Dear Editor,
I would just like to clarify my original Letter To the Editor in the Friday, February 7th Samoa News edition, for those who may have assumed that I implied all of the college returnees have no experience and don’t deserve to make the salary threshold set by the Governor in his recent apprenticeship program/initiative.
The analogy I used was more to highlight the additional importance of experience being factored into one’s salary rather than to assume the experience levels of the college returnees. I do not know all of the college returnees personally and wouldn’t want to generalize what their backgrounds entail.
I was fortunate to have been an ASG academic scholarship recipient and am also considered a college returnee so I am truly happy that a higher standard has been set with regard to the value being placed on education and a more commensurate salary.
I think we’ve all grown up being told that Education is the key to success and that our chances for employment will increase the higher we climb up the Education ladder, so for students to go through that process and return home with little success often earning meager wages is understandably a hard pill to swallow. The perception of our government functioning on a “who-you-know” basis has plagued our government as far as I can remember and this is definitely an obstacle the current administration will have to battle with in order to move move forward.
Since the announcement of the college returnees program, there has been an underlying and unspoken debate over EDUCATION vs EXPERIENCE that has brewed within and trickled into the ASG workforce leaving many wondering which of the two should be placed over the other.
My previous letter was an attempt to place an equal value on both qualities. There are things some people without an Education lack professionally (limited writing, analytical thinking skills, etc) just as there are things that those without work experience lack (limited network, people person, leadership/management skills etc).
Those who possess a good balance of both, I believe are better able and equipped to perform the job successfully and I think this holds true anywhere in the world.
Until a complete assessment and overhaul is performed and upheld with respect to hiring, classification and increments for both senior and newly entering employees (contract and career service), there will continue to be a lingering debate and worse even — frustration, disenchantment, and a loss of confidence in the system.
Patrick T. Reid


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