Vaitogi & Pava'ia'i freshmen must enroll at Leone
A new policy instated this school year by the Department of Education has some parents upset that they were unaware of any changes to registration rules until other parents informed them - not DOE officials.
Some parents contacted DOE’s main office, others complained to their Tualauta Representatives who met a week ago, with DOE director-designee Dr. Jacinta Galeai and other DOE officials, to discuss the new policy for Vaitogi and Pavaiai freshmen students.
Starting this year, students from Vaitogi and Pavaiai villages who wish to register as freshmen in high school are required to attend Leone High School, not Tafuna High School.
The rationale behind the new controversial policy is to alleviate student overcrowding at Tafuna High School, the main public high school for students from the villages of Tualauta and county as well as Nu’uuli.
Tualauta Reps. Larry Sanitoa and Tapumanaia Galu Satele Jr. wrote to Galea'i this week, thanking her and the other DOE officials for meeting with them to discuss the reasons behind the change in policy.
Confirming the discussion, the letter states that DOE will make an effort to meet with parents and leaders of these specific villages and provide the explanation “to emphasize the positive side of having their freshmen attend Leone high given the teacher/student ratio is at 1 to 13, as opposed to the current teacher/student ratio for Tafuna High School is now 1 to 29.” (DOE provided this information to Sanitoa and Tapumanaia during the meeting.)
“Sharing this information should result in the parents being more understanding and encouraged to have their youngsters attend as advised,” the Tualauta lawmakers wrote. “Obviously, there will be unique circumstances in which DOE will make exceptions to this policy.”
Samoa News notes that KVZK-TV has been announcing a notice from DOE, since last month, of the changes for freshmen students from Vaitogi and Pavaiai even though many parents remained unaware of any notice.
According to the Tafuna High website, the average annual student enrollment is 1,400 and students are predominately from the Tualauta county.
Also discussed during the meeting between the two faipule and DOE officials was the Pavaiai Elementary School drainage problem. A site visit was requested to be carried out as soon as possible with engineers from Public Works to look at a long term solution.
Other issues discussed covered security at Tafuna High School; revisiting the 20 mph statute within school zones - including calming devices for the main road by Lupelele Elementary School; and improvements to Tualauta schools, carried out by the DOE maintenance team.