A $3 million I.C.T. project, designed to help over 5,300 young Samoans between the ages of 8 and 25, was officially opened yesterday, by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi.
Located at the former hostel accommodation of Samoa College at Vaivase, High Tech Youth Network (H.T.Y.N.) Studio, the project will complement and extend young people’s school engagement, and create opportunities through an additional programme called Tech Shed.
New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa, David Nicholson, highlighted the importance of the facility.
“We live in a digital world where information, technology and communication is constantly moving, developing, and being reimagined,” he said.
“Young people are the forefront of I.C.T. and New Zealand is delighted to have invested NZD $1.3 million in this facility, that aims to support Samoa in growing the I.C.T. skills and capacity of its youth.
“The programmes available through the High Tech Youth Network Studio will provide learning opportunities in I.C.T., broadcasting and T.V. for young people, both in and out of school.
“It leverages the idea of young people being early adopters of technology and gives them access, space and resources to lead Samoa in creating a strong digital future to establish careers that are technology-based, to engage in higher learning and developing social enterprise.”
According to the information paper issued by the H.T.Y.N., the studio is an informal learning programme delivering cyber-expanded learning opportunities (E.L.O.) aimed at complementing what students learn at school by providing additional digital resources (including software), mentoring and innovative learning methods, and connection to the student’s community and family.
This includes after-school and holiday programmes.
Each H.T.Y.N. Studio is a place for young people to explore, collaborate and engage.
The students run their own projects, in their studios, which are shared among each other and presented to media partners and to the local community.
H.T.Y.N. also offers programmes such as graphic design, 3D design, designing and making web pages, and film and music
Furthermore, the programme could establish a pathway of Post-Secondary Education Training (P.S.E.T.) and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (T.V.E.T.) currently not available in Samoa.
Creative artists and designers could learn to use modern technology for their crafts, opening ways to career opportunities in the media, and fashion and design industry, in Samoa, as well as abroad.
As there is currently no provider of this kind of training in Samoa, the establishment of the H.T.Y.N. Studio will provide valuable support for the young generation of Samoa.