Pandemic, paperwork delay school project

The coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic as well as bureaucratic paperwork is delaying the start of work on a new building at the Moata’a Primary School.

School Principal, Vailili F. Tito, confirmed the delay in construction work and revealed that work should have started “a few days ago” but paperwork from the Planning and Urban Management Agency (P.U.M.A.) as well as COVID-19 are delaying the project. 

"The work was supposed to commence a few days ago but because of COVID-19 and some paper work from PUMA and one of the Ministries involved is the cause of our delays," he said in an interview with the Samoa Observer.

The paperwork on building regulatory requirements is in response to correspondence from P.U.M.A. and the Ministry of Works Transport and Infrastructure, which the Principal said are behind the delays.

However, he stated that the Board will have a meeting this Thursday to confirm the dates for the new school building to be built as well as finalise all the project specifications. 

"The Board will meet this coming Thursday to finalise the date to start building our new school which is probably going to be next week. We were waiting for two letters as well, one from P.U.M.A. and one from a Government Ministry responsible for construction permit and work. But I think it is now okay so we're good to go," he added.

But while there appears to be progress in the regulatory processes, Mr Tito said the state of emergency (S.O.E.) brought on by COVID-19 is also delaying the project.

Almost 500 students attend the Moataa Primary school and together with its 16 staff members, including the teacher's assistant from Senese to help students with disability.

"We have almost 500 students and 16 staff members including a teacher's assistant from Senese who helps us in teaching our students with disabilities. We have a few students with disability so that's why we have teachers from Senese to help out," he said.

The new school building will be funded by the Embassy of Japan, which announced the release of US$136,015 ($350,000 tala) in January this year for the project.

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