Student laments scholarships' bias to science

A Year 13 student is sad that most of the country’s undergraduate scholarships are being awarded to science students.

Mah Yuen made the point during the recent 84th Extraordinary Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The Year 13 student at St Mary’s College raised concerns that opportunities are limited for young Samoans like herself to pursue studies as more scholarships offered by the Government and donor partners go to science-major students.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer after her presentation, Ms Yuen said it would have been good if more scholarships were awarded for students taking other streams, and not just science which is a priority for Government.

"It would be better if there were more scholarships, for example, maybe other countries can contribute to the scholarships so they can provide more benefits for us as well and for the other faculties too,” she said. “Some students have the marks for scholarships but didn't receive a scholarship because more of the scholarships were given to the science faculty."

According to the Year 13 student, her concerns also cover sports scholarships that are offered to Samoans.

"I am not only talking about the academic scholarships but also the sports scholarships. It is very limited and even the majority of the scholarships go to the Science faculty but really there are specific careers some kids would want to go to," she added.

A St. Mary’s College teacher, Annie Mauga, told the Samoa Observer that the only chance students receive a foreign-funded scholarship is when they undergo their university preparatory year programme at the National University of Samoa (N.U.S).

"It is only when they achieve a certain level in their academic achievements that they are being given a scholarship. So I think what Mariyon is trying to say is about scholarships for students who have other vocational talents besides academics, maybe for students who are good in sports such as netball,” she added.

For the sports scholarship, Mrs. Mauga said Ms. Yuen is talented in sports so she understands where her student is coming from, in terms of her concerns. 

"I can understand where she is coming from being a sports person, because she is quite talented in all the sports that I know of that we offer in our school. It is good that she is speaking out from her own experience and from her own point of view as a sports person."

Ms. Yuen aims to major in environmental science after she completes her secondary education.

Questions have been sent to the Government about the concerns.

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