28 Oct 2013

Worries in American Samoa at push to teach in Samoan

7:30 pm on 28 October 2013

There are worries that a proposal that seeks to require teachers in American Samoa to be proficient in both Samoan and English, will cut out a large number of the territory's teaching staff.

The law is that English is the main language for instruction in classrooms, and Samoan can be used for clarification.

Our correspondent in American Samoa, Monica Miller, says Samoan is the first language for 95 percent of students, and education officials want it used for instruction to try and combat years of poor academic results.

She says most graduates entering the Samoa Community College have not passed basic mathematics, English and other core subjects.

But Monica Miller says the concern is that many teachers do not speak Samoan.

"We have teachers from Phillippines, and we have a lot of American teachers, who will not be able to teach in Samoan, and there's also some American Samoans who do not know, or are not comfortable, in using the Samoan language, so there is concern about how this policy is going to affect education."

Monica Miller.