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Twists and turns call for Political Science programme

The twists and turns in the political climate in Samoa has highlighted the need for a Political Science programme at the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.).

With almost 60 years of independence under her belt, Samoa’s university students and the community need the programme, says Author, Historian and N.U.S. Lecturer, Leasiolagi Dr. Malama Meleisea.

“That component of a regional or international contextualising on what’s happening here is a function of a political science department at this point," he said.

"With almost 60 years of independence we should be mature enough to sit back, reflect and critique and try and include the community."

Leasiolagi believes the community is much more informed than it was 10, 15 or 20 years ago.

“We have much more access to the internet, media, education and so on….as I said before that information is…thrown out in bits and pieces and not coherently in terms of perspectives and arguments and so on. 

"We should have a political science department…it’s part of society. It adds to the academic and analytical for students and I think it would make a useful contribution to our process of democratic country,” Leaosiolagi said.

 “In the context of a country that has almost 60 years of independence and even before that the political development of Samoa historically has been very interesting and I think a lot of people, it has been my experience here and overseas, a lot of people are very interested in that, the whole build up to independence and what happened and the policies and attitudes of colonial administrations.”

Samoa, he added, has a lot of interesting issues that our society has evolved into and has had to cope with which are not, in a sense, being discussed in details in public.

“I think people are quite happy to read or hear or listen to Parliament or read the paper, on social media…and provide commentaries. All of which seem to be quite unstructured and certainly not coherent in terms of any argument,” said Leasiolagi.

“And maybe that is the reason why. We could say that the lack of a political science program at N.U.S., we are now seeing the result of that in terms of the analysis and the critique that people are providing and saying in terms of what is currently happening.”

An N.U.S. political science programme would assist to provide an informed public on the nature of political issues, he said.

“There is a tendency for people to think this sort of navel-gazing approach to what’s happening….there is a tendency to think that what’s happening in Samoa is unique that we are special…to a certain extent, our content and our structure makes the things that happen here unique but all of these issues are quite common not only in the Pacific but elsewhere,” Leasiolagi said.

“It’s an interesting issue and I really don’t know why we don’t have a political science department. Maybe it will probably fit within the current faculty structure of the Faculty of Arts. I don’t why they haven’t introduced that. Maybe it’s a lack of graduates or maybe it might have something to do with the nature of the topic and/or student interest although I’m sure there’ll be lots of student interest if a program like that was launched.”

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