Senate confirms five nominees to Board of Higher Education
The Senate yesterday confirmed five of the six nominees to the Board of Higher Education, which is the governing body of the American Samoa Community College. The nominees now go before the House on Monday for a confirmation hearing.
Endorsed by the Senate are Rev. Dr. Leanavaotaua Sekuini Seva’aetasi and Fanuatele Dr. To’afa Vaiaga’e — each getting unanimous votes of 12-0; while Dr. Siulagi Solomona, Fr. Viane Etuale and Tauiliili Lauifi each received an 11-1 vote. The sixth nominee, Robin Annesley, is off island and was unable to attend the hearing.
Prior to the Senate vote, the nominees appeared before a Senate Education Committee confirmation hearing where the issue of ASCC having gained accreditation for the four-year Bachelor of Education program was raised.
The accreditation was revealed at a cabinet meeting last Thursday with Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga telling directors about the letter from the ASCC president that confirmed the college’s accreditation by the Western Association for Schools and College’s Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities. (Read ASCC press release on accreditation in this issue.)
At yesterday’s confirmation hearing Sen. Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono asked the nominees for their views and opinions as to the importance of this accreditation to ASCC and the territory. Seva’aetasi said this opportunity will give local students the chance to seek a higher degree in American Samoa and also make it easy for families of the students to pay for their education.
He also says that this further helps with ASCC’s marks, or scores when accreditation officials conduct site visits of the college. While it’s only the BA in education for now, Seva’aetasi says there are plans in the future to also include a degree program focusing on other subjects.
According to the nominee, instructors at ASCC are well educated with several of them holding doctorate degrees in education and this is one area that accreditation officials look at.
Fanuatele added that ASCC has a state of the art library that is required for such an accreditation and school buildings are also in excellent condition. He also says that in years past, text books used at ASCC were brought from off-island for research work by students, but that is not the case any more because the college has a digital library program, making it easy for students to conduct research work.
Solomona, an ASCC alumnus, told the committee that he is very blessed and honored to have been given the chance to further his education through ASCC. He said he is proud and happy with the 4-year accreditation for the BA program.
Other senators who spoke during the hearing praised the governor’s nominations to this very important board that serves the educational needs of the territory’s future generations. Sen. Laolagi F.S. Vaeao, the Senate committee vice chair, who chaired yesterday’s hearing, says he, too, is pleased with this new accomplishment at the college.
He suggested that the board look at making sure that there is sufficient housing for students because he suspects that there will be a lot of off island students traveling here to attend ASCC for the BA program.
Samoa News reporters Ausage Fausia and Fili Sagapolutele contributed to this report.