The historical achievement by three students in the Science Teachers Accelerated Programme (S.T.A.P.) proves great indicators for the future of Samoa.
Prime Minister, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Mailelagaoi who approved funding for the students to undertake the courses also paid tribute to two of his former Cabinet members for initiating the programme.
“I am especially pleased that we have with us this afternoon our former Minister Education, Sports and Culture (Magele Mauiliu Magele) who introduced this project to Cabinet, and, the former Minister of Agriculture who were both in my Cabinet last year when we approved this initiative.”
S.T.A.P. is a special programme designed for in-service teachers who have Diploma or Certificate level qualifications.
The programme then builds their science background by providing a specific number of courses in a combination of delivery modes including a significant amount of intensive face-to-face teaching.
In his keynote address, the Prime Minister said, “It is important that we do recognize and award good initiatives and performances.”
“In 2014, our government took a step to improve science in Samoa by upskilling our science teachers in the secondary schools in partnership with the University of the South Pacific.
“Under S.T.A.P. I’m happy this investment with U.S.P. has been very successful. This is further shown where we have sponsored another 60 science teachers.”
The Prime Minister highlighted the importance of S.T.A.P. which was set up after a shortage of qualified science teachers was found.
“I was here last time and I did say this was one the most stupid initiatives ever done because it was done from a mistake of the past,” he said.
“It became a very necessary one in order to meet the shortcomings that nobody seemed to know what to do with it We have quickly put together a programme that will ensure we have enough science teachers in a very short time.
It had to be the Minister of Education to dream up this project and introduce it to Cabinet. It was most expensive, but an unavoidable one.”
Some two years later, the number of outstanding performances in the programme prove that the initative is working.
He continued, “Now we have seen the fruits of this major imitative and we have continued on to ensure we have enough teachers in science.”
“In November 2016, we saw 86% of our teachers, which is 51 out of 59 in S.T.A.P. graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree.”
The Prime Minister addressed the awardees by saying, “The onus is on these teachers to ensure that our students do well in science in school and become future scientists. “
“Not only did we have a good number of teachers graduating, I now see that two of the teachers had outstanding performances in their Bachelors degrees. They have out performed all those who graduated in November 2016 to March 2017 ceremonies.
“Additionally, we have another student who has achieved outstanding results in the Bachelors of Agriculture programme.”
“This is indeed a proud moment to witness three of our students being awarded a prestigious gold medal from U.S.P.
“We have gold medals in biology discipline, mathematics discipline and the Bachelor of agriculture programme. I congratulate those students and their families. I must also thank the U.S.P. Vice Chancellor, the Alafua Campus Director for taking the leadership roles in ensuring the success of the programmes in Alafua Campus.
The S.T.A.P. Coordinator and his team is to be congratulated for their hard work in making sure S.T.A.P is a success. Such achievements indicate that the future of science in Samoa is bright and the government will continue to fuel and support initiatives that bring science to Samoa. ”