Education C.E.O calls on teachers to redefine practices
Teachers need to be creative, resourceful and imaginative in their teaching practices.
So says Afamasaga Dr. Karoline Afamasaga-Fuata’i, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, who has been reappointed to the position for another three years (see story).
Afamasaga made the point during an interview with the Weekend Observer, responding to a statement made by the principal of Vaipua and Fogasavaii Primary School, Leapai Sakiasi Tapuai on the decline in literacy and numeracy levels in rural areas.
She said there are always challenges surrounding literacy and numeracy, but principals and teachers hold the key to solving them if they adopt more creative teaching methods.
“But the creativeness and resourcefulness of looking out the classroom need to be linked to the curriculum,” Afamasaga told the Weekend Observer.
“We don’t have to get ‘palagi’ stuff to learn. What we expect the teachers to know is to comprehend what the results are saying because those are facts of actual students learning based on a set of questions, but we can interpret and refer back to the curriculum and question the practices.
“If the results are good, then something good is happening in the school, if the results are not so good then you have to reflect on that and what you did the previous year, and find the solution, and the people to do that are the principal and teachers at the school level.
“The answer is taking the school results and determining how yours lie in relation to that, so that you know whether or not you are above the national average or below, and if you are below, then you need to consider your practices.”
Afamasaga said daily cultural practices in families shouldn’t stop students from learning beyond their classrooms, and the role of parents especially mothers is important in driving the learning process. On family issues faced by teachers, the C.E.O. said there are internal controls implemented by the Ministry to help monitor and regulate teachers’ punctuality.
“There is a sign book, everyone signs in. The internal control is that the sign book is sent in every week to the Ministry and that’s how we pick up on teachers’ performance.
“So when we notice late signing in, we take measures to follow up as to the reasons. It’s a practical part of life when you are working, that there are times that you do not come in on time, so when we get reports of late arrivals at work, we scrutinise for a period of time, and it can lead, if it continues, to leave without pay.
“And it’s a collective responsibility of the community where the school is to report on such late attendance, and it’s also the responsibility of the principal. So when it happens we move to address it because the students are supposed to have teachers.”
Afamasaga said principals need to manage their staff for the sake of the children.