Teacher shortage Minister's top priority

The Minister of Education Seuula Ioane has picked out the shortage of quality teachers in primary schools as a priority area and aims to address the crisis while in office.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer on Tuesday, the Minister for Education Sports and Culture said the shortage was the biggest crisis currently facing his Ministry and it needs to be addressed. 

To achieve higher standards more people are needed on staff, Seuula said, and the hope is to increase the number of teachers while also upskilling the teachers.

Seuula was amongst 13 cabinet Ministers who were sworn in under a marquee on 24 May 2021 in front of a locked Parliament House which was validated by the Appellate Court last month when it installed the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) Government. 

Prior to entering politics, he was the principal for Tufutafoe Primary School for many years.

He explained during the interview that teachers in primary schools usually teach seven subjects, unlike college teachers who only teach three to four subjects, which according to him is why teachers usually opt for college teaching positions.

Seuula said that primary school teachers stay in school until it finishes compared to college teachers, who go home after the class is over.

In 2016 the Samoa Government directed the National University of Samoa to roll out the Teacher Upgrade Programme, in a bid to increase the skills of all primary and secondary education teachers who then graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in education.

Seuula had referred to the programme during the interview, saying that there was a need to increase the number of teachers in the country in order to raise standards.

The Minister said he was also keen to overcome students’ apparent aversion to science and mathematics and emphasised that science and mathematics programmes were needed to try and capture the interests of students in these subjects at the grassroots level.

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