In regard to Tama Foa’s letter of September 21, 2007: “My Wish, fix the Education System”, he wrote that Tonga badly need more education on technical skills for its students to obtain and/or engage in jobs to generate income for them. In a way, Tama Foa is right, not only for the technical aspects of the curriculum but for others too; eg., qualifications of teachers, salaries of teachers, materials and equipments for students and teachers, equal opportunities in education, and a love for teaching and the students. In this letter, I would only attempt to say something on what I and many other Tongans think is the real problem of education in Tonga : No jobs for graduating students.
In my opinion, I think the Education System in Tonga is really not the issue. I think the issue is whether or not there are jobs and means of creating jobs to accomodate the students when they graduate from schools. The Government and private sector simply are unable to create jobs, money, or any other opportunities for the graduating students in Tonga This problem is complicated by the lack of means for the graduating students to start their own private businesses such as farming, fishing, mechanic shops, construction works, and others. When there are no means to create things, there no motivation to do anything. As a result, graduating students hang out in the streets with unfulfilled dreams and feelings of hopelessness.
These students spend approximately 13-14 years of their lives and parents’ hard-earning money to go go schools and in the end they sit and hang around in the streets of Nuku’alofa doing nothing but staring in space and at the people walking by them. I don’t think that this is the purpose of education. The purpose of education really is to teach students to acquire skills to find/create jobs to make them independent and not relying on others for survival. I think that the Government of Tonga is responsible not only for its Education System but for jobs for its young people when they graduate from schools.
Frankly, I don’t think the Government of Tonga and its private sector can satisfy the job requirements of its graduating students any time sooner. Each year, thousands of students are graduating from schools and there are no jobs for them. This somewhat makes the purpose of education meaningless in a way; this is really tragic at best. For this reason, Tonga should look for other means to provide its graduating students with jobs. Today, countries like India, China, Japan, Phillipines, and many other foreign countries are sending their people to America to work in computer industries, elderly care, agriculture, merchant ships, and others. There are of course other countries which help to provide Tonga with jobs; eg., the current farm work program offered by New Zealand to Tonga. The Government of Tonga should step up its effort to send its people to different foreign countries to work. I am sure that this would be healthy for Tonga’s economy and give many generations of Tongans opportunities to permanently reside and have better lives overseas. Tonga is getting smaller every day and the future welfare of its growing population should be seriously considered and done something about it now.
I hope that the politicians in Tonga would spend more time in researching and diplomacy to implement programs to send graduating students and others to find jobs overseas. Cut the rhetorics and be realistic for a change and do something to improve the lives of the Tongans who had suffered for so long and are currently appearing to be losing their patience.
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