How Samoa's prime minister is backing a Latter-day Saint effort to provide education in his nation

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  • Passionate Humanitarian Salt Lake City, UT
    May 21, 2019 3:46 p.m.

    So these schools don't pay teachers? That's unfortunate. Don't do fundraisers? With remittances so high...why not? They don't have a budget? Can the church not provide one, however meager? They don't have committees? Is that good? It's not apparent to me.

    The article says they work on faith. Hmmm. Feels...I dunno. There are real needs that aren't being addressed though, I feel like.

    Also, the article states: "Other than a light curriculum that most schools don't use — most of the time in class is spent in singing and simple lessons created by the mothers — the only resources have come from two unexpected sources." budget, an unused curriculum. No teachers. What about this is preschool in any way? Singing songs isn't the only thing to a pre-school education. I'm confused.

  • RWBest American Fork, UT Highland, UT
    May 20, 2019 7:39 p.m.

    The Mum's Preschool initiative was put in place by the Pacific Area leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (along with three other additional study helps) because of somewhat unique needs in that area to supplement the Church's globally deployed Self-Reliance courses.
    While the Mum's Preschools don't charge students (be they Church members of friends of other faiths) the school are not without cost. We largely used the donated supplies as a seedbed to help startup the schools (just two boxes of rationed supplies) because there was little to nothing otherwise. The real support to run these no charge schools comes from the impoverished families providing merger supplies and homemade materials, where mothers and grandmothers come together to plan lessons and activities to support head start learning activities on their donated time and effort. Some in Samoa cannot afford to send their children to preschool or any school for that matter.
    Note: As Self-Reliance grows in Samoa - next year becomes the final year with plans for a supply container to go down.

  • LilOne Nezperce, ID
    May 20, 2019 4:15 a.m.


  • Edmunds Tucker St. George, UT
    May 18, 2019 10:47 p.m.

    ''supplies like paper, pencils, markers and books. '' Samoa is a Garden of Eden, or if not, comes close. As a tropical island, the rains fall twice a day, usually mid afternoon, and before dawn. The school books mildew in the 100% humidity, same for paper, anything mildews that isn't plastic or glass. Air conditioning is rare because Samoa relies on fuel oil, usually from Indonesia, which makes the cost of electricity about ten times higher than in California. So few dare run air conditioners throughout their homes or fales. To dry things, they may have a closet with a light bulb or two, to generate a little heat to perhaps dry the closet contents. TVs and radios are left on day and night, so the bit of heat keeps them circuits dryer, than otherwise. So, to expand education, something must lower the cost of electricity, so air conditioners can keep things dry, and to expand to provide libraries. Use the Pacific ocean current and submersible hydrogenerators for electricity, expand air conditioners, dry out the books, and watch the students soar.

  • hbeckett Colfax, CA
    May 18, 2019 3:08 p.m.

    why can't this program be accepted for what it is wonderful parents are involved also and the certificates are acceptable by the local government

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    May 18, 2019 9:42 a.m.


  • Stirling55 United Kingdom, 00
    May 18, 2019 4:16 a.m.

    I served in Church leadership in The Pacific Area, which includes Samoa and Tonga. I saw at first hand, the good that is done on education, by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Parents, including those not members of our Faith, want their children to be in our schools, not because of cost, free or otherwise, but because they are seen as being superior to other available schools. The Church investment in these schools stems from our recognition that good education is vital for self-reliance and the economic independence of individuals and families. That should be the main focus of what is happening here, not whether or not it is free. All such initiatives should be welcomed for what they are, and what they do.

    Referring to free education as being “socialist” in nature, is misappropriation at best. Many members of the Church across the world are in education systems that are provided “free” by the State, but this is about accessibility, not political pedantry. I have obenefitted from such an educational system, as have my children, but I am as far from being a Socialist as one could get. The only label we should attach to this is “good”.

  • David Centerville, UT
    May 17, 2019 10:54 p.m.

    Brave Robin,

    Give us a reason to believe government can create a program for the poor that will be successful. By successful we could expect--efficient, not financially wasteful, not politicized, not a redistribution program, and actually educates.

  • BYU Africa 🌍 Provo, UT
    May 17, 2019 4:20 p.m.

    The church had extensive educational institutions throughout the Pacific, including the Church College of New Zealand. They need to bring back the educational emphasis in poor areas.

    Glad to see this is happening in Samoa. Now, start more educational programs where the church is growing fastest - Africa.

    The Church needs a BYU-Africa. Quit letting the bean-counters get in the way of prudent educational initiatives.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    May 17, 2019 3:33 p.m.

    @Brave Sir Robin:
    I was one of two who answered your question so I must be one of those engaging in mental gymnastics.

    "Is free education for the poor a good idea, or is it not?" Yes, it is.
    But government isn't free. In our present case, those being educated will have to pay off the debt incurred for their education in the future. So it isn't free.

    But the LDS church and these mothers in Samoa are providing free education for the poor that really is free.

  • 1Reader Alpine, UT
    May 17, 2019 2:53 p.m.

    It may be useful to help and support the teachers/organizations affected by this improvement. They are likely also part of the equation.

  • Trudere Provo, UT
    May 17, 2019 2:44 p.m.

    Free education in the U.S. is taken for granted, thus underappreciated. Bravo to the mothers and families for doing the best they can with what they have! I'll donate!

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    May 17, 2019 11:44 a.m.

    @Brave Sir Robin: "But wait...this sounds an awful lot like free education."

    No, it doesn't. Free education, like free lunch, free housing, and free medical care are all terrible ideas. 'That which we obtain too cheaply we esteem too lightly,' remains as true today as when it was penned in late 18th century.

    "Free schools" have become little more than baby sitting services, lacking real education, not teaching young people to think nor even providing marketable skills in far too many cases. "Free" lunches end up in the garbage can. Govt housing is crime ridden.

    These schools require the service of parents (mothers) to provide education to their children. That isn't free unless you place no value on a person's time.

    "it's ok if it's the church's idea, but not ok if it's a liberal government's idea."

    And with this question you reveal your fundamental dishonesty. Of course many things are ok for churches that are not ok for government. Or did you want UoU or UCLA to adopt BYU's honor code? What about prayer and scripture study in class?

    Some are so full of hatred they cannot recognize any good by a church but must attempt to stir up discontent at every turn.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    May 17, 2019 10:26 a.m.

    Wow, the mental gymnastics being done by you to justify your convoluted position is absolutely dizzying.

    Free to whom and provided by whom?

  • Craig Coleman Santaquin, UT
    May 17, 2019 9:49 a.m.

    I believe free education for all children is essential to a free society. I also believe that that the best way to provide childhood education is when it is controlled and operated at a local level, where parents are deeply involved. The model described in this article is one where local resources are used to accomplish a simple goal at no cost to the participants, other than their time. I believe the success of the Samoan preschool program is directly attributed to its local control. When communities build and control education systems, success is much more attainable. For that reason, I do not support a system of education in our country where any level of control is exerted by the national government.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    May 17, 2019 9:05 a.m.

    Wow, the mental gymnastics being done by a few of you to justify your convoluted position is absolutely dizzying.

    Can't you just answer the question? Is free education for the poor a good idea, or is it not?

  • 1Foryourconsideration Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2019 8:56 a.m.

    @Brave Sir Robin - San Diego, CA
    Your assertion is disingenuous at best. "Liberal government's idea" of free education is underpinned by taxes which fill the coffers of "public funds" (converted taxes) and administered by ever growing bureaucracies, which are expensive and largely useless. If you are truly in San Diego CA then you see the results all around you.
    This model is purely volitional and requires no administration beyond the local level, and all serve without pay. Yet, somehow, the quality of the education delivered is deemed preferable by the parents of the students thus the schools are growing accordingly. Self reliance is a beautiful thing to see and the results are more durable across more cultures than any other to date.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    May 17, 2019 8:53 a.m.

    @Brave Sir Robin:

    You are correct. Yes, it is one of those ideas where it is OK if it is done some other way than the government.

    Socialism by government fiat is a failed idea. But we still have the poverty and inequity that socialism said it could solve. So we have to find another way to solve these problems. This is a possible solution.

    I feel sorry for the for-fee preschools. They are losing business,. But disruptive models, do exactly that, they disrupt the existing models. But it is an opportunity to improve.

    It may be beneficial for an enterprising PhD student to study the effects this is happening. I would propose that the older children in these families who never attended the pre-schools are also doing better academically, simply because they see that their parents consider education to be so important.

    I wonder what the mothers do while they wait for their children in pre-school. Maybe they are studying on their own, or participating in some co-operative business ventures?

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    May 17, 2019 8:43 a.m.

    I love this!

    But wait...this sounds an awful lot like free education. And weren't we just railing on Washington yesterday for providing free education?

    I suspect this is one of those things where it's ok if it's the church's idea, but not ok if it's a liberal government's idea. Did I get that right?

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    May 17, 2019 7:25 a.m.


  • utahprincipal801 Sandy, UT
    May 17, 2019 6:44 a.m.

    Could donations be sent through the Humanitarian Fund if we designate it for Samoa Preschools? Or, would another account be better listed?

  • WallE Walla Walla, WA
    May 16, 2019 11:56 p.m.

    I was a young in Tonga when the Church opened the new high school in Vava'u. The experience profoundly affected my life.

    The Church has done an amazing job creating great schools and great teachers with the BYU-Hawaii outreach program which allows men and women to get BYU-Hawaii credentials via remote learning opportunities.

    I'd argue that the Church can further bless it's members with Community College/Trade School opportunities. As an example, electric power is $0.40 US dollars/KWh, over 3 times what is paid in Utah. Many people don't have power because of the cost and their limited incomes. Small windmills using trade winds can give power for running water in a home that currently lacks running water, gathered in cisterns. Polynesians are smart and resourceful but they need the higher level education provided in the trades to teach them how to install and maintain systems such as small windmills that provide running water and lights.

    Polynesians (members and good people) profoundly affected my life. If we can bless them with education I know this part of the world will continue to bless us too. Visit for yourself to see the amazing effect of the Church there.

  • Chessermesser West Valley City, UT
    May 16, 2019 10:52 p.m.

    Good for those mothers.

  • TAS Tehachapi, CA
    May 16, 2019 10:03 p.m.

    This sounds like a great program, is there a way to contribute to these preschools?