New online school shows submarine Cable benefits

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INNOVATIVE VENTURE: Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and Fiona Ey.

INNOVATIVE VENTURE: Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and Fiona Ey. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

The Prime Minister has applauded an “innovative venture” combining education and technology, Samoa’s brand new Apia International School.

A project of Marj Moore of The Learning Centre and Fiona Ey, Apia International School (AIS) is Samoa’s first correspondence high school, where most classes are taught online by overseas high schools.

In his remarks at the official opening on Monday, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said the school harnesses technology’s opportunities, made possible by more affordable internet.

“This approach to education will prepare our children to be digital citizens, ready to face the challenges that the future brings,” Tuilaepa said. 

“They in turn will enhance Samoa’s development and participation in a modern, globalised economy.” 

Embedding information and communication technologies (ICT) into learning complements the Government’s vision in the communications sector plan. Tuilaepa said he doesn’t want to see Samoa’s children left behind due to an “increasing digital divide.”

“AIS will ensure that despite Samoa’s geographic isolation, our children are not disadvantaged by the ever increasing digital divide,” he said. 

“Our children will be able to access information, skills and knowledge in the same way that children do in more developed countries,” he said.

Calling the continued investment in submarine internet cables a “key building block for growth,” Tuilaepa said improved capacity and cheaper internet has helped make the international school a possibility. 

As an online high school, AIS allows students to enrol in high schools from New Zealand, Australia, and the United States and beyond, chair of the board Fiona Ey said.

Online phone calls and resources from teachers in other schools will allow students to work towards high school diplomas from all around the world, wherever there are supported correspondence courses. 

They will take a variety of classes in the subjects that interest them, which will be complemented with classes taught by local teachers, including Papali’i Momoe Malietoa von Reiche who will teach Samoan studies.

Tuilaepa said he was pleased to see a balance between online work and “real world learning.”

“Our students need to be grounded in their culture, community and environment as a strong foundation for their futures,” he said.

Before officially declaring the school open, Tuilaepa offered a challenge to the students, three of whom were in the audience.

“I encourage you to achieve high results, and long term success. Show us how successful online education can be,” he said.

He also encouraged the business community and donors to support the school. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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