Ti’otala Setu has a simple theory about education.
The 80-year-old from Salelologa believes that if the people of his generation had the educational opportunities being offered to today’s generation, Samoa will be a lot more advanced.
Ti’otala said students of today have no excuse for failing.
He recalls schooling back in the day as not being as luxurious as now. He remembers using stone tablets as books rather than having paper ones.
“There have been many very big changes in Samoa,” he told the Village Voice.
“Just like this school. It’s good to have Don Bosco located here in Savaii and it’s also nice to see that the pastor’s houses are located within the compound.
“Having houses in school compounds can allow members of the church to stay in here as well as some of the staff.”
Ti’otala says that compared to his schooling days, their schools weren’t given as much attention as they do now.
“There wasn’t anything like this back in the days where educational institutions were never given much attention,” he said.
“We were taught in Samoan huts (Fale Samoa). Back then we used stone tablets to write on and the schools weren’t this luxurious.
“Look at the students now; they have everything to make their schooling easier.”
But on the other hand, Ti’otala says that the simplicity of school in the past was in some ways better than the sophisticated educational system today.
He also prefered the partnership parents and teachers shared back then.
“On the bright side, the simplicity of it all was nice and peaceful,” he said.
“We did everything with joy and I guess that’s important. The parents would also work together with the teachers. They understood the hardships of being a teacher so they would feed them when they had the chance.
“Nowadays it’s very different, the parents just whine about the teacher’s ability to do their job yet they don’t want to do anything to help. I prefer the schooling mentality in those days to now.”
Although he prefers simple schooling, Ti’otala still feels that Savaii’s educational system should get the same attention as Upolu.
“What’s good for Savaii is also good for Upolu,” he said.
“We need more schools at this level. It would be nice to see more people coming over to this island to build more schools. I want to see more attention given to the education of the Savaii children; just like they give to those in Upolu. “There have been some changes but Savaii needs more of this. It will help keep the children in check and at the same time, give them an education.”
With more and more colleges popping up in Savaii, Ti’otala says it’s great because it takes the preassure off of the parents to give their children an education.
“Having colleges here will also stop the unnecessary travelling,” he said.
“Upolu is really far to send our children to get an education so it’s good to have colleges popping up everywhere in Savaii.
“It was a hassle trying to send our children to Upolu back in those days. We would have to search for family members who will take care of the children while they schooled. It was a big problem for us.
“Times have changed here in Savaii but it’s for the betterment of the parents, children and the whole island.”