Lack of English understanding the biggest stumbling block

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Dear Editor, 

When our three-year contract as Core Trainers for M.E.S.C’s New Bilingual Curriculum for primary schools ran out towards the end of 2013, we were directed to prepare reports on how each subject had progressed. 

The reports were to be presented in the presence of the then C.E.O and Management. 

In the report for Team Social Studies, we focused mainly on the enormous struggles by many principals/teachers in the primary level to cope with the level of English the new curriculum is written.

The new Social Studies with its terminology, concepts/ideas/issues is way beyond many teachers reach.

We also stressed that without proper qualifications (degree, diploma) for teachers, the road to quality education is but a very long, long one. 

We believed that serious inadequacy in teachers’ understanding of English is and will remain the biggest stumbling – block in achieving quality education which is the aim of the new bilingual curriculum. 

Four years after delivering our reports, it’s interesting to note that a report titled “Report slams education system” published in the 26th April 2017 edition of the Samoa Observer, appears to have supported our observations. 

It’s our view that quality in educations can/will never be realized if we don’t have quality teachers who have the English and confidence to implement the new bilingual curriculum. 

E le o se fiapoko o se isi fa’amolemole. Ae ta te tautala i le mea moni ua ou fa’alogo ma va’ai iai. I la’u lava molimau o le to’atele o nai uluaoga ma faiaoga i aoga tulagalua (primary schools), e le taitai lava le silafia i le igilisi, e malamalama ai i “mea” la e aumai i le new curriculum. Ou te tautala lava a’u mo le Social Studies. Ua mamafa tele mo le to’atele o faiaoga. 

O le siitaga maualuga o le content o le Social Studies ua pogisa atoa ai le lalolagi o le to’atele o faiaoga. 

Ae i lo’u lava taofi – e le o faigata le mataupu, ae ona o le fa’aletonu o le silafia o faiaoga. Aua o le tulaga tonu lea ua tatau ona siitia iai le maualuga o mataupu, ina ia o gatasi ai ma a’oa’oga i isi atunu’u. A fa’apefea ona maua le “quality”, e iai uluaoga e le malamalama i nai vaega faigofie o le kalama o le igilisi. 

O le mafua’aga autu o le faaletonu o nai faiaoga, aemaise i latou e leai ni tikeri/tipiloma, ona o tulaga lava na oo iai lo latou a’oa’oina i tausaga ua mavae. 

Manatua foi, o le toatele o tamaiti sa ulufale i le Kolisi Fa’afaiaoga i Malifa (TTC) i na aso, o tamaiti ua maea a latou vasega Form 5. E seasea ni tamaiti na su’e i le SC poo le UE ona fia avea ma faiaoga. 

E tele lava i le saili o galuega fa’aofisa, po’o le sauna e fa’asikolasipi. A tu’u loa iai ma le vaega lea na ulufale i le “ka’isi ma le moa”, o iina tonu lea e tupu ai le fa’alavelave. 

O lea ou te manatua e iai tamaiti na ulufale i le TTC ina ua maea suega o le SC. Peitai e lei uma le tausaga muamua, ae toe fa’amamulu ma o e su’e galuega. Ae iai se vaega toaitiiti sa fa’aauau pea e pei o le afioga ia Malama Meleisea, Aiga Esera, Petaia Tuaniu, Sitanilei Sitanilei, e iai ma isi ua ou le manatua. 

Ou te le tu’ua’ia faiaoga i lo latou fa’aletonu. Ou te tu’u’aia le le maua o avanoa e faalautele ai lo latou silafia, aemaise o mataupu ua aafia i le curriculum fou. 

Ae ou te talitonu, ana faapea o le STC ma le NUS (FOE), sa fa’atu i o matou vaitaimi, ou te talitonu, a le vave le ‘alo a le Pulesili o le MESC, e molali i le anoanoa’i o le quality e felelei atu i lona Ofisa. 

E ui lava i le taumafaiga mae’ae’a a le Matagaluega e fa’aliiu fa’asamoa le Social Studies (o se galuega faigata), e le malamalama ai foi le to’atele o faiaoga. E le o se agaga-vale i nai faiaoga, ae ona o le pau lava o le tulaga ua oo iai sa latou taumafai. 

Atonu e fa’atulai mai se fesili – ao a la tou mea sa fai i le 3 tausaga o le polokalame? O le tali, sa taumafai malosi e a’oa’o faiaoga ina ia malamalama i “vaega faigata” o le Social Studies. 

Peitai, e le alofia le tulai mai o luitau, e mafua ona o le tulaga o iai le soifua a’oa’oina o le to’atele o uluaoga/faiaoga. 

E fa’apefea la ona maua le quality o loo taumafai le MESC e tulitulia’upu?

O so ta vaiviga – ua tatau ona matua faamalosia le professional development mo faiaoga uma. But even this, I doubt it will succeed given the level of education for many teachers in primary schools. 

Ol e isi itu, ua tatau loa ona matua faamalosia le fa’amalolo o faiaoga e leai ni fa’ailoga toe le perform. 

It’s my view that it’s better, so much better to have a class of 100 students taught by one qualify teacher then dividing that same number of students into 3 small classes then left the poor children to the mercy of the “waste time – poor English – always absent from classes – not marking pupils’ books – well past the prime”, teachers. 

Fa’amolemole, e iai faiaoga e leai ni tikeri/tipiloma ae o le makua mea lelei lava. They are still at it, leaders of the pack and proving a credit to MESC. Absolutely! Well done guys!

And finally – e le o se mataupu (ripoti a le Observer), e fa’apopoleina ai le tofa i lau Afioga i le Matua o Usoalii. E le se fa’afitauli fou, ua leva. O lou fa’alagiga – o oe “e te matematea malo”. O la’u mate, e le o toe mamao, ae o tatou maua malo, i lou tulai mai. 

E le ke’ike’i vale se Polofesa, aemaise se alo fa’asino i se tasi o Asiasia’oga i tausaga ua mavae. 

Alofa atu 

 

Maiava A. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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