civil society who secured awards under the specific Australia and New Zealand scholarship schemes, APTC graduates, and a few NUS Academic Staff.