Principals warned against asking students for food

By Tina Mata'afa-Tufele 15 October 2021, 12:00PM

The Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.) has advised school Principals to refrain from asking students for food.

The notice was issued as nationwide primary assessments, the Samoa Primary Education Literacy Levels (S.P.E.L.L.) and the Samoa National Assessments of Primary Education (S.N.A.P.E.) kicked off on Thursday for students in Years 2, 4, 6 and 8.

Signed by Assistant Chief Executive Officer (A.C.E.O.) Mamea Vau Peseta-Afamasaga, the communique is addressed to Principals across primary schools and colleges.

The directive reminds that M.E.S.C. regulations disallow gathering food from school students who are taking their exams this week is not allowed.

Students in Year 2, Year 4, Year 6 and Year 8 began their exams with numeracy testing on Thursday.

On Friday, students will be assessed for Samoan language and reading.

Assessments continue through next week and conclude on Friday.

Early this week, M.E.S.C. officials appeared in the second episode of the ministry’s new television programme Faailo Ao, to share information on testing and assessments.

Funeali’i Lumaava So’oa’emalelagi, a senior official at the testing and assessments division of M.E.S.C., said the tests which students are currently taking is to gauge their levels of comprehension.

Test results for students in Year 2 will help to structure learning for the student the following year in Year 3 and so on.

S.P.E.L.L. is helpful to prepare students for the college level, she said.

“The reason for this test is to see where the student needs help so teachers will know when the student goes to the next level,” said Ms. So’oa’emalelagi.

“We want to test children to see if they are comprehending curriculum numbers and reading and language arts. Our dream is that Year 12 students will have good comprehension and are ready for when they sit for the Samoa School Leaving Certificate (S.L.C.C.).”

However, she pointed out that there are some students who reach Year 12 and Year 13 who cannot pass the S.LC.C.

Further, S.P.E.L.L. is a diagnostic tool that helps teachers determine where each child’s strengths and weaknesses lie and to monitor their improvement or decline.

With the information gathered from diagnostics, educators create targeted intervention plans. The plans cannot be made without information that indicates each student’s weaknesses and strengths.

Parents have been advised by M.E.S.C. to refrain from changing their child’s name unless it has been done legally.

M.E.S.C. says parents often change a child’s name causing confusion with recordkeeping. 

Each student upon registering with M.E.S.C. receives a Student Identification Number (S.I.N.). The number is important because the M.E.S.C. system uses it to file each student’s information including test results.

Ms. So’oa’emalelagi asks parents to please prepare their children mentally for testing this week and the next.

“Students must be happy when they arrive for testing…don’t worry them too much…make sure they have breakfast in the morning…give them Samoan food, it’s good for the brain. Save the Bic Mac for another time, “ she said.

Food provided by students for educators and administrators has been a long topic of debate. 

Some parents want the practice of providing food for school teachers and administrators banned while some parents say they provide food for the teachers and administrators on their own free will, out of the goodness of their hearts.

In some places, the village supports the school by assigning families with certain days to provide breakfast and lunch for the teachers and administrators.


By Tina Mata'afa-Tufele 15 October 2021, 12:00PM
Samoa Observer

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