No guarantee Avele will reopen – Cabinet gives Old Pupils Association Monday ultimatum

Avele College Old Pupil Association President Papalii Tagaloatele Poloa -3rd from right and Principal Matafeo Reupena and some parents waiting to meet with Cabinet this afternoon.

BY Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA: THURSDAY 12 MAY 2016: The future of Avele College remains uncertain as Cabinet gives the Avele College Old Pupil Association (ACOPA) and teachers, until next Monday to come up with an undertaking for Government to make its final decision. This follows a special meeting in Cabinet room this afternoon.

“The condition is for ACOPA to provide a written proposal and undertaking assuring the Government that the bad things that had happened will never happen again till the end of time,” Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi told the media after the meeting.

But the undertaking will not guarantee the reopening of the college that has been closed for over a week due to continued and intending violence involving the college students.

“The undertaking should be signed by members of ACOPA and teachers – if we decide to reopen the College,” says Tuilaepa, “and should trouble brew again, then that’s it.”

These conditions according to Tuilaepa will only exist if Cabinet decides to reopen the school.

The decision also depends on the proposal and the police report of the incident that warranted the closing of the school.

At around 3.00pm today, about 40 ACOPA and Parents and Teachers met with Cabinet.

“Cabinet informed them (ACOPA & PTA) of the hard decision Cabinet is facing based on the notion that nothing could be done to stop these fights,” said Tuilaepa.

Tuilaepa said Cabinet is not worried if Avele college is close permanently, as there are 20 senior government colleges around the country and the students can attend rather than coming all the way to Apia and away from their parental discipline.

“Attending district colleges also gives parents the chance to monitor their children’s behavior,” said Tuilaepa.

He believes that parents and children are attracted to Avele College because of the schools’ history and that maybe a parent was a former student.

He acknowledged the parents and everyone that made an effort to be today’s meeting, and although Cabinet who are also parents – feel for them. “But a just decision has to be made and that can only be done through the Holy Spirit,”

ACOPA President said face book threat was a joke
ACOPA President Papali’i Tagaloatele Poloa was emotional when he fronted the media after the meeting with Cabinet.

When asked if they (ACOPA) was given any specific reason for closing the school, Papali’i said, “they say this has been an ongoing problem with the school.” Papali’i admitted that the problem originates from within the school.

He said the “note posted on facebook was only a joke, which was picked up by some students, and the cause of the fights.”

“Avele was involved in some troubles in the past but they never intended to commit any senseless actions,” said Papali’i.

The ‘note’ posted on face book was treated as a threat by the police, due to its (threatening) contents.

Asked if the note reflects on the lack of discipline in the school, Papali’i said “no”.

On the outcome of today’s meeting he said that the Association and Parents will meet tomorrow to discuss their plan of action in order to deliver what has been required by Cabinet so they can present their undertaking by next Monday.

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