Teachers uninformed about Govt.'s education overhaul

The Samoa National Teachers’ Association (S.N.T.A) is unaware of Government plans to extensively overhaul the nation’s education system including examinations in the final years of school. 

The President of S.N.T.A., Matafeo Lesaisaea Reupena, told the Samoa Observer they were unaware of the radical proposals despite them having far-reaching effects across secondary schools. 

“I’m not aware of that,” Matafeo said. 

That is despite the new proposed changes being raised by the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.), Loau Keneti Sio in a parliament session last month.  

Despite not consulting with teachers, Government representatives have also gone on television and spoken to state-owned media to spruik the benefits of the major changes. 

The new changes will have all Year 10 students in secondary schools sit the School Certificate (S.S.C.) exams which were originally for Year 12 students.

Matafeo added that there was no discussion on the new proposed changes.

“I am also not aware if the secondary schools’ Principals were informed but we don’t know about it,” he said.

When the M.E.S.C. Minister was contacted by the Samoa Observer for a comment, he referred to the Chief Executive Officer of M.E.S.C., Afamasaga Dr. Karoline Afamasaga-Fuata’i, saying he was not aware of the matter. 

Afamasaga was asked for a comment on the new proposed changes but refused to be interviewed by this newspaper; instead, she said that a press release will be prepared and that she already conducted an interview with a different media outlet and did not want to have to repeat herself.

However, Loau granted an interview with a government-owned media outlet - the Savali Newspaper.

He revealed to the Government-owned newspaper that the new proposed changes tabled by his Ministry are part of reforms to overhaul the present system to ensure that students are afforded every opportunity to realise their potential in both academic and vocational courses. 

Loau said his new change will provide educators with an early indication of student’s strengths either in academics, vocational or trade courses.

He also explained that there are no assessments for College students from Year 9 until Year 12 when they take the S.S.C. exams. 

However, the new system will benefit from both students and educators in determining their future career paths. 

“Studies showed that students who decide upon a major in their first year at college have higher chances of actually graduating than those who have yet to define a career path,” Loau speaking to the Savali newspaper.

“And that is without a doubt. These college students will be focused on achieving a specific goal they’ve set out to achieve.

“They will also have a clear and defined pathway – in terms of subjects to take – to achieve that degree or diploma.” 

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