29 Oct 2013

American Samoa senator slams quality of territory's teachers

10:43 pm on 29 October 2013

A senator in American Samoa says it's not a language barrier that is causing students to fail, but the poor quality of teaching.

A proposal that seeks to require teachers in American Samoa to be proficient in both Samoan and English, is being pushed by the Department of Education to try to address decades of poor academic results.

Department figures show that almost all students, 93 - 95 %, entering Samoa Community College have not passed basic core subjects like English and Maths.

However, figures also show that 41 percent of public school teachers have no teaching qualification.

The Senator for Manu'a, Galea'i Tu'ufuli, says the performance of the children simply reflects the ability of the teachers.

"If you hire a teacher that doesn't have any teaching certificate you will get the same type of performance from our children. What you put in, you get it when they get out of school. So, unless we hire qualified teachers, our children will have no opportunity to improve in their performance, because of the lack of qualified teachers."

Senator Galea'i Tu'ufuli says he hopes that when the proposal is put before the legislature, it will focus more on addressing the quality of teachers, rather than language.