M.E.S.C. opens new printing facility
The Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture has commissioned a newly refurbished printing facility and resource, thanks to funding from donor partners Australia and Japan totalling $8.8 million.
A ceremony was held at the M.E.S.C. headquarters on Wednesday to unveil the new printing facility and resources, which saw Australia contributing $1.5 million (through Phase II of its AU$13 million 2020–2024 Samoa Education Sector Support Program) and Japan providing a range of heavy duty machinery valued at ¥300 million (WST$7.3 million) which will replace and upgrade aging equipment currently being used by the Ministry’s printing facility.
The current printing facility was previously funded through a Japan International Cooperation Agency (J.I.C.A.) grant assistance in 2001.
The unveiling ceremony was attended by the Minister of Education Loau Keneti Sio, Australia’s High Commissioner to Samoa, Sara Moriarty and the Ambassador of Japan to Samoa, Genichi Terasawa.
Loau said that the new facility marks another achievement by the education sector with the support of development partners and the Government of Samoa.
Highlighting the importance of education, Ms Moriarty said an educated community is important to Samoa’s recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Australia's investment in education is key to securing and improving learning outcomes for Samoans in line with our partnerships for recovery strategy,” she said. “We hope these tools will equip teachers with the resources necessary to improve the quality of education, a crucial element to Samoa’s economic recovery in wake of COVID-19.
“We are very pleased to partner with Japan on this project.”
Emphasising the role that the new printing facility and resource will play in producing learning and assessment material, the Australian High Commissioner described it as an important asset which will be crucial as the world moves into the digital age.
“Our experience working with the education sector shows that we are more effective when we work closely with others,” she added.
She also acknowledged the project management team at M.E.S.C. as well as the design engineers, Kramer Ausenco supervisory team, electrical and the people and government of Japan for donating the printing machines and equipment.
The new M.E.S.C. printing facility’s ability to do mass production of material for textbooks, reading as well as curriculum material excited Mr Terasawa, who sees it having an impact on students in early childhood education to primary and secondary schools.
“We hope this contribution will assist in solving Samoa’s development challenges in the education sector through improving standard and quality of service of printing materials,” he said. “Samoa is now able to customise their own textbooks, reading materials and national examinations through these machines that will enhance affordability and accessibility by students and teachers.
“A collaboration between like-minded partners like Australia and Japan makes it possible to provide larger-scale and higher-quality development assistance for Samoa.
“I am happy to work with Australia for this project for promoting the quality of education for the children of Samoa.”
Other guests at the new printing facility's unveiling included the M.E.S.C. Chief Executive Officer, Afamasaga Dr. Karoline Afamasaga-Fuata'i and the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) President and Vice Chancellor, Professor Alec Ekeroma.