The Deputy Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa with the New Zealand and Australian High Commissioners, officials and the scholarship students 2018
By Rula Su’a – Vaai
APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 27 DECEMBER 2017: Samoa’s approach to have in country training for medical personnel has gained support from Australia and New Zealand under their respective scholarship schemes.
Deputy Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa says the in country training plan is something the government has been advocating for years and the Samoan government applauds the assistance it’s development partners are offering to Samoa.
“The programme allows Samoan medical doctors to provide the much needed services while at the same time undertaking post graduate studies,” Fiamē explains.
“The real intention is that we have established a medical faculty at our National University, and it comes at a perfect time when both of our development partners are changing their education system a bit.”
This year 2 doctors have been awarded post graduate studies in medicine sponsored by Australia to study in Fiji.
“In order for us to improve medical profession services, we should provide in country training,” added Fiame Naomi.
New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa, David Nicholson says the changes into the post graduate medical discipline means a new model for other post graduate degrees as well.
The new approach is set to start in 2018 funded by the New Zealand Government while the Australian Government funding programme will start in 2019.
It is yet to confirm how much both governments will assist with the new program, however HE Nicholson told Talamua that his government spends about NZD25 million per year to sponsor scholarships across the Pacific.
“That amount has increased over the years, because we have changed our policies a year ago which includes student allowances being paid by the minimum wage in New Zealand,” said Nicholson.
Australia’s High Commissioner has also confirmed an increase to the numbers of its sponsored scholarship intakes for 2018.
“We spend about AUSD5 million per year for Samoa and I must say it is well spent, as I am very impressed with the various courses students have chosen to study.”
Meanwhile, there are 60 scholarship recipients from NUS Foundation students for 2018. Forty in the open category and 10 awarded for distance learning awards.