All Tongans living overseas are saddened and sympathetic to the extensive devastation caused by the latest damages of tropical cyclones like Ian in Tonga, especially the Ha'apai Group (Tropical Cyclone Ian . . . Jan 11). The staff of Lo'au University hopes that Tongans overseas will rally as they always do to help their families rebuild their lives from the wake of Cyclone Ian's destruction.
You also reported on the launch of "Tonga's first online virtual university" (Lo'au University . . . Jan. 7, 2014), which the Honorable Dr. 'Ana Maui Taufe'ulungaki (Minister of Education) dedicated its official opening January 6. Lo'au University is introducing Tonga to the benefits of having access to the worldwide library available on the Internet, 24 hours, seven days a week.
University Online Learning
Speaking on the benefits of "online learning" for students seeking university-level education, Dr. Maui correctly cited Lo'au University's uniqueness. Some existing traditional universities have adopted a hybrid version of online learning, like the USP, but at Lo'au University learning is entirely performed on computers with Internet capabilities on the "Web" (World Wide Web).
The new concept can be confusing to generations of people brought up on the traditional brick-and-mortar classroom model. But just like old civilizations who had to graduate from writing on slates, to paper and pencils, and now to computers, Lo'au University brings university education to more students, young and old, and to the villages and islands, at much affordable costs.
Tongan students can learn quickly to keep up with the progress in education elsewhere in the world. It amounts to having huge amounts of information being moved at an unbelievable speed, by anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world with access to a personal computer (PC), laptop PC, tablet PC, and a smart phone.
Challenges to Lo'au Administrators
Dr. Maui also challenged Lo'au University administrators of three important social factors:
• That students are able to progress at Lo'au University as well as continue on to other institutions overseas to further their education, and to find meaningful jobs and careers.
• That Lo'au University can bring the guaranteed low-cost savings of online-learning to Tongan students.
• That Lo'au University can provide a well-respected and longterm trusted educational product, which will benefit the country and its people through the ages.
The Board of Directors of Lo'au University does appreciate the wise leadership provided by Dr. Maui with all the support her Ministry has shown to our humble beginning. Lo'au University administrators are now charged with heavy social responsibilities to provide online learning to as many Tongan students as possible, and at an affordable cost.
Sione Ake-mei-hakau Mokofisi, MBA
Chief Financial Officer, Lo'au University
samokofisi [at] email [dot] phoenix [dot] edu