by Lagi Keresoma
APIA: FRIDAY 26 JULY 2013: Consultation of teachers and parents about extending school hours at Government schools do not appear to have been thorough enough.
Parents of students at Faleata College, Leififi College and Samoa College have raised concern over new changes.
Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture recommended the changes to Cabinet after a survey of teachers and adults, chief executive officer Matafeo Tanielu Aiafi said.
Year 1 to Year 3 classes are required to finish half an hour later at 2pm; Year 4 to Year 8 finish an hour later at 3pm – while high schools and colleges now finish at 4pm.
“Parents should have been consulted about the changes before they were taken to Cabinet,” said Seluia Toafa, a mother of a Faleata College student.
“I only found out from the radio news,” Toafa said.
She said parents are always notified about any new changes in the school.
“We have trouble trying to get my son home early, but this new change will give him an excuse to come home later.
Another Faleata College parent Fata Panoa Apulu of Falelauniu hates the idea of his two daughters travelling home late from school.
“They (MESC) should have considered the effect of the changes not only on the children, but the schedules of the parents,” Fata said.
Both Toafa and Fata and several other parents are working on a petition to voice their disappointment to the principal.
Similar concerns were raised by several parents of students at Leififi and Samoa colleges.
Two stall owners at the Flea Market at Savalalo are also against the changes because of inter-school violence that erupt there on occasions.
Longer hours away from home will increase chances of fights they say.
Students get bored easily unless it’s a subject they are interested in, said Miss Makerita a teacher at Vaivase Primary school.
“The only subject the kids like is sports,” she said.
Unless an extra period of sports is added the extra time at school will be spent sleeping, she said.
MESC believes the present hours do not allow enough time to teach subjects especially since seven subjects began to be taught in Government primary schools the start of this year.
An Educational Reform Programme is now underway in Government schools to improve reading, mathematics, literacy, sports and culture.
It was another reason given for extending school hours.