P.M. Tuilaepa responds to Scientology concerns

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, says using educational resources based on the works of the Church of Scientology Founder, Ron L. Hubbard, does not mean Samoa is accepting his religious beliefs.

"This is about education and literacy; not about indoctrination of religious beliefs," Tuilaepa said in his written response emailed to the Samoa Observer. 

"There is a difference between using these educational resources and accepting this kind of religious belief.

"As you are aware Samoa is a country founded on God and freedom of religion is in our constitution and is a fundamental human right," added Tuilaepa.

Last month, the Samoa Observer published an article on teaching materials based on the work of Church of Scientology Founder, L. Ron Hubbard, that is being trialed in six local primary schools. 

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The six schools include, Faleula, Vaimea, Aele, Vaitele, Safotulafai and Faga primary schools on the islands of Upolu and Savai’i.  

Tuilaepa, who witnessed the donation of 10,000 books from Applied Scholastics International titled “Learning How To Learn” to the M.E.S.C., last year, said the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture’s partnership with A.S.I. in utilising its learning methods, is purely for educational purposes and ultimately to improve our children’s literacy. 

The learning method is called "Study Technology".

When the P.M was asked if Samoa as a Christian state should be meddling with the work of the Church of Scientology founder, he was adamant that it is about education and literacy only.

"The focus is on reading skills, using the dictionary as an effective tool and dealing with barriers that impede understanding and comprehension. 

"As reported by M.E.S.C., the results for literacy and numeracy in schools especially at primary level have declined, as shown in the National Results for SPELL I and II. And Government is using these resources to try and alleviate those challenges," he said.

The pilot project is for two years and covers six primary schools, four in Upolu and two in Savaii, said Tuilaepa.

Although six schools are now using the resources, more schools have jumped on board to be part of the programme.

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