(PATA, Falelatai, Samoa) – For the Samoan student, reading and writing are the biggest challenges in academics, says veteran educator Galulolo Fiu Tavita.
In the effort to strengthen these skills among the children at Pata Primary School, Galulolo is seeking books for the library as their current collection lacks the type of reading material students need.
"We have many books and encyclopedia in our library and we are thankful for the donations, but we don't have the type of books the children need," she told Tautalatala.
"Encyclopedia are good for doing research but what the school children need is to build their skills in reading and writing – in English and Samoan. To do that, we have to provide them with books appropriate for their reading level. We don't have the right books for them."
Galulolo, the Principal at Pata Primary, has served as a school teacher in Samoa since 1979. She retired from teaching but works as a contractor for the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture.
She said the biggest challenge faced by Samoan students is reading and writing and urges parents to foster a love for reading in the home.
"Parents need to cut the feau at home and set time aside to read with their children everyday. Parents need to stop going to Bingo every night and stay home and use that time to read with their child," Galulolo emphasized.
"This is the hardest thing for Samoan students – reading and writing. If we don't teach the children to love reading, we won't have children who love reading which means we won't have children who love writing."
She reminds parents that what is taught in school must be reinforced in the home.
"We have the children for a part of the day but at home we need the help of parents," Galulolo said.
"We'd like to send each child home with a book to read everyday but we don't have enough books. When children do go home with their books, we need parents to put time aside just for reading. The children have too many feau. Parents must minimize the feau and read with their children every single day. Children need more time to study. When parents go to Bingo every single night to go off and enjoy freedom for themselves, the children are left to enjoy their freedom too. Learning starts from the home."
On behalf of Pata Primary School, which educates students in Kindergarten to Year 8, the Principal thanks the people and organizations who have donated to their school over the years.
The latest gift received was 30 desk and chair sets, part of a donation from China received by MESC and distributed to local schools, Galulolo said.
The desk and chair sets are being used by one class of students. The majority of children continue to utilize wooden desks and chairs constructed by the fathers of the village, who regularly conduct planting, cleaning and building projects at the campus.
"Our students really need books specific to their reading level, Kindergarten through Year 8 and we kindly ask anyone who can provide us with books to please donate," Galulolo asks.
If you'd like to donate books to Pata Primary School's library, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.