New school Wi-Fi project proposed
Plans for a free Wi-Fi school project in Savai'i rolled out by Netvo Samoa and the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party could be revived, this time targeting church schools.
The new plans come after an earlier project to connect public schools in Savai’i to the internet was stopped by the Regulator last month, which refused to grant it a “spectrum” licence, ending its future.
But the new Netvo project is planned to target church-run, not Government schools.
The plans were revealed by the leader of F.A.S.T., La'auli Leuatea Schmidt, during an interview with the Samoa Observer last week-end.
La'auli said the idea sprung from consultations with different denominations as part of the party’s preparations for the April election.
"What we are doing is seeking opinions from the different denominations in the country and their views on how to improve the relationship between the churches and Government," said La'auli.
"They've already given us their blessings, but we are gathering their opinions and views."
This includes the churches' involvement in formulating laws and legislation, said La'auli.
The churches have been asked about their roles and stance regarding the legislations and changes being proposed by the Government, added La'auli.
The discussions have been fruitful so far, said La'auli, after meeting with three different denominations.
Asked to highlight some of the major concerns raised by the churches, La'auli said:
"One of the issues that suggested to us was the Government's assistance in terms of education. Especially with the salaries of the teachers teaching at the different colleges belonging to the different churches in Samoa.
"This also includes a loan scheme for students as stated in our manifesto.
"The other issue is regarding our youths; how to utilise the youth and we discussed ways we can help solve the issue of unemployment and violence.
"So we are looking at the possible creation of potential farmers targeting those who have dropped out of schools so they can earn an income for their families."
La'auli said discussions are being made for the possibility of rolling out the free wifi project for different church's schools.
"We are looking at that (project) and review all the possible ways we can utilise such project for the benefits of the schools belonging to the churches in Samoa,” he said.
However, he did not go into details of the discussions as they are yet to finalise all the recommendations from the different denominations in Samoa.
The party last week met with the leaders of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa, Seventh Day Adventist and the Assembly of God.
It has not yet been made clear how the proposed new WiFi project would circumvent the obstacles put up to block the earlier version of the project.
The first project was subject to an investigation from the Regulator questioning the legality of the project without obtaining a license prior to its rollout.
La’auli, at the time of its cancellation, conceded there had been some “issues” with the rollout but he condemned its cancellation for depriving school children of opportunities for what he said were political reasons.
This week, the party will meet with leaders from the Methodist church, Catholic church, Samoan Independent Seventh Day Adventist.