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Apia, SAMOA, 23 August 2022 – “We are navigators of the land and sea, inheritors of the FaaSamoa culture. Our culture is the one significant difference that defines who we are as people. Our aganuu (culture) and gagana (language) is a measina (treasure) from which our values and belief systems are shaped and formed. To harmonize Samoa’s national aspirations for education for all its citizens, we are here to bring together school children, young people out of school, teachers, community and civil society organizations, the private sector, tertiary institutions, and line government agencies to discuss future of education in Samoa,” said the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Culture (MESC).
This week, MESC convenes the national dialogue on ‘transforming education’ with stakeholders and partners in Upolu (23 & 24 August at the SAAB Conference Room) and Savaii (25 & 26 August).
Being held across the Pacific countries, these national dialogues preface the United Nations (UN) Transforming Education Summit (TES), which will take place in September 2022, convened by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, during the 77th UN General Assembly in New York.
Aimed at mobilizing political ambition and solidarity to truly transform education and take stock of pandemic-related learning losses, this national dialogue is a crucial step that will ensure Samoan voices are heard at a global level, and result in educational transformations at the national level through policy changes and aligned UN system plans.
Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Hon. Seuula Ioane Tuāau in his keynote address stated that, “We must look at the grassroots issues intensified by the impacts of the pandemic if we are to attain inclusive, equitable, safe, and healthy schools and education/training opportunities for all Samoans. We must ACT to address these issues, so, that our students won’t be left too far behind.”
While great efforts were made to provide school children with access to remote learning during the school closures, the shift has been associated with a learning loss, especially for those who are marginalized and vulnerable.
“A nation’s future depends on the quality of its education system as, in every country, the human capital is a central and valuable component of its national wealth. The United Nations in Samoa stands committed to assisting the Government and all the stakeholders to remodel education to both address the needs of every student and to advance the country’s transformation through innovation and digitalization.” said the UN Resident Coordinator to Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau, Simona Marinescu.
“UNESCO would like to thank the India-UN Development Partnership Fund for supporting Samoa’s engagement in the Global Transforming Education Summit to facilitate South-South Exchange through the Samoa Knowledge Society Initiative. We are highly appreciative of the Government of Samoa for making efforts to take the national pre-consultations across the country. Transformation of education will take a long time but we see the move in the right direction of ensuring that the right to education is matched with means of education development, and the development partners, government ministries, educationists and communities collaborate,” said Nisha, Director of UNESCO Office for the Pacific States.
“Children have already lost more than an estimated 48 million hours of in-person learning during the pandemic. We need to not only get back on track but transform education to ensure every child in Samoa is able to claim their right to quality education, no matter what national or global emergency comes in the way,” said UNICEF Pacific’s Representative, Jonathan Veitch.
“UNICEF is pleased to be working with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, as well as our partners, in this community dialogue process that will ensure that the education system can meet the longer-term aspirations of our children,” he added.
The national consultations aim to redress this balance and ensure that all children, youth and adults can continuously access inclusive and quality learning in the country.
The outcome of the consultations will feed into a National Statement of Commitment outlining Samoa’s plans to transform education and accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4, and inform MESC and stakeholders in planning the future of Samoa’s education.
The national consultations on transforming education in Samoa are led by the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, and supported by the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, UNESCO as well as UNICEF.
Notes to Editors:
For more about the Transforming Education Summit and to participate using variety of options, please visit sdg4education2030.org. To share ideas and feedback about the TES process, please write at email@example.com
About the Samoa Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture:
The Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture endeavours to provide quality education and training for children, youth and adults, from early childhood education through higher education and continuous lifelong learning. The Ministry also hosts the Soifua A’oa’oina (Lifelong Learning Lab) which is a joint initiative supported by the United Nations, financed by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation administered India-UN Development Partnership Fund.
UN multi-country engagement in the Pacific is led by three Resident Coordinators and a Joint UN Country Team linked across three regional hubs, operating regionally out of Samoa, Micronesia, and Fiji. There are four Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) under the leadership of the Samoa Multi-Country Office (MCO) including Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau.
UNESCO, as a Specialized Agency of the United Nations System, sets norms and standards in the fields of education, natural and social human sciences, culture and communication, and information. UNESCO provides global and regional leadership in education, strengthening the education systems of its 193 Member States and 12 Associate Members for quality educational development from preschool to higher education and beyond. UNESCO’s Reimagining our futures together: A new social contract for education report is the key reference document for the Transforming Education Summit to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on education, and to reimagine education systems for the world of today and tomorrow.
UNESCO Pacific Web; Facebook; YouTube; Twitter and Instagram.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
For more information, please contact:
Vau Mamea Peseta, Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, Tel: +685 64601/64602, firstname.lastname@example.org
Aterina Samasoni, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, Tel: +685 23670, RCS-RCO- Samoa@un.org
Sinaolevanu Sofa, UNESCO Office for the Pacific States, email@example.com
Zubnah Khan, UNICEF Pacific, Tel: +679 9988137, firstname.lastname@example.org
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