Samoa Beat


Handicrafts and art pieces were being displayed at the Pacific Week of Agriculture (P.W.A) show produced by the Lototaumafai society for people with disabilities.

It's a step up for the P.W.A show to a more inclusive theme having these talented members of the Samoan community take part.

"The students are the ones doing this work with the help of the teachers" says Iunaite Mapesone, a teacher at Lototaumafai.
The purpose of their participation is to show everyone that despite the difficulties that students have, they can still manage to do and create things.
The goal resonated well with some of the messages explored during the P.W.A.
Lototaumafai has long established this program for students to learn and to be able to make their imaginations come to life.
Being a part of the show has encouraged the students and has bossted the morale of those within the society.
"Not only fully able people can do things, but people with disabilities can also do just the same, so we must never look down on them" added Iunaite Mapesone.
The P.W.A commenced on Friday October 4, with a ministerial meeting and the closing of the P.W.A show.

The National University of Samoa’s celebration of the International Youth Day themed “Transforming Education” pushed an inclusive environment for youth in all aspects of society, especially in education.

This year’s theme persuades the efforts to make education more inclusive and accessible for all youth including the efforts by the youth themselves.

The event was an initiative by the F.O.A Peer to Peer initiative and this is the third year they have celebrated I.Y.D at N.U.S.

The celebration as a mater of fact was all self funded by the members of the Peer to Peer initiative with support from their faculties.

It is based on the Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong opportunities for all”

To achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the National University of Samoa invited all the faculties to come together as one community to celebrate and demonstrate strategies which can educate students regarding the selected theme.

Despite the big event, only three faculties were able to participate in honoring this international annual event, Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Business and Entrepreneurship together with the Confucius Institution.

The Faculty of Science and School of Nursing also took part with booths they operated throughout the event.

Charity Silia Kilepoa spoke to Samoa Beat on her opinion regarding the event hosted at the school foyer.

“These kinds of academic activities bring students together which is really good.”

“We have been studying under one roof with a lot of students and yet we don’t have that much connection with them,” she said.

“But with activities like this is breaks the bridge of ignorance as well in way and also it can eliminate bullying and all forms of abuse within our campus,” she added.

She also claimed that such event encourages students to motivate each other rather than pushing a division within the faculties.

One important aim of the booths was to encourage students across N.U.S to come up with students led initiatives aimed to push and motivate academic success.

The event posed the question, “How can you as young person play your role in transforming education?”

Despite the small amount of turn up, the event still conjured a huge following from the three faculties who took part, and is labeled a good beginning to what can be an even greater cause in the future.



The School of Medicine of the National University of Samoa commence the year 2019 with a brand new look. It is the first time the School has on board a full teaching team who are not only highly qualified in their respective field of specialty but are also research fellows in their respective research interests.

Additionally, the School has accomplished new working relationships with partnering Universities which includes the University of Otago, NZ, Yale and Brown University, USA, Scientific Research Organization of Samoa (SROS) and the NUS Faculty of Science for joint teaching and research in medicine and health sciences.  

In late 2018, the University has made several appointments which included the recruitment of Aiono Dr Alec Ekeroma as the Founding Professor for the School. Aiono is a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology who has a joint appointment for teaching and research at the University of Otago and the National University of Samoa. Two other specialists were recruited shortly after. Asiata Dr Satupa’itea Viali was appointed to teach Cardiovascular diseases and Dr Osborne Nyandiva who is a specialist in pathology and oncology.

Earlier in the month, Lawal Olantunde Olayemi was recruited as one of the Senior Lecturers for Microbiology and Epidemiology. Mr Olayemi holds the qualifications of Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science with Honours from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Nigeria, a Master of Science in Medical Microbiology from the University of Lagos and a Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Laboratory from Kriger Research Center, Ontario, Canada. He is currently studying towards a PhD in Public Health focusing on infectious disease epidemiology at Walden University, USA.

Since its establishment, the School has had the tremendous support for teaching and learning from the University of Otago, Faculty of Health Sciences. Two other international Universities are now partaking in this collaboration as well as our very own Scientific Research Organization.

In realization for accreditation, the School of Medicine has had continuous support and advice from the World Federation of Medical Education (WFME) which has tasked the Western Pacific Association for Medical Education (WPAME) to oversee the progress of the School to achieve its objectives as envisioned by WHO as accredited medical programmes under the World Medical Directory. This enables the facilitation of local accreditation by the Samoa Qualification Authority.  

The number of students admitted in the medical programme is another major achievement for the School. For the year 2019, thirteen students have been accepted into the programme. Three of which are international students from Australia and Solomon Islands. Two students are graduate students with Bachelor Degrees from the University of Otago and Monarsh University in Australia. The new admission counts to six international students who will be studying medicine at NUS.

The establishment of the national digital library is one of the exciting new developments that will benefit greatly students and staff of the School of Medicine. Some of the medical courses which will be taught jointly by partnering Universities are delivered online and this is an opportune time for this project for knowledge sharing and capacity building.

The National University of Samoa strives to positioned its Faculty of Health Sciences and School of Medicine in a global map through energetic efforts of dedicated teaching and administrative staff which are well supported by well-respected local and international partnering institutions.

The fourth instalment of the Samoa Conference proceedings has been launched highlighting six key goals adopted by the National University of Samoa and other researchers in collaboration.

The proceedings have been launched along with a special Art Catalogue that was assembled specifically for the Samoa Conference IV (SCIV) at the University’s campus.

The theme of the 4th Samoa Conference and its Proceedings is ‘Our Heritage, Our Future: Fostering Sustainable Development through Leadership, Innovation and Collaboration’.

The goal for the conference is a step up from the last Samoa Conference held four years ago with topics up for talks like heritage, climate change, literacy, health and more.

The objectives to pushed in discussions within SCIV are as follows:

  • provide a platform to share scholarship
  • create a network of researchers with a multidisciplinary focus concerned with the acquisition of new knowledge on aspects of Samoan society.
  • encourage emerging researchers to create partnerships with established researchers to design new projects and monitoring programs in their own respective fields.
  • encourage our community to address the current challenges that have shaped the direction of Samoa’s development as a nation. Issues may include the preservation of indigenous cultural heritage, power relations, gender and inclusion, human rights and vulnerability to climate change.
  • reflect on Samoa’s journey as a society since the inaugural Samoa conference and track the nature of such growth.
  • evaluate leadership and creative strategies and Samoa’s locus to give innovative and sustainable solutions to current challenges that improve Samoan society’s resilience in a global community in the 21st

The objectives for 4th Samoa Conference this year reflects on the outcomes of SIDS 2014. NUS continues its commitment to encourage collaboration with emerging and seasoned researchers to engage in new and ongoing discussions on aspects of Samoan society and provide vital evidence that inform policy that empower ordinary lives. The conference objectives are manifold but are encompassed in the following:

The creation of ‘The Samoa Conference’ demonstrated a high degree of effectiveness in the University’s commitment to engage with the community.

The Samoa conference is a multidisciplinary forum that occurs every four years with the most recent one being held last year, September 2018.

The Conference has been an international platform for academics, professional researchers and practitioners with Samoan interests, local and international development partners, to share their research findings with politicians and policy makers together with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and village communities.

The growing numbers of researchers’ interest to present at the Samoa Conference shows a growing awareness that all the various stakeholders’ are responsible in fostering sustainable development for a more resilient Samoa in the future.

Alongside the launching of the proceedings, a special art catalogue catered specifically to SCIV was also launched.

The Art Catalogue titled Tama o le Eleele contains artworks and photographs of other events displayed at the Samoa Conference Juried Art Exhibition.

The Tama o le Eleele Exhibition featured the works of 30 local artists, ranging from the artworks of students of the Leulumoega School of Fine Art and the National University of Samoa to local gallery owners such as the Manamea Art Gallery and the Vanya Taulealo Gallery.

The catalogue also feature photographs of performances by the S.P.A.C.E dance studio, the National Orchestra of Samoa as well as the Alfred James Tattersall Photographic Collection hosted at the National University of Samoa Library.


The Certificate of Adult Teaching graduation for the Oloamanu programme under the National University of Samoa in Savaii last Friday was meant to be just a celebration of the achievement by those who have completed their phase of the programme.

However, the speakers at the event used the platform to call on its participants and the public to go beyond the call of duty in boosting education in Samoa.

It started with reverend Tonu Mauafu Pelesauma of the Congregational Church of Christ in Samoa, who led the opening prayer calling on teachers to stop neglecting the future generation of Samoa.

“Ive been to a few gradations for primary schools in the last two weeks and principals say the same thing; we started with 300 students but now only 200,” he said.

“The question is where the 100 that have dropped out have gone? Out there in the streets, selling items for a profit without a proper education,” he said.

“Teachers, don’t give up on our children,” he added.

His message based on the biblical phrase “rejected stones have become the cornerstones”.

A message well received by the followed speaker and substitute to the Vice Chancellor of the University, Dean of the Faculty of Education Tofilau Dr. Faguele Suaalii.

Tofilau called on the 56 graduates to not leave anyone behind.

Tofilau referring to the rejected stones in Reverend Tonu’s word as the children of Samoa who have had difficulties in school.

“We must ensure that we take these rejected stones and uses them as the cornerstones to the foundation of a brighter future for Samoa,” he said.

It was no different when the Manager for the Samoa in country Training Programme for the Oloamanu Center, Sooalo Sydney Fa’asau took the podium.

“We need to stop thinking that trades courses are not as good as those taken in foundation and higher education. We need to stop thinking that those who study commerce, arts and business are better off than those who work in trades,” he said.

“That is far from the truth,” he said.

So’oalo says TVET courses go further than most other disciplines because of how quickly they help the individual climb the ladder of employment and success.

“We have children who may not be good school, but have natural talent in trades and handicrafts. They must never be thrown out as rejected stones, because they can succeed in their own talent,” he added.

So’oalo erased the belief that TVET are not as good or prestigious as higher education, and emphasized that the University and Oloamanu together hope to bring the spotlight on that very issue.

Amongst the 56 graduates, 37 of which received their Certificate of Attainment under the Cetificate of Adult Teaching series or C.A.T.

This batch are graduates of only a part of the training programme namely, C.A.T. 101 and C.A.T. 102.

The first two of a nine series course.

The other 17 were graduates of the Design Facilitation and Assessment (D.F.A) series under the Oloamanu Centre as well.

The Vice chancellor of the National University of Samoa is urging students of the University to take a chance and serve in Samoa after tertiary studies.

This came after Vice Chancellor and Presdident, Fui Leapai Ilaoa Asofou Soo addressed the quick rise of student intake at the School of Medicine of N.U.S.

Since 2015, the School of Medicine has been rising in the total number of students enrolling to study in Samoa.

This year, the number has spiked to 14 total students. Three of which are international.

“Its only a matter of time before our accreditation comes through and with that comes its own challenges,” Fui says.

“It’s one thing to teach our students and ensure they are qualified to work here and abroad but its another to try and convince them to stay here in Samoa and serve,” he added.

His call on students to ensure they stay and serve Samoa remains. He says it is imperative that they are able to give back after graduation. It’s one reason why the accreditation of S.o.M has taken a slow progress.

The School of Medicine programme is a six year course, with the first three years dedicated to pre clinic training and the final three in practical learning environment.

Young women have dominated the special awards for the National University of Samoa’s foundation graduating class of 2018.

There were 19 special awards for this year’s foundation graduation all recognising the accomplishments of each faculty and discipline’s top students.

Within the 19 categories, fourteen of which were taken by the young ladies of the University including top overall student, Emily Elizabeth Fruean.

Ms. Fruean took to the stage six out of the 19 times in topping majority of her courses taken during her foundation year.

Her triumph came timely with the special address given by the Chief Executive Officer of the Land Transport Authority, Galumalemana Ta’atialeoitiiti Tutuvanu-Schwalger who spoke about her challenges as a Samoan young lady growing up to become a leader.

“I faced challenges in my journey to be where I am now, but I had guides that helped me along the way,” she said.

Tutuvanu-Schwalger says the stresses of being a boss at work had sometimes been overwhelming for her, but she knew where to get the support she needed.

“We have a special mass everyday at noon at the Mulivai Catholic Cathedral. There I go every chance I get to ask God for guidance in my work,” she said.

“And I tell you the load has been lighter ever since, it still is. Nothing is impossible to God, if you put God first always,” she said.

She added that success comes from honest hard work. She says that she keeps grounded in honesty and hard work despite the elevated position she holds within her work place.

“I always remind my employees, that despite me being the C.E.O at work, I will still do the dirty work if it means getting the job done,” she said.

This year, the graduating foundation class for N.U.S totals to 522 students.

The T.V.E.T courses graduation will be held in the coming week.

The National University of Samoa continue to elevate its School of Medicine with the recruitment of three new lecturers in six different areas in medical studies.

The Vice Chancellor and President of N.U.S, Prof. Fui Leapai Ilaoa Lau Asofou So’o says it’s one thing to push for the School of Medicine to raise the bar, but to ensure that it meets the gender balance that N.U.S has been advocating for.

The three new lectures are Drs Aigaeiva Sesega, Belladonna Potoi, and Salote Va’ai.

The V.C says having these three women teach a vital part of the Bachelors of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery Programme (M.B.B.S) will only strengthen the core of the University’s goal to produce quality students.

“This is a huge plus for the University and especially the students that we teach. N.U.S is capitalizing on the best we have and to have these ladies join our workforce, it’s crucial,” he said.

Meanwhile, the School of Medicine has just taken in the highest intake of students for the programme since it started, including three international students.

Dr Belladonna Potoi says the most important part being able to teach at the S.O.M is training the future doctors of Samoa.

“It means a lot for us to be able to teach here at N.U.S to give back to our country,” she said.

Dr. Belladonna Potoi is a fellow in the Royal Australian College of Physicians with vast experience in internal medicine and primary healthcare.

Dr Salote Vaai labelled her appointment nostalgic.

“We were all students of N.U.S and to come back here and give back to the University, it really is a great feeling,” she said.

Dr Vaai holds postgraduates Diplomas in obstetrics, gynaecology and public health from the University of Auckland, while Dr Sesega is a paediatrician specialist and holds a postgraduates diploma in child health.

The recruitment of the three has also highlighted the need for more medical professionals in Samoa. A vision that Dr Potoi says is a collaborative effort between the people and the University.

She says that while the conversation and concerns over the salaries of medical practitioners in Samoa is very visible, it also expresses the definite need for more local doctors and nurses in Samoa.

Dr Vaai agrees and says not only is it a matter of medical professional’s salaries, but the number of hours that they work.

A case the university Vice Chancellor and President called self-exploitation.

“Some of them are working beyond a reasonable and safe amount of hours and this is because of the need for more practitioners in the field,” said Dr Potoi.

“This is why the University is pushing its accreditation and striving to keep raising the bar on the standard that S.O.M is at, because we know what needs to be done, and we can provide,” said prof. Fui.

Dr Potoi says the vision is to produce local doctors who serve within the medical field in Samoa with the same quality as those overseas. A vision that Prof. Fui says is closer to being met with the rate the School of Medicine is growing.

“Give it five years. In five years our first batch of qualified doctors will graduate we will be able to up the service in the medical profession in Samoa,” he said.

Dr Potoi and Vaai say the biggest issue is that the numbers of doctors has yet to meet the number of hours needed to cater to the public. All the more reason for the School of Medicine to succeed and had accredited doctors.

However, the Vice Chancellor says that comes with its concerns.

“Its one thing to have our students accredited not only regionally but internationally but another to face the brain drain phenomenon,” he said.

Prof. Fui claims once S.O.M is recognized not only regionally, but on a larger scale, the chances of local graduates choosing to move overseas for employment also rises and it yields another concern.

A concern that he says can be alleviated with a rise in student medical interests joining the School of Medicine.

The recruitment of staff to fill the relevant specialist fields of teaching in the School of Medicine is the University priority in anticipation to prepare the School for local and international accreditation. Three additional clinicians have been recruited to fill the six specialist areas of clinical teaching for the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programme.

The six specialist areas include paediatrics, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, public health, primary health and intensive care medicine. The appointment of the three clinicians is a new model of appointment introducing the full time expected (FTE) for example 0.3 or 0.4 of the total number of hours a week expected of an individual to perform the duties and responsibilities required for the job.

In 2018, Aiono Dr Alec Ekeroma was appointed the founding Professor of the School. Professor Ekeroma holds the highest qualification of PhD in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Dr Osborne Nyandiva whose teaching capacity encompasses pathology and clinical forensic medicine was recruited shortly after the appointment of Aiono. Like Professor Ekeroma, Dr Nyandiva holds a PhD in Oncology and Pathology. Later in the same year, Asiata Dr Satupa’itea Viali joined the teaching team. Being a former Dean and lecturer in medicine, Asiata brings to the School vast experience academically and clinically in the specialist field of cardiovascular and rheumatic heart disease. Asiata holds a Master of Public Health and Fellows in the Royal Australian College of Physicians, European Society of Cardiology and Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.

In early 2019, Mr Lawal Olayemi who holds a Master Degree in Medical Biology was appointed. Four other specialist fields of teaching in the preclinical years of the programme will be delivered online starting in July by selected academics from the University of Otago, Faculty of Health Sciences. Two scientists from the Scientific Research Organization of Samoa (SROS) will be engaged in July to supplement the online teachings from the University of Otago for the Biochemistry & Genetics course.

The new recruits increase the number of the current teaching team of the School to twelve comprising of 9 full time and 3 part time staff. The full time team of nine staff is made up of the new recruits plus the existing teaching team comprising of Tuigamala Dr Stanley Dean, Dr Dyxon Hansell and Mr Keresoma Leaupepe who is currently on PDL to pursue PhD in biochemistry and genetics.    

In preparation for accreditation, the School engaged in 2015 and 2017 the Western Pacific Association for Medical Education (WPAME) to carry out two external evaluations for the MBBS programme. The recommendations from the two external reviews highlighted the need to increase the population of staff with the relevant expertise to teach the programme. The search for specialists began in late 2018 and since then seven specialist lecturers are on board with a few remaining full time teaching positions to fill which includes Pharmacology. The University anticipates by the end of this academic year the School of Medicine will have on board a fully-fledged academic team to deliver a quality medical programme that conforms to national and international standards for medical education.