The Government should consider paying for salaries of teachers who are teaching at mission schools.
The call was made by Member of Parliament for Gagaifomauga No.3, Faaulusau Rosa Duffy Stowers, during Parliament yesterday.
Faaulusau was speaking during the supplementary budget debate when she touched on the issue of teachers’ salaries. She told Parliament that mission schools have continued to play a critical role in education in Samoa.
“Thank you to the Government for the grants that are being given to the mission schools, however I believe that it is still not enough to pay for the teachers who are teaching at mission schools,” she said.
“So I am urging the Government, it’s been 56 years since Samoa became independent, isn’t it time for the Government to combine the payroll for mission school teachers with Government school teachers?"
“The reason being is that most of the teachers who were teaching at mission schools have left to go teach at government schools because government school has the highest salary that mission schools."
“I just want to put it out there for the Government to think about.”
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi intervened saying that the matter has been in the Government’s plan for so long.
“Private and mission schools have been pushing this issue for the Government to consider,” he said.
“I totally agree with this because it is something that should be done. Cabinet has been talking about this issue for so long because at the end of the day these are all our children who are being taught whether in mission, private or government schools."
“And when it comes to mission schools, nobody can close it down even if it’s expensive, the church cannot close its school because it is important to the church leaders to have these mission schools around so that each student will be able to learn about certain beliefs.”
Tuilaepa went on to say that this is why it is important for the people to support the Government plans.
“This is why the Minister of Revenue is working very hard to find different ways to get money so that the Government can do all of this."
“As you all know, the amount has been increased from $6 million to $13 million next year so that we can be able to help the schools not only mission schools but also private schools."
“However there is a problem and you are all aware of this problem, while the Government is coming up with plans to get money such as the taxing of pastors; some people are opposing the government decision."
“But this is why the Government is coming out strong on this law so we will be able to get money from those organisations who have a lot of money so that we can be able to help out in matters such as this."
“So I acknowledge those who support the Minister of Revenue’s plans in finding ways to get money so that we can help the schools."
“Like I said before in a speech that I made in one of the gatherings, I told them not to worry because as you can see from 1983 it was only $50,000 this year its $6 million and now it’s been passed that next year it will increase to $13 million."
“So in the next 50 years then we will be able to fulfil this request when we will no longer have people who reject to government plans but try and support the work that Ti’alavea is trying to do because this is not my doing this is Ti’alavea’s doing.”