Five members of Higher Education Bd confirmed
The Governor’s nominations for five of the six members to serve on the Board of Higher Education were confirmed in the House on Monday. This board is the governing body of the American Samoa Community College (ASCC), and the Senate last week also confirmed the same five.
Approved by the House of Representatives were Rev. Dr. Leanavaotaua Sekuini Seva’aetasi and Fr. Viane Etuale— each getting unanimous votes of 19-0; while Fanuatele Dr. To’afa Vaiaga’e and Tauiliili Lauifi each received an 18-1 vote and Dr. Siulagi Solomona was confirmed with a 17-2 vote. The sixth nominee, Robin Annesley Dalton, is off island and was unable to attend the hearing.
Prior to the House vote, the nominees appeared before a House Education Committee confirmation hearing chaired by Rep Tu’umolimoli Saena Moliga where the issue of students attending the college and taking remedial classes was raised, along with the news that ASCC had gained accreditation for a four-year Bachelor of Education program.
At the hearing, a majority of the faipule commended the nominees as more than qualified, given their educational backgrounds. Rep Archie Taotasi Soliai pointed out to the nominees they should look into the issue of students coming out of high school and having to take remedial courses at ASCC.
Rep Puletu Dick Koko congratulated ASCC for their accreditation noting that this opportunity will give local students the chance to seek higher degrees in the territory. He also asked if students from foreign countries are allowed to attend the ASCC given that it’s been accredited for a four-year program.
Tauili’ili informed the faipule that if eligible, any student can attend ASCC. Rep Puletu then told the nominees to look into this matter given that foreign students will only come to the territory for schooling and then return to their home country.
Rep Toeaiina Faufano Autele pointed out that given the fact that the board is made up of a number of faifeaus, he hopes the focus will not go astray, but rather remain on the basic needs of the community such as implementing programs for trades.