Alan Ah Mu
APIA: THURSDAY 23 JANUARY 2014: American Samoa’s recruitment drive for teachers is a challenge to the Ministry of Education here.
“If we had an excess number of teachers this would be one market for them,” Minister of Education, Magele Mauiliu Magele, told Parliament this morning.
But there was concern expressed in Parliament about American Samoa recruiters arriving with attractive packages when teachers are in short supply here.
Most particularly Science and Math teachers – which American Samoa is short of too and a target of their recruitment campaign in Samoa.
Headed by the Director of Educatuion in the territory, the recruitment drive has attrached some thrity local teachers for interviews at the Insel Ferhman Hotel at Moto’otua. They are also targeting teachers who can teach in English and Samoan given Amercian Samoas recent shift to use more of the Samoan language as education delivery in the classrooms. This follows thirty years of low pass rates with a system that focuses more on English as the language of instruction.
Magele said the problem with teacher shortage exists in two thirds of the world.
He told Parliament that he went to New Zealand to ask for such teachers in November last year but his counterpart there said he had just returned from Singapore where he’d gone to recruit the same personnel, Magele said.
An inadequate number of volunteers and mobile teachers, who give lessons from school to school, work to fill the gap, he said.
The change of school hours from 0900 to 4.00pm and the plan to open colleges for vocational trades and skills training for out of school youth up to 6.00pm and on Saturdays, makes the problems even more demanding for teachers who deliver the curent system.
The Ministry of Education is targeting more scholarships for teachers in subjects of greater need.