P.M. appeals for school tree planting focus

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has appealed to schools to introduce tree planting as part of their students’ learning programs.

In his New Year’s Day address recently, the Prime Minister said 2019 should be the year of planting more trees.

“Let us start now by teaching our children to plant more trees and to care for the environment,” he said.

But teaching children to plant more trees should not cost any extra, Tuilaepa said, but rather a strong curriculum.

“You don’t really need to expend funds,” he said.

“What is necessary is to programme education for children so that they can use their time to plant.”

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He suggested including tree planting in the sports component of the curriculum, and for teachers to be able to lead that activity.

Schools shouldn’t require any extra instruments or resources to help children plant trees, or learn more deeply about conservation or climate change, Tuilaepa continued.

“All you need to do is get a mele’i, dig the ground and put the plant there,” he said.

“We have been doing that kind of thing ever since we were young. In other words, we are doing things Samoan style. We have to think like Samoans, and behave like Samoans.”

Thinking like a Samoan means doing your bit for your country with pride, said Tuilaepa, not for the funding.

“You don’t pay for every activity; you also have to remember that it is your contribution."

“In Samoa, that’s a Samoan custom. You do things out of pride for your country.”

Last September, Bank of the South Pacific (B.S.P) ran a school beautification competition called Go Green, where schools competed to build gardens and recycled crafts, and learn about conservation in the process.

First place for gardening and landscaping was Samoa Primary School, who won T$2400. Principal Anne Leauga said the funds would go towards buying new gardening equipment and plants, which aren’t cheap.

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