Parents, teachers unite at Sagaga District
A School Inspector has got teachers and parents in a district to join forces to promote the education of their children during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Veteran educator and school inspector for Sagaga District, Lafaitele Aiga Esera, is the mastermind behind an education programme that was initiated after the country went into lockdown following the declaration of a state of emergency [S.O.E.] in March this year.
She told the Samoa Observer that the programme was formulated for all schools in the district, which focused on Year 1 students.
"We started this programme for all the schools in this district [Sagaga district],” she said. "We started it with just Year 1 students.
"The idea to start this program was initiated when the country was on lockdown and there were no schools. Then when school started to open again and limiting the number of students coming to school on selected days.
"Therefore, we decided to come up with a plan and an idea so we can reach out to the students, so that even when they are not coming to school, they still get to learn and be updated with the curriculum.”
Subsequently, the schools in the district started reaching out to the parents, and getting them to take responsibility for their children’s learning and by keeping learning materials at home.
"So we decided to go out to the parents and started sharing with them some of the ways we can help our students with, so they do not have to struggle or lose interest in school when they come to school,” Lafaitele added. "The idea was to give parents learning materials so they can teach their children at home. That was where the idea was born."
And since the programme started, Lafaitele said they’ve been receiving positive feedback, as students are confident attending school as they know what to expect in terms of lessons.
"Ever since we started, our students are more motivated to come to school having a fair idea of what they are expected to do in school. It also helps out with the teacher's load,” she said. "The parents are also happy they get to help out and are now proud of the ability they have to assist with their children's work."
Lafaitele is a strong believer of sharing responsibilities, especially when it comes to child learning and getting the parents involved has its merits.
"We have also invited the parents to come in and see how well their children are performing and to get an idea of what their children are lacking in the classrooms so they can note them down and work on that when they get home,” she said. "This was instilled in our hearts by God so we have to execute his plan for the future of our children and this country."
Afega Primary School Committee head, Maulolo Lino Pogai, praised the programme as it has enabled parents to work with their children and together take ownership of their learning.
"This is a really good programme for the students," said Maulolo. "We always say that parents have a part to play, but the reality is that when kids come home with their school work, us, parents hardly pay attention to that or even help them out.
"That's why we are really grateful for this programme. It helps with our children learning and also our parents as well.
“This is a way for them (parents) to understand what happens in school and they will be able to sit down and share what they know with their children, so that when the children go back to school, they are in the mood of learning and to make them interested."
Maulolo Faifua, a parent at Afega Primary School shared the same sentiment.
"To me as a parent, this is a very good initiative," said Maulolo. "It has taught us so many skills and different ways to keep our children in line and interested. It's a learning opportunity for all of us and we appreciate this initiative.
"Moving forward, this will help make the workload so much. We all have a part to play and we are very happy to be helping out with the work that our teachers do in the classroom."
Another parent, Simea Avei-Meafou is appreciative of those who started the programme.
"This has been amazing and we love the programme," Simea told the Samoa Observer.
"We got to learn about various ways that we can contribute as parents to our children's learning. Usually, we don't pay attention to what the kids bring home from school and we leave most of the work to the teachers.
"But we are proud and happy to be involved and be able to help our kids and also the teachers.” We do appreciate the effort that was put into making this programme. It's a wonderful programme and we enjoy being part of this and share it with our children."
According to Year 1 teacher, Kolopa Sefo, there have been improvements in students' performances since the programme started.
She also acknowledged the support, involvement and commitment of parents who are involved with the programme.
Afega Primary School has also hosted other fun learning activities such as Spelling Bee competition in both English and Samoan on Wednesday, as they wrap up school work for this term.