SAVAI’I, SAMOA: The Principals and teachers of Primary schools and Colleges in Savaii now connecting to the internet for the first time in a long while, are praising the Free WiFi Connectivity project as making their dreams a reality.
Sister Koreti of the Sacred Hearts Primary, Safotu is excited that having fast, free and secure internet access means a lot as students were limited to the availability of data they had to purchase in order to access the online education lessons.
She also confirms that the project provides security and filters the sites that are out of bounds to the students.
Principal of Tutaga Primary, Tofono Toma said connectivity is crucial for their work in regular communication with the central office apart from the teachers and students accessing the online lessons. “We are in the age of technology and it’s important that students in Savai’i must not miss out,” she said.
The satellite-based technology is provided through a partnership between E3 Samoa Trust, a Samoan registered non-profit organisation, Kacific Satellites, the Telco company NetVo Samoa Limited that provides the technical expertise and the FAST political party that liaised with the Village School Committees. Schools already connected include:
- Patamea Primary
- Tutaga Primary
- Vaisala Primary
- Sacred Hearts Safotu Primary
- Safotu Primary
- Sasina Primary
- Saleaula Primary
- Auala Primary and
- Itu Asau College
- Itu o Tane College
More than 50 Primary, Colleges and Mission schools in Savai’i already have equipment installed and are being switched on and connected this week.
The Free School Wi-Fi Project provides free internet connectivity to teachers and students from 0700 to 4.00 pm on school days.
Mixed Messages from Government
Since it was switched on two weeks ago, the project prompted mixed and unintelligible reactions from Government.
After being labelled as illegal, the Prime Minister is now claiming the project as Governments.
The Free School WiFi Project has upstaged Governments multi-million tala projects to boost connectivity over the last ten years. These include the multimillion dollar Super National Broadband Highway (SNBH) established by Huawei in 2008. The project was designed to connect all Government Ministries and catering for education on the Schoolnet project. Then Government’s multi-million dollar investment in the Tui Samoa Submarine Cable.
Despite the cost, none seemed to be working for the Schoolnet as connectivity remains an issue.
Social Impact and Rural Community Initiative
Togisala Tony Leota, Chief Operations Officer (COO), Netvo Samoa/Founder of E3 Samoa Trust, the Free WiFi for Schools Project, is NetVo’s first social impact and rural community initiative. It includes access to digital educational platforms that NetVo will be offering for free for all schools of Samoa to be implemented in the months to come.
The satellite-based technology is provided through a partnership between NetVo Samoa and Kacific Broadband Satellite Company.
The project will commence in Apolima, Manono and Upolu Islands when Savai’i is completed. The project focuses on providing connectivity to underserved and remote communities in areas of Samoa with little to no connectivity.