News Release

Church Launches ‘Success in School Extra Class’ Program in Port Vila

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints launched the “Success in School Extra Class” initiative in Vanuatu last week. The program will provide Year 7 to Year 10 students tutor and peer support after school hours, at their local Church meetinghouses twice each week.

The program has been developed by the Church in consultation with Vanuatu’s Ministry of Education and aims to help young Ni-Vanuatu pass the critical examinations at the end of Year 8 and Year 10. Passing these exams opens the doors for young people to continue to higher levels of schooling including university and vocational education.

Latter-day Saint leaders Elder Adolf Johansson and President Yvon Basil spoke at the launch of the program last week.

Elder Johansson told students, parents and educators in Port Vila last week, “We are not only learning to get certificates but also to become like our Heavenly Father, who is an intelligent being.”

Elder Johansson encouraged the children who will participate in the after school class “to accept to be corrected, don’t be afraid to ask for help from anyone.”

Yvon Jacques Basil, president of the Church’s Port Vila Vanuatu Stake, emphasized the importance of parents being closely involved in their children’s education.   

The Success in School Extra Class is a pilot program being carried out in Vanuatu, but possibly going to other locations in the future.

“Vanuatu has been chosen for many reasons,” Pacific Area Director of Church Schools, Michael Carthew said.

“It is not only a developing country with a developing education system, but also a beautiful country with faithful and willing people. The young people, parents and volunteers are all so eager to help.”

He continued, “The attendance and enthusiasm for the program to date has been far beyond what we could have hoped and is a wonderful reflection of the desire to learn among the young Latter-day Saints of Vanuatu.”

The classes run each Tuesday and Thursday at two of the Church’s Vanuatu meetinghouses, in central Port Vila and Blacksand, and are supported by 14 volunteer tutors. 

Lesline Malsungai, a retired teacher since 1994, is grateful to be a volunteer tutor. “It is a good idea that the Church has come up with,” she says, “as not all children have the opportunity to take part in an extra class such as this. It is important that they get the support of their parents and teachers so they can feel good about school. As they feel good about it, it will help them grow and it will have a positive impact on their educational and personal life.”

She believes the extra support will strengthen the young people’s confidence and results.

One of the 40 youth participating in the new class is Paulini Mahit. “I like the extra class,” she says. “The tutors really help with the homework that I am not clear with. My friends and I know this program will help us prepare for our national exams.”

Stephanie Egbert, Assistant Director for the LDS Church Educational System Global Education Initiative, said, “We are so proud of the turnouts. We can see that these children have a light of learning in their eyes. We do not want that light to go out.”

Elder Johansson summarised the overall objective of the program, saying, "The goal is for them to increase their knowledge to better prepare themselves to lead eternal families and to become leaders in their country and community."

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