Savai’i students claim measles orders left them in limbo

The cancellation of national exams and the abrupt closure of schools by the Government has been criticised by students on the big island of Savai’i.

The cancellations are part of the measles outbreak state of emergency orders issued by the Government last weekend.

For Albert Alapati from Safotu, he said the decision has left them in limbo.

“There are a lot of questions in my mind at the moment,” said the Year 13 Science student at Alofi-o-Taoa College.

“They made the decision when we only had two more papers left. They said they will let us know when to continue with the remaining papers. So at the moment, we don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

Mr. Alapati said it would have been better off if the Government had cancelled the exams at the start.

 “I finished three of my subjects last week and was looking forward to give my all to the remaining two left for this week.

“I was mentally prepared for it. We’ve been working hard all year for this moment and it’s just sad they had to stop it while we’re almost at the finish line.”

The 16-year-old said it has always been his dream to make his family proud by qualifying for the University Foundation class at the National University of Samoa.

 “So if by January next year and measles is still around, what’s going to happen to us? What are other ways that they are looking at? How are we going to enter the National University next year?”

Lemalie Iosi, a Year 12 student at Alofi-o-Taoa College, echoed similar sentiments.

“I guess for us, it’s not as bad at the Year 13 students,” he said.

“There is always next time and next year for us. However, I feel bad for the Year 13 students as the continuation of their studies depends heavily on their performance this year.

“I feel like they should’ve continued the exams for them (Year13) and asked only the sick ones to stay home.”

Mr. Iosi said measles will have a tremendous impact on students and their studies this year.

 “Cancelling the exams means they will wait for further notice and by the time they allow the exams to continue, the students might already have forgotten everything they have revised.”

A Bachelor of Education at Primary level student feels the same.

 “I have one more exam to go,” she told Samoa Observer.

“I wanted to get it over with so I can relax and have some family time and prepare for the festive season.

“It’s my final paper and was really looking forward to finishing it as I have prepared and worked hard for it.

“Unfortunately for us, we have to wait for another order of when we can continue our remaining papers.”

But Millie Laufou Manase, from Saleaula, does not agree. She said health and safety is paramount and the Government has made the right decision.

 “It is always better to prevent the spread of the disease to save lives,” she said.

“I know it’s only because they want to control the spread of the disease before it gets worse. Lives are more important than exams.”

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