CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON SAMOA MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

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Headquarters to cost $9.2 million

By Marieta Heidi Ilalio

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, June 4, 2009) – The construction of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture’s new multi-million-tala headquarters at Malifa is ready to begin.

It follows yesterday’s groundbreaking ceremony attended by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi and visiting Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stephen Smith.

The US$9.2 million (T$25m) headquarters will take 15 months to build.

It is a joint partnership between Samoa,

Australia, Asian Development Bank and New Zealand.During the opening, Mr Smith revealed that Australia is providing US$2.64 million to help fund the new headquarters, which is part of Australia’s total contribution of US$8.6 million to the education sector in Samoa over the next six years.

"I’ve spoken generally with Samoa’s Prime Minister mainly on education," Mr Smith said.

"The most important thing a parent should give to their children is education."

He said this is a fee relief for MESC to assist parents who cannot afford to send their children to school.

Mr Smith also revealed plans for a further $4 million to train teachers and develop the curriculum.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa thanked all the development donors for their assistance.

He thanked the government of Australia, New Zealand and also the Asian Development Bank for making this project possible.

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