Teachers remembered for their contribution to society

By Unumoe Esera

APIA: WEDNESDAY 03 OCTOBER 2012: Teachers from the past, some who have passed away who made a tremendous contibution in the Education system and many who still continue their role as educators and government employees for the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture are honored this week in an exhibition displayed at the MESC headquarters at Malifa which was officially launched Monday morning.

The theme for this week and the World Teachers Day Exhibition is “Take a Stand for Teachers”.  Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Magele Mauiliu Magele delivered the keynote address.

“This exhibition is to showcase the services rendered by the teaching profession to the Government. It is a tribute to those who devoted their lives to teaching and have now passed away and they will be remembered in history for their contribution to education in Samoa,” he said.

He also acknowledged the hard work by teachers. “I congratulate and thank all  the teachers for their hard work and dedication. Your profession is one to be proud of,” said Magele.

He also gave them words of encouragement in carrying out their duties.

“Teachers,  remember that you must continue to be honest in your duties. Because if you are honest even in little things you will have authority in greater things later on in life,” said Magele.

The Minister for Education also acknowledged the World Teachers Day committee who put together the exhibition .

Invited guests, teachers and employees of MESC attended the event and took the time to view photographs and artwork by students which were displayed in the exhibit.

Among those who attended was Iokapeta Petaia 88 years old  and mother of former Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Education Galumalemana Nuufou Petaia. Her picture was also displayed among those long serving public servants in the education system. She was the first matron at the Samoa College hostel when it first opened its doors in 1962 and she retired in 1982.

Before she became matron she was formerly employed as a nurse at the National Hospital at Motootua. Iokapeta says there are a lot of changes in schools nowadays compared to years past.

“The students I looked after in those days were very obedient and listened to me and the teachers,” she said. Asked if she could recall some of the students she said, “Many of them have gone on to become successful and influential people in the country. They are Ministers, CEOs and others have served in the church.”

Some of the students who were under Iokapeta’s care include Judge Vaepule Vaemoa Vaai,  Minister of Health Tuitama Talalelei Tuitama, CEO of the

Ministry of Health Palanitina Toelupe,CEO of the Ministry of Justice Courts Administration Masinalupe Tusipa Masinalupe, President of SUNGO Vaasilifiti Moelagi Jackson, Dr. Toelupe Poloma, Father Lu Collins, Ropati Mualia and Miriama Galuvao

“I am so happy that they have been blessed with these high rank positions in Government and non-government organisations,” said Iokapeta of her former students.

She also acknowleged the teachers for their role in educating the youth of Samoa.

“I congratulate and applaud teachers. You are the source of  all wisdom. Even though it is harder nowadays than it was before but you should rely on Jesus who is the greatest teacher of all. Thank you for all your hard work,” said Iokapeta.

Tauvao Vaasiliega Fiti Lagaaia 46 years old, Prinicipal of Uafato Primary School at Fagaloa celebrated this week and gave an account of his journey as a teacher. He has been a teacher for 25 years.

“This week commemorates teachers and principals. It is a year that stands out and is different from the rest for me ever since I’ve been a teacher. There has been a huge emphasis placed on the importance of teachers this year on their special day.

“A teacher’s job is very important in nurturing the minds of school children. Before teachers became  who they are today they were also taught by their teachers and from observing them they got methods of teaching to help them because it is not an easy job being a teacher. In the olden days they believed that if students were not dealt with using corporal punishment they would not learn anything or become smart. While nowadays many problems arise like school violence and yet the students are no longer punished physically by teachers which makes you wonder whether the old ways were best in disciplining students in order for them to behave,” said Tauvao.

There are activities planned for the rest of the week in celebration of World Teachers Day and will end with a parade on Friday at 3pm infront of the Government building and the World Teacher’s Day Ball in the evening at Tuanaimato to conclude the commemoration.

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