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APIA, Samoa (September 11, 2000 - Samoa Observer/PINA Nius Online)---The future of education in Samoa looks healthy if the recently introduced Education Infrastructure Development Programme (EIDP) to be funded by ST$ 30 million (US$ 10,327,022) is anything to go by. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$ 7 million loan to help implement the project. The balance is the government¹s contribution to the project.

Head of EIDP, Laititi Sua, could not be reached for comment. However, an official from the Education Department said the project will help implement the department’s strategic plans. Over 600 teachers and 300 school committee members will be trained.

It is hoped the project will upgrade teachers’ skills, improve the curriculum and provide training for the management of public education at all levels. Over 12,000 students are expected to benefit from the project when it starts.

From that total amount of ST$ 30 million, the government is planning to invest a little over US$ 10 million in the development of education at all levels. This was confirmed by Financial Secretary Hinauri Petana. She said the loan was approved by the Asian Development Bank. It has a grace period of eight years with an interest of one percent annually.

She said the loan was taken out to "improve infrastructure in the education sector" and to "support the education strategic plans." Furthermore, the loan includes technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank worth US$ 820,000 for education in Samoa.

Meantime, a primary school called "New Hope" at Vaiusu, set up by a New Zealand volunteer with a roll of 47 students, has closed down. The volunteer, Ms. Suzanne Howard, has returned to New Zealand because her visa has expired.

On the phone from Auckland, Ms. Howard said she waiting for a reply from the Immigration Department to her application for a permit to reenter Samoa.

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