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Traditional leaders hired to mobilize public for schools

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has publicly confirmed that a new division called School Facility Maintenance has been established within the Department of Public Works responsible for the maintenance of all public school facilities.


Funds budgeted and allocated to the Department of Education for school maintenance have been shifted to DPW along with all DOE maintenance employees, he said.


“A new maintenance strategy has been established to ensure that maintenance requirements for each school are responded to without delay,” he said, and notes that traditional leaders have been employed as District Maintenance Coordinators responsible for the supervision of the highly qualified maintenance crew who shall conduct light maintenance for all the schools under their charge.


He says traditional leaders are also expected to mobilize the villages and the community to participate in the maintenance of their respective schools; and this is in line with the concept that “it takes the entire village to educate a child.”


“It is no longer acceptable to leave the business of educating our children solely to the Department of Education,” he said. “All of us must do our part to educate the children of American Samoa.”


The public schools have been divided into 6 School Maintenance Districts, inclusive of Manu’a.


As reported by Samoa News last November, Lolo’s move to transfer school maintenance to DPW was first revealed early last year but was expedited during the summer when the Department of Health found several school facilities in deplorable condition which resulted in a two-week delay in the start of the new school year for schools on Tutuila.


“The idea is to have a technical team of certified plumbers, electricians and other personnel available to be dispatched immediately to any request from each district,” the governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira told Samoa News last year.  (See Nov. 18 Samoa News edition for more details.)


Lolo also told lawmakers last week that he is looking at transferring the school bus maintenance out of DOE to DPW. “Taking these maintenance duties out of DOE will allow them - DOE - to focus more attention on educating students,” he said.