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DOE is looking for a few good teachers — from Samoa

Samoa’s Minister of Education, Magele Mauiliu Magele, claims that American Samoa Department of Education personnel who are recruiting in Samoa are there to “steal” teachers from Samoa. Magele’s comments were brought up during the Parliament session on Tuesday, after learning that ASDOE staff was recruiting in Samoa.


According to the Samoa Observer, during the Parliament Session, Magele did not mince words when raising his concern about ASDOE’s move.


“About the representatives from American Samoa who are in the country, it appears that they have come to steal— in a respectful manner— teachers from here.”


Minister Magele pointed out that he’s not upset about the move by DOE; rather, he said, “this is a challenge to the Ministry.” The Minister also told Parliament he was “not fully aware” about what’s being offered by the American Samoa recruitment drive to lure teachers over.


“But we are looking into it,” he said. On the other hand, Magele said if Samoa has too many teachers, “this would be one of the good markets” for our people to find work.


Samoa News sent queries to DOE Director Vaitinasa Salu Hunkin-Finau who had her Assistant Director for DOE’s Secondary Division Samasoni Asaeli, respond, explaining the purpose of their trip to Samoa.


“We are always short of qualified teachers every year, especially in the content areas of English, Math, Science, and the trades. So, instead of going elsewhere, Samoa is the most sensible choice to recruit from because we share the same language and culture, and this is a plus in our current effort to promote the use our language to help teach our students to be proficient in both Samoan and English.” 


He further told Samoa News that they are currently in Samoa for the entire week with DOE Director Vaitinasa and Deputy Director of Instruction, Faauifono Vaitautolu. Asaeli said overall, they are looking at hiring at 20-30 qualified teachers to meet the needs in the areas mentioned. “Relatively, the number from Samoa depends on the number of qualified applicants we get.”


Asaeli said the mission they are on for the week, is nothing new, this program of recruiting teachers from Samoa occurred before and was discontinued in 2004.


Asked what ASDOE has offered to attract teachers from Samoa, Asaeli said for qualified applicants from Samoa they will be given the same contract benefits as any other contract worker hired by the government. The salary will be commensurate with qualifications equivalent to the American system of education.


Earlier this week, Deputy Director Vaitautolu, told the Samoa Observer, “Every year there is a shortage of teachers in American Samoa because they either resign, retire or transfer to other countries.”


Asaeli told the Samoa Observer that instead of going overseas to countries like India, Philippines and America for help, Samoa is close by. “Samoa is our neighboring island and teachers from here are familiar with the language,” he said.