School fee initiative for poor students ends

A three-year program me supporting Samoa’s poorest students has come to a close with over 3000 students benefitting from the initiative.

Thanks to China’s Guangdong Huizhou Friendship Scholarship, another 1439 students will have their school fees paid for this year. They join 2436 students who have previously benefited from the initiative. The scholarships were implemented in 40 schools nationwide. 

Felealili and Vaimauga Colleges were awarded $3000 tala each to offer while $200 tala each went to 15 students from low-income families.

Samoa College, who has a sister school in China, Hualuogeng Middle School received $10,000 tala to honour their friendship.

A total of 37 primary schools received funding from China to offer 20 students $100 tala each. 

Chinese Ambassador to Samoa, Wang Xuefeng was present to witness the occasion, give a speech on behalf of the Chinese government, and present the money to the school principals that got scholarships. 

He said the money was intended to help students on the brink of dropping out of college 

Minister for Education, Sports and Culture Loau Solamalemalo Keneti Sio said he thanked the ambassador, and the Chinese people for their continued generous contributions to education.

The three-year program Guangdong Huizhou Friendship Program will end this year. For Mulivai Primary school in Safata, $2,000 tala will go a long way.

Out of 78 students, 20 will receive $100 tala each to pay for their schooling this year, hopefully ensuring they do not quit.

Most of the student’s parents are formally unemployed, said school Principal Lutia Sialofi.

“Mostly they rely on their surroundings, whatever they grow they eat or sell to make some money,” she said.

“It’s not like in Apia, where the parents have full-time jobs.”

Mulivai Primary fees are WST$40 per year and the school uniform can cost around WST$50.

Though hardly any parents pull their children out of school citing financial trouble, the funding will go some way towards easing that everyday burden, the principal said.

The participating schools in Samoa are as follows: Aleisa Primary, Aopo Primary, Aufaga Primary, Faga Primary, Fagalii Primary, Faleapuna Primary, Faleatiu Primary, Falelima Primary, Fasitoo tai Primary, Fusi Primary, Lalomanu Primary, Lalomauga Primary, Lano Primary, Laulii Primary, Leauvaa Primary, Letui Primary, Lotopue Primary, Matatufu Primary, Mulifanua Primary, Mulivai Primary, Paia Primary, Sagone Primary, Saleimoa Primary, Salelesi Primary, Samata i tai Primary, Samatau Primary, Sapoe Primary, Sataua Fagasa Primary, Sauano Primary, Sili Primary, Siufaga Primary, Taga Primary, Tiavea Primary, Tutaga Primary, Uafato Primary, Vailoa Primary, Vaiusu Primary, Falealili College, Vaimauga College

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