Some of the scholarship students at the farewell at the National University of Samoa
BY Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA: FRIDAY 8 JANUARY 2016: Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi did not mix words when he told the scholarship recipients to stay focused on their studies as failure will mean losing the opportunity.
He was speaking at a farewell ceremony for the scholarship students who will take up university studies in Fiji, New Zealand and Australia this year. Also present were the student’s parents.
He said studying in Samoa is different from studying overseas.
“In here, you were monitored by your parents, but when you go overseas, you experience freedom,” said Tuilaepa.
According to Tuilaepa, freedom is the major problem faced by any student because it gives them the freedom to choose whether to study or spend time clubbing and finding friends.
At universities, there are many opportunities, but to get to the door that leads to success, one has to choose wisely, said Tuilaepa.
“A wise decision will benefit not only you and your families but your villages and the country.
Tuilaepa also urged them to be competitive and not to be afraid to ask when faced with challenges.
“Education is the access to opportunities, independence, financial stability, a brighter future and quality life,” he told the students.
The same message was echoed by the Australian and New Zealand Acting High Commissioner’s Michael Walsh and Rosemary McKay.
“You are the pride of your family and country,” said McKay.
She said studying abroad for certain skills will help them contribute to the development of Samoa.
Australia and New Zealand’s strong support for Samoa’s education is evident in their investment through various education events including scholarships.
This is the second year of a 3 year targeted trial programme which started in 2015 for scholarships.
Samoa together with her development partners and donor countries are putting “greater emphasis on national key priority areas for Samoa, particularly on the workforce shortages in the education and health b sectors.”
The scholarships awarded included 32 funded by Australia, 53 funded by New Zealand and 6 funded by the Samoan Government to study in Fiji.