Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has got a valid point. For the safety and welfare of students, he said all schools should start at 9am. Pronto.
Tuilaepa’s call is timely as the country prepares for daylight savings, which begins next Sunday 30 September and lasts until April next year.
Since 2010, the country has been trying to get used to having to wake up a lot earlier when the time changes.
This has caused a number of problems. Not only have many citizens complained that it has cost them more in terms of electricity, there is another issue that is far more serious.
It involves the safety and security of children, especially young girls, who have to leave home while it is still dark, to catch the bus to school. In some cases, their vulnerability to being sexually abused on buses and other forms of public transport under such conditions has been exploited by ruthless predators who have identified the opportunity.
Now Prime Minister Tuilaepa is clearly irritated about this but instead of doing something about the perpetrators, he has hit out at the poor School Principals and teachers.
“Some teachers just have thick brains, they are not thinking properly,” he said.
Tuilaepa accused “some private schools” of not heeding the advice by the Government to change their starting time from 8am to 9am.
“All government schools have been given directives to change the time school starts but some schools are not heeding this advice,” he said.
“The problem is that no matter the explanation I give to change the starting time for classes, some people just don’t want to understand.”
The Prime Minister went on to say that Samoa opted for daylight savings because it saves electricity and money. Now this claim is debatable.
Since daylight savings was implemented some eight years ago, we have not seen a cost and benefit analysis of the decision. Nada.
We really need a proper cost and benefit analysis. You see, the Government keeps harping on about savings to electricity and whatnot, but where is the proof?
In the beginning, daylight savings was talked up as the answer to improving agriculture development. Again we ask, where is the proof? How has daylight savings improved agriculture developments over the years, if it has improved at all? Do we have statistics to prove it?
Anybody can say anything but numbers don’t lie.
That said, we agree that there are benefits to longer evenings. But do they outweigh the negatives?
Let us be reminded today that Samoa is not a wealthy country. Compelling commerce, industry and agriculture to commence operation some three hours before sunrise must put considerable strain on the power grid. During this time of darkness, electricity is entirely derived from fossil fuel. This contributes to climate change and more.
Now getting back to the Prime Minister blasting those poor School Principals and Teachers who had no say in the decision in the first place, we believe it is quite unfair.
If there is anyone with the thick brains, it’s got to be those laui’a in the Government who came up with this idea of daylight savings in the first place. It is not Principals and teachers who should be blamed.
There is a really simple solution to all this of course.
All Prime Minister Tuilaepa needs to do is stop this daylight savings madness. He can do it. With all the power in the world at his fingertips, he can surely get the Government to rethink the wisdom of daylight savings. That way, there will be no need for this name calling business, students will be safer, teachers happier to teach and everything will be just fine.
What do you think?
Have a fabulous Tuesday Samoa, God bless!