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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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Samoa University Students With Unpaid Fees To Sit Exams
Opposition slams national university’s handling of situation

By Niccola Hazelman-Siona

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Nov. 13, 2012) – "Why weren’t the students advised prior to the study week to give parents ample time to seek the money they needed?" is a question Tautua Samoa leader, Palusalue Faapo II wants answered.

The Tautua Party has weighed in with comments on the National University of Samoa (NUS) issue of students being prevented from sitting their end of year exams.

Starting last Monday, the students who had outstanding fees were turned away from exam venues and late payments were not accepted by NUS staff.

However the Prime Minister and Cabinet overturned that decision at the end of the week and the more- than 300 students affected, will now have new exams set.

Tautua leader Palusalue Faapo II said he is saddened by the train of events.

He pointed out that while he is mindful of the difficulties faced by NUS and sympathized with the management and staff, NUS should be held responsible as well as the parents.

He pointed to the lack of time advising parents that previously-accepted procedures had suddenly been changed.

"The fees are very expensive and people do not have that kind of money freely available. They will need time so why wasn’t a notice given out or aired through all the media?"

"We know that the parents are at fault for not paying their child’s fees however we are in Samoa and not all parents are able to afford the fees at this time."

Palusalue said there are other ways to deal with the situation.

"My children go to school in Australia and the case there is that students are still allowed to sit but they cannot graduate or receive their results until their fees are paid, why can’t we do that here?"

Fellow Tautua member, A’eau Peniamina said the issue is very important.

"We know that it is not the government’s fault, and yes, the parents are at fault, but the university is not a private organization, it belongs to all Samoa, it was built so that our children can have an education."

A’eau said that the failure of parents to pay for school fees is a reflection on Samoa’s economic situation.

"These are signs of the times, this is the reality of Samoa, not all parents have money and not all parents can afford these fees, it shows the reality of what most families are going through."

"It is every parent’s dream to be able to give their child the best of everything including an education but money does not come easy to most families."

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