It was a proud moment for the National University of Samoa (N.U.S) as one of their staff members has completed the highest form of qualification.
Staff member, Edna Temese-Ualesi’s recent completion of her PhD in Philosophy, is an example of the university’s need to push for higher qualifications for their staff as well as students.
In a press conference, Professor Asofou So’o the Vice Chancellor spoke of the university’s role to pursue higher quality education for their students.
“Our university is now 32 years old and just like all other universities around the world, one of our goals is to provide quality education,” he said.
Which follows that, “One of the important aspects of the teaching part of our role as a university, is to also have well qualified teachers and staff to deliver our courses and programmes.”
“Here at the university we have three categories of programmes: we have a programme for plumbing, welding and trades; there’s a Foundation programme that prepares students for university studies; and finally we have the Higher Education programmes,” he said.
“Our preparation specifically for the Higher Education programmes means that we have to keep improving the qualifications of our staff.”
But staff quality has not always been at the present level.
“Back when we started in 1984, none of our staff members held a doctorate qualification; now we have a total of 16 who do,” Asofou said.
“Aside from the 16 that we have, there are 10 more studying at the doctorate level with a few finishing at the end of this year and the rest finishing the following year.
“That’s a continuous improvement effort to keep moving forward in terms of qualifications of our staff.”
For Ms. Ualesi the road was not an easy one.
“As an N.U.S. student from years ago, I along with a few other students didn’t get scholarships to go to Fiji, Australia or New Zealand so we stayed back,” she said.
“We knew that there was still hope where we could apply overseas; I then made it to Japan where I attained another degree and when I returned I began teaching here at the university.
“I knew that I had to pursue higher qualifications, I’m thankful that the government of Japan gave me a chance to get a masters degree and from there I stayed on to get a PhD.”
Ms. Ualesi’s road to excellence is a testimony of hope for students and staff to never give up pushing for higher qualifications.