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Students sit exams under protest

Students around the country on Tuesday sat down to sit exams in subjects such as Maths, Geography and  Gagana Samoa - but not without protest.

A petition opposing the Education Ministry's decision to not postpone the exams gathered more than 200 signatures from students around the country. 

The students co-signed a petition to delay the national examinations but they appear have had no sway over the country's educational authorities who proceeded with scheduled Samoa Secondary Leaving Certificate (S.S.L.C.) exams on Tuesday. 

The petition, addressed to the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.), was created on change.org an entitled ‘Change the SSLC exam dates!!’. At the time of writing it had garnered 208 signatures in two days from students around Samoa.

The petition's creator, Simorina Potoi, of Samoa College pleaded for solidarity from her Year 13 peers around Samoa to say that the Government's decision to resume examinations is unfair due to short notice. 

“Year 13 students of Samoa! We have JUST been notified that our remaining exams for S.S.L.C. will continue next week,” she wrote.

“This is unfair as the country is still on lock-down: over 700 pupils from our age group have not been vaccinated and many students are overseas.

“If you are like me and feel that this decision was rushed and unfair and the exam dates need to change, please help out by signing this petition.”

Last week, M.E.S.C. issued a public notice to inform parents, teachers and students of changes to the Samoa School Leaving Certificate and Samoa School Certificate examination schedules. 

"The rest of the 2019 [Samoa School Certificiate (S.S.C.)] exams are now cancelled," the notice reads.

"The remaining 2019 Year 13 Samoa School Leaving Certificate will begin on Tuesday, 17th December-Friday 20th 2019."

The complete list of affected subjects includes: Gagana Samoa, Agriculture, Development Studies, Mathematics, Health and Physical Education, Geography, Food and Textile Technology, Physics and Music.

Students who are unable to sit exams are expected to provide evidence.

Others who commented on the petition said they felt like sitting exams amidst a national measles epidemic posed a risk to their health.

“I feel that my life will be at risk because the measles outbreak has still not been contained, this also was a rush decision and is unfair as to there are many students who have traveled overseas and who has school in December,” said Eleanor Nelson Hall.

Another student, Lily-Grace Uili, said she does not understand the rationale behind the government's decision to announce the exam details three days before it happened.

“Especially around a time like this where the measles may have died down a bit, but still around and many are still left unvaccinated,” she said.

“They've extended the state of emergency because they need more time but they'll still make teenaged students gather into crowded classrooms while the epidemic is still in the midst?.”

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