Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has cautioned members of the public about Principals and School Committees whom he has accused of preying on the excitement of parents and students at end of year prize giving.
Tuilaepa said traditional presentations costing parents and families lots of monies should not be allowed. He said that certain school Principals are utilising the opportunity for personal gains.
He did not name any one in particular.
“This is not a new issue,” Tuilaepa said. “It has been dealt with by the previous Minister for Education and C.E.O. who stopped the unnecessary spending by families. This has become a major burden.”
The Prime Minister added that elaborate spending on prizegivings is unnecessary.
“Even teachers waste time and money preparing for the end of the year prize giving when they could have just used what they have within their resources, such as coconuts, faausi or cocoa rice,” he said.
“These are simple things they can use for such events.
“There is no need to task the children to bring fine mats, some money for the guests and other things for sua presentations
“At the end of the day, it’s the parents that will look for the money to facilitate these things.”
Tuilaepa said he has had parents come to his office to ask him personally for money. One of them was an elderly mother from Savai’i.
“Her son had a good placing at Asau College and so she was worried that she could not give what was asked of her son to bring to school for the traditional presentations,” Tuilaepa said.
“So what she did was she borrowed $30 from her Church Minister.
“She came on the boat and came on the bus all the way here to see me, asking for help.
“That’s when I found out how heavily burdened this mother and other parents are because of what the schools had asked their children to provide.
“This is what the Principals don’t know about. It is how parents are going out of their way to get what their kids had asked to bring to school for the end of the year prize giving.
“Yet the Principals make good money. This means the Principal is using the opportunity for person gain.”
The Prime Minister said he has raised the issue with the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio.
“They need to do something about it as it should be stopped,” Tuilaepa said.
“This was not part of the education system, and it’s not directive from the Minister and C.E.O.”
The Prime Minister said the parents would always go out of their way to get the things asked of their children because of fear and to avoid being shamed.
“This is why families go and see their Ministers asking them for help and people even come to me,” he said.
“This is a burden to the families and it should be stopped.”