25 Jan 2021

Samoa Govt looks at funding for private schools

12:24 pm on 25 January 2021

The Samoa Government is looking at providing free tertiary education and paying teacher salaries for private institutions, including church-run schools.

TV1 Samoa reported the matter was raised in Parliament by government backbencher, Leā'anā Ronnie Posini.

Students at a mission school in Samoa dancing.

Students at a mission school in Samoa dancing. Photo: RNZI/Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

He said it was heartening to know the government was looking at allowing students to attend the National University of Samoa for free.

He also said the government was looking at paying the salaries of all private school teachers.

Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi confirmed the MP's statements, saying it was something the government had been mulling on for a while.

''For more than 10 years now private schools, especially church schools, have been sending delegations to my office asking for assistance for teacher salaries,'' he said.

Tuila'epa said the government was now looking at a way to implement this during the next parliamentary term.

''We just can't rush into these things. Government has to find a sustainable way of implementing these projects,'' he told Parliament.

There is a fear the disparity in teacher salaries between government and private schools, is making it difficult for the latter to recruit high quality teachers which could result in poor standards.

The government has been helping to fund private schools for a few years through a scheme that gives direct monetary grants, which has been increasing steadily each financial year.