The beginning of an academic year is always an exciting time – not just for students but also for parents.
Students get anxious about what lies ahead while parents get excited about the prospect of a bright future for their loved ones.
At the National University of Samoa during the past two weeks, despite the unpleasant weather, new and old students have slowly settled into their work.
The orientation period offered a golden opportunity for students to find their feet in their learning environment. And while they are settling in, their parents face another challenge.
That is finding money for their school fees. A good number of students are on scholarships but the majority are not. And with the increasing fees, it’s a real burden at the beginning of the year.
Easter Pati, 18, from Aele and Asau, knows how difficult it is with fees.
“The cost of living is indeed expensive,” she said.
“They always say that it is a human right to be educated but for some reason, many students cannot afford to attend school.”
Easter graduated from Asau College. She has started at the Faulty of Commerce.
To realise her dream, she has had to leave Savai’i and move in with her sister at Aele to be closer to the N.U.S.
But she is more than the accommodation provider. Her sister is also working hard to feed their family in Savai’i.
Which is all the more reason Easter is determined to succeed.
The cost of courses at N.U.S. varies. For Easter, she said her programme costs $1,570 a semester. And with her parents unemployed, it is a steep amount.
“I don’t think I’m the only one who will be struggling,” she said.
“Many other students and their families will also struggle.
“The issue of people not getting an education I think is not because people don’t want to study. To be honest some students have the ability to study but they do not have enough money to make good use of their abilities.
“Not all parents are millionaires. Education is not the only obligation; we have families to worry about and church obligations to think of.”
For Easter, she wants to graduate as a Commerce student and find a job as a Manager.
“It’s a long shot but this is the beginning of my journey.”
It’s a journey she has started with many students at the N.U.S.