During uncertain times of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has given its assurance that the safety and wellbeing of sons and daughters of Samoa studying abroad, remains a priority and focused consideration.
A press release has confirmed that students studying in the various sponsor countries including New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Japan and China would not be returned home at this time.
“The Government of Samoa has not directed nor issued an order for the repatriation of its scholarships students from any of the sponsor/host countries or institutions”.
MFAT says they are cooperating with the scholarship sponsor partners and institutions, and confirm that Samoa’s diplomatic missions are in close contact with all students.
“All of Samoa’s diplomatic missions abroad in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, Brussels, New York and student counsellor in Fiji are actively engaged to assist and support the students as and when the need arises”.
The release also assures that students who have opted to stay and continue studies will receive continued support from the higher education providers, in whatever mode of learning the institutions are offering.
“Students continue to receive pastoral care and are provided with regular updates on the Coronavirus situation and directed to available advice and support services within their institutions”, the Government assures.
Although the majority of students have chosen to stay on and continue their studies, some students have chosen to come home. A special flight from Fiji this week brought home 38 students, both scholarships and private while over 90 students opted to remain behind.
A key factor students had to consider was the inability to return and complete this calendar year of studies. Choosing to come home meant the end of the 2020 school year as the press release reads, with bolded words to emphasise.
“Students who have returned home are those who have opted to do so and subsequently have their awards deferred to 2021″.
“Some individuals who have returned, in particular final year students have arranged to complete their awards using on line studies”.
Source: Press Statement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade.