The Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC) reached yet another milestone with the establishment of the first ever Samoa Teachers Council since the Teachers Act 2016 became effective on 28th of February, 2019.
With a full seating of 13 official members of the Samoa Teachers Council (Council) in its meeting on April 10, 2019, a Chairperson, Matafeo Reupena Matafeo, was selected from amongst the Council’s teacher members in accordance with the Act. Matafeo is a college principal who also currently holds the office of President for the Samoa Sosaiete o Faiaoga (Samoa Teachers Union). As such, Matafeo brings to the Council years of leadership experience and institutional knowledge of Samoa’s education system.
The high calibre composition of the Council’s membership, is reflective of the most experienced, long serving and highly profiled educators of Samoa. The 3 ex-officio members of the Council include the Chief Executive Officers for MESC and SQA and, the Dean of Faculty of Education, NUS to represent each of the 3 Implementing Agencies of the Education Sector.
The Samoa Teachers Council plays an important role in carrying out its functions and responsibilities laid out in the Teachers Act, 2016. Pivotal to the responsibilities of the Teachers Council is regulating the registration of teachers and professional standards, including breach of professional standards and other related matters. Since the nominated effective date of the Act on the 28th of February, 2019, the Council has convened and discussed matters pertaining to the implementation plan for teacher registration of all teachers in ECE, private, mission, and government schools.
The establishment of the Council brought together members of different school systems such as mission, private, ECE and government to enable further positive developments for the teaching profession in Samoa to reflect government’s vision of a National Teachers Council for the common good of all teachers and students of Samoa. This message was reiterated by the Minister for MESC, Hon Loau Solamalemalo Keneti Sio, who urged the Council to ensure “… that quality education and student achievement … [be at] the heart of … the Teachers Council discussions and deliberations”. The Minister also emphasised the importance of the Teachers Council in the education sector’s continuing pursuit for improved teacher quality and student performance.
Some of the tasks planned for this year’s roadmap for the Teachers Council include awareness workshops for teachers. To date, the Council has conducted two nationwide awareness workshops for all Principals in Samoa.
The CEO of MESC, Afamasaga Dr Karoline Afamasaga-Fuata’i, acknowledges that there is still much work to be done, however with the first Samoa Teachers Council in place, Samoa can be more confident and optimistic about the future of education in Samoa.