Ministry kicks off teacher recruitment campaign
The Ministry of Education Sports and Culture has kicked off its “be a teacher” campaign in a bid to boost teacher recruitment to address the country’s chronic teacher shortage.
The Ministry has been running awareness on the responsibilities of teachers and the significance of teaching young children, after initial marketing strategies focused on college students as well as workers who did education courses at the tertiary level.
M.E.S.C. Chief Executive Officer, Afamasaga Dr Karoline Afamasaga-Fuata'i confirmed in an interview with the Samoa Observer that the Ministry had kicked off its campaign and they didn’t have a time frame due to the teacher shortage crisis.
She said for now they are targeting students in the upper grades of primary school to get them interested in the profession.
“We are moving to Year 7 and Year 8 children in primary school level to teach them while they are still at the early age of how high the demand that we have in our country for this particular service,” said Afamasaga.
“We are promoting the significance and the importance of a teacher job and tell them about the teacher’s accomplishment and achievement for the benefit of our country.
“So if we pass the message to our young children while they are at the foundation of their educational life, there is a big chance for them to choose teaching as their professional career in the future.”
And there are benefits of reaching out to students at a younger age according to Afamasaga.
“So the purpose is to inform, train and teach more and more children at a young age so that many of them can become teachers and fulfill the demand of teachers in Samoa.
“This shortage of teachers was a long-term problem because many teachers are retired, some teachers travel overseas for different reasons.”
Schools in rural communities appear to be the most affected by the teacher shortage crisis with Afamasaga saying the Ministry needs to deploy more teachers into the rural community.
In January this year the teacher shortage crisis was also raised in the Parliament with the then Vaisigano No.2 M.P. Tapulesatele Tamasone Esera telling the Parliament at that time that the teacher shortage crisis should be addressed and used as an example the Papa Sataua Primary School, where there were more students than teachers.
“We need more teachers, last school year we only had three teachers, yet there are eight classes, this is an issue that’s ongoing,” he said.
“There is also a retired teacher that has been hired temporarily but there is still a need for more teachers for this new school year.”