The Tautua Samoa Party has proposed to establish a ‘National Education Fund’ to allow students to seek help to pay for College and tertiary studies.
This is one of the many plans the Party has in store, should they win the General Elections on 4 March 2016.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, the Party’s Shadow Minister of Finance, Afualo Dr. Wood Salele said the initiative reflects the Tautua Samoa’s commitment to education.
“At the moment, the government has subsidized education covering the tuition for Yr 1 – Yr 8 and now Yr 9 – Yr 11 because that is under the New Zealand and Australian Aid,” he said.
“However, the way I see it and from the module that we are looking at, it seems that the government has now taken up the mandate to provide this education financially from Year 1 up to Year 11 but are leaving the Year 12 up to the tertiary level to the parents. For us this is quite irresponsible.
“When you lay down policies, there has to be responsibility within but it should also be delivered with love because with this current policy I see that there is no love in it at all.
“How can they (government) leave the most crucial part of the children’s education to the parents? This is the most expensive part of the child’s education so this is where this education plan will come in.”
Afualo said there are three components of the module they are proposing.
“The first is the parents, the second one is the state and the third is the client which are the students,” he said. “We gave a lot of thought to this and the thinking is that all three must make contributions. Therefore from Year 1 up to Year 8 at this moment and even the future it’s still affordable for the parents because it’s only about $20 tala per term, which is not much.
“So if we leave that to the parents and have the government concentrate on Yr 9 – Yr 13 which is the most crucial part of education. This is where the Fund will come in.”
Afualo said the Fund would cover everyone – including private and mission schools.
“The whole wisdom behind this tripartite module is to make sure that the parents have a say in educating the students and the state will come in the middle and of course whatever is left up in the tertiary.”
Asked where this will leave the current scholarship programme, he said: “We will not abandon the scholarships, they will always be around and they will be up for competition from the students.”