If anything stands out like a sore thumb from the disturbing developments of violence and crimes we see in Samoa today – including the reign of terror in Savai’i last weekend – our young people need education.
Indeed, we have far too many uneducated young men and women who have nothing better to do so that their idleness drives them to a world of crime and stupidity.
Folks, we often downplay their existence with the mentality that in Samoa, they can always become subsistent farmers, house workers and domestic helpers. That might have worked many years ago – and in some cases today it still does - but times are changing.
In a money-driven economy where success is measured by material wealth and how you progress on the ladder of life, the status quo in Samoa where hundreds, if not thousands of young men and women drop of out of school every year with absolutely no hope for a job or a future, is a recipe for disaster.
And we can see that in many of the problems we are struggling with in Samoa.
While some young girls, who are not ready to become mothers, become pregnant and end up with children they cannot look after, young men quickly find out that a life of farming everyday with very little return in terms of money is not exactly the kind of life they want.
That’s why these young people are so angry and frustrated. They are envious of a better life but because of the system and the thinking pattern, which has entrapped them, they just cannot see past their mediocre lives and stupidity.
It is also why they continue to lower their standards to the point where they eventually end up in jail – or worse dead – for one reason or another.
Which is a real tragedy about what is happening in Samoa today.
We’ve known for a long time now that unemployment is one of the biggest challenges of our time. What has never been established though is the extent of the problem and just how bad it is.
But when things like the violence at Salelologa and the recent one at Solosolo come up, we can get an idea. The fact is, in all these cases, the culprits are men who are staying home with no formal work. There are so many of them.
Judging from the media images and videos posted online, they obviously feel proud about what they are doing – which is breaking the law.
Now think of it this way, if they were educated, would they be doing that? If they had jobs to go to, would they be interested in breaking the law and being stupid? If they had functioning brains, would they be so uncaring and brave in doing stupid things?
The answer is an emphatic no. Which is why we believe education that leads to jobs and employment creation should form a critical part of our country’s response to what’s happening today.
We need to start walking the talk when we say that education holds the key to a bright and prosperous future. We need to indoctrinate our young people about how important it is to get as far as possible in their studies and doing the best they can while they have the opportunity.
We need to get them excited about expanding their horizons through continuous learning. Yes they need to be excited about discovering the world and how education can change their lives.
They need goals, dreams, visions and role models to emulate. They need to be motivated to do better knowing that a better education can change their lives, that of their families and the community they live in.
What do you think?
Have a productive Thursday Samoa, God bless!