Samoan Government steps in last minute to fund 20 scholarship awards

Some of the scholarship students at today’s reception hosted by the Government with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Education and representatives of Australia and New Zealand

By Rula Su’a –Vaai

APIA, SAMOA –TUESDAY 8 JANUARY 2019: The Samoan Government has stepped in to sponsor 20 scholarship students that were supposed to be sponsored by the New Zealand Government.

This follows what has been said as the New Zealand Government’s last minute changes to its scholarship awards scheme for National University Foundation awardees.

At the government’s annual reception for NUS Foundation awardees today, the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi did not elaborate on the last minute change but added that if there is a problem, the Samoan Government eventually steps in.

“It is not cheap to fund these scholarship opportunities, and when there is a problem from our development partners then the Samoan Government will assist,” he explained.

“In this case, the Government will spend more than half a million talā in sponsoring students who will study in Fiji and partially funded students to study in New Zealand.”

Tuilaepa also made a long jab at those not paying taxes to do so.

“Those taxes will assist the development of our children in education.”

In this year’s -2019 intake, 79 new National University Samoa Foundation students, 58 sponsored students to study in Australia and New Zealand, 21 scholarship awards funded by the Government of Samoa including 15 regionally awards to study in Fiji  and 6 partially funded who will study in New Zealand.

For the Open and Distance Learning Category, Australia and New Zealand are funding 48 scholarship students.

Tuilaepa then issued a stern warning to the awardees to use the opportunities wisely. “I must warn you of the freedom you will have because there will be no one who will be on your shoulder every time to advise what and what not to do.”

The Acting High Commissioner for Australia, Amanda Jewell congratulated the awardees and advised them to use it well and bring back to Samoa what is best for the development of the country.

The same sentiment was expressed by the Acting High Commissioner for New Zealand, Mr Matt Howell.

The Australian students have started departing while the Fiji students will leave at the end of January and the New Zealand students will leave in February.