Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele and members of the Samoa College Old Students Association. The very first College Head Boy, Afemata Tunumafono Apelu Aiavao is fourth from the right.
By Natu Samuelu Tafunai
APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 31 MAY 2017: The management of Samoa College is no longer under the Government when it was handed over to the College’s former students and the Parents and Teachers Association.
This was formalized in a ceremony this morning at the college when Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi handed over the College to the Chairman of the Old students Association Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi.
“Today the only thing that changes is the Management of the school but everything about you is not going to change and the main thing is for you students to listen and do what the teachers instruct you to do and persevere with your studies and school works,” urged the Prime Minister.
He also talked about the challenges that students face that need to be solved and how they need to stay focused even though the school management changes.
“The main challenge these days is technology which distracts every student with the use of their mobile phones and you should not allow that to get you into trouble,” he said.
He also encouraged the teachers to keep up their hard work for the students and advised them to be firm on their efforts to stop violence between schools.
“I will change the name of this school if you cause violence to other school and I will do the same to other colleges such as Avele College. Therefore put your school work first before anything else and you will succeed,” said the Prime Minister.
Chairman of Samoa College Old Students Association, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi said this was a new day for the College.
“In 2015, the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture proposed on behalf of the Government to move Samoa College under the management of the surrounding villages and districts with three options,” said Lealailepule.
The options include having the school as a District College, a general college or the arrangement reached today to be managed by the Old students association and the PTA,” he explained.
Samoa College is the very first Government owned college opened in 1953 with the purpose of preparing Samoa’s leaders to run its own government when the country becomes independent in 1962.
Since then, thousands of students from around the country, have gone through its doors with many more going abroad to study under the scholarships scheme and return to work for the government or private sector.
Many of the old students wanted to maintain the name Samoa College given its original purpose and the emotional connection many students have to the school.
It was established by Charles E Beeby, the New Zealand Minister of Education at the time and Samoa’s education system was historically associated with New Zealand.
Prior to the official opening of Samoa College, a system of ‘Accelerated’ learning was developed in 1949 for selected pupils with top marks in exams from around the country.
Today’s ceremony also celebrated 64 years since Samoa College was established.
The College’s very first Head Boy, retired journalist Afemata Tunumafono Apelu Aiavao was among the guests today.