Samoa Government Lengthens Public School Hours

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Increase part of wider education reform program

By Alan Ah Mu

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, July 23, 2013) – Timetables are to be reset to account for the longer hours decided for Government schools in Samoa.

They’ve begun to work with schools on that, Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (MESC), Chief Executive Officer, Matafeo Tanielu Aiafi, said today.

Completion of the task should occur by the fourth quarter of the school year, Matafeo said.

Officially when Term 3 began this month start times for all Government schools remained at 9am but Year 1 to Year 3 finished half an hour later at 2pm, while Year 4 to Year 8 finished an hour later at 3pm.

High schools and colleges finish an hour and a half later at 4pm.

Primary schools have seven subjects in the curriculum.

"There isn’t enough time to teach these subjects," Matafeo said.

Under the old hours, kids in primary spend four and half hours at school but with assembly, prayers and recess it meant only four hours were spent on lessons, he said.

The new school or "contact hours" were set after a survey of teachers and parents by MESC’s policy and planning section.

The ministry advised Cabinet to extend the school hours.

In announcing the changes last Saturday Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s press secretariat said:

"The changes were initiated for the following reasons:

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