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Improving local public education system on the re-elected Admin’s to do list

Governor: “We need more brains to run this department…” not just one or two people

As the Administration transitions into a new four-year term, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga is seeking input from cabinet members on how to improve the public education system in American Samoa and some ideas have already been shared with certain cabinet members.

When the Lolo Administration took office in January 2013, one of the big concerns raised at the time was the issue of high school graduates having to take remedial courses at the American Samoa Community College.

By October that year, the governor called an Education Summit, which discussed a number of issues including Dual Language — using both English and Samoan for classroom teaching and there have been some objections from lawmakers on such a move, that requires changing local law, which currently states that classroom instruction is to be taught in English and the Samoan language is only used for clarification purposes.

“One of our biggest challenges in our [cabinet] appointments is how we deal with our education system,” Lolo said at last Thursday’s cabinet meeting. “Even up until today, we haven’t even decided how to approach in selecting a person or group of people to deal with our education system.”

According to the governor, many problems have come out of the community, due to the education system, for example, “the performance of our workforce” and that “what we’ve seen in the community is the product of the education that we are given our children.”

“So we are trying to explore some new ideas,” he said adding that he and Lt. Gov. Lemanu have shared some of these ideas with the Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale, Human Resources Director Le’i Sonny Thompson, American Samoa Power Authority executive director Utu Abe Malae, and “many of you.”

“If you have any recommendation to deal with our education let us know before we finalize any decision on our education system,” he said and noted that “we’ve asked” Utu, the Attorney General “and all of you who are close to our education system to give us some idea.”

“One thing that we know, we need more brains to run this department,” he said referring to the Department of Education and noted that one or two people cannot run the local education system.

He said, “We need a better way to deal with our education system, which employs the most people in this government — that’s not important… But what’s important is the quality of education that we are giving our children.”

Lolo said, “We have seen and observed the performance of our [education] system in the last four years, so we must do better in the next four years; and hopefully that will bring in some changes to a lot of issues that we are dealing with in our education system.”

While he didn’t provide any specific details of ideas already received, the governor did point out that “we need to reform” all areas in the education system. Again, he didn’t give any examples of reforms being considered.

He also told cabinet members, “if you have some ideas, let us know, as we go forth in selecting the person [the director]... for our Education Department.”