LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR TOGIOLA OPENS PEC STUDENT FORUM SPEAKING ABOUT TECHNOLOGY

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IN AMERICAN SAMOA

By La Poasa

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (July 23, 2002 - Samoa News)---Lieutenant Governor Togiola Tulafono said delivering services to the people of American Samoa will someday be much easier than it is now with technology.

Togiola was invited yesterday to open the 8th annual Student Forum, a part of the weeklong 19th annual Pacific Education Conference (PEC) activities.

The Lieutenant Governor was asked to speak about technology, as it is the theme of this year’s PEC event.

The student forum consisted of students from local schools and student representatives from around the Pacific Islands.

Togiola explained that services such as getting house permits or even applying for a driver’s license will one day be done via the computer and "you won’t even have to leave your home."

House permits can be available on-line and applicants can fill up a permit application and will be received by the respective government agency reviewing such permits. Other necessary documents will also be available on the Internet.

The board on these matters, who meet once a month, "may never have to meet again," said Togiola.

It will similar for driver’s license applications, Togiola cited as an example.

"You could apply today for a driver’s license and get it tomorrow," continued the Lieutenant Governor.

Through the efforts of the territorial government's Distance Education, Learning and Telehealth Applications (DELTA) Consortium, Togiola said they are planning on developing such a system to be able to provide government services much faster.

The DELTA Consortium is a strong network of various public agencies connected with a common interest to effectively use telecommunications and information technology to improve the quality, access to, and cost-effectiveness of education and health care in American Samoa and in partnership with other Pacific Islands Region governments.

DELTA members include ASPA, American Samoa Community College, American Samoa Telecommunications Authority, LBJ Medical Authority, Territorial Emergency Management Coordinating Office, the Departments of Education, Public Safety, Public Works, Commerce, Treasury, and Health, and PEACESAT (Pan-Pacific Education and Communication Experiments by Satellite).

Togiola explained to the forum the origins of DELTA and the efforts of the participating agencies to secure funding for DELTA and the mission they hope to accomplish.

"Through DELTA we have met many representatives around the Pacific Islands that we are working collaboratively with."

The DELTA efforts has established over 20 Video Tele-Conferencing (VTC) in the Territory and, with its 7.2 meter satellite antenna dedicated last year, American Samoa joins Guam and Honolulu in keeping the Pacific region "connected."

"This is part of our mission and what we hope to achieve," continued Togiola, who serves as chairman of the Consortium.

He stated that he is proud that American Samoa, as small as it is, "is quite ahead (regarding telecommunication and information systems) of some of our (Pacific) neighbors."

He said the many complaints pertaining to services by the government mostly involved money.

But that has since changed, according to Togiola, "because of the efficiency of our collections, which have gone up 200 percent in the past five years," ASG is able to pay their debts and collect from those who owe to the government.

Togiola also talked at length about the development of education using technology.

With DOE’s e-Rate, all public schools have computer labs connected to the Internet. Reportedly, over 2,100 computers are Internet accessible in the public schools.

Another development is the soon to be available courses at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) via Video Tele-Conferencing (VTC).

Togiola said a total of 12 college instructors have been trained to offer these courses this coming Fall, making it very easy for teachers and students to take courses without having to travel great distances (they only need to go to the DOE or another government agency for use of a VTC).

 

AMERICAN SAMOA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR TOGIOLA: "EMBRACE CHANGES THAT COME WITH TECHNOLOGY"

By La Poasa

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (July 23, 2002 - Samoa News)--Changes that come with technology changes the way we live and the way we think but as long as a Samoan knows who he or she is, the Samoan culture will never be lost.

This comment was made by Lieutenant Governor Togiola Tulafono concerning technology and the Fa’a-Samoa culture during his speech at the opening of the 8th annual Student Forum yesterday.

The 19th annual Pacific Education Conference theme is "Our Pacific Communities. Fostering Educational Access Through Technology."

"Life as we know it today is not the same as the life we knew then," said Togiola, citing that the technology revolution has produced a lot of changes.

"Every technology, no matter what it is, does affect and change our lives."

He continued, "As we adopt them, it changes the way we do things. And when we change the way we do things, it changes the way we think. And when it changes the way we think, it changes our habits and we will eventually adopt a different culture."

"I can not tell how profound or how far the development of technology will take us but I am a firm believer that it doesn’t matter how we carry ourselves, whether we live in big palagi (American) houses or eat with forks and spoons, we will never be palagi as long as we don’t forget who we are."

Togiola told the students that it will be their generation that will carry the Pacific Islands into the future and how far they will go in the ever changing technological world.

"You will be the generation that will carry us to the next level. Our time is done but you will be the ones that are going to foster educational access through technology."

Items from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

For additional reports from the Samoa News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa News.

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