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1. EFA Goals and Targets


It was in January of 1996, that the Government of Samoa (GOS) introduced its first biannual Statement of Economic Strategy (SES) entitled "A New Partnership"

1996-1997. The second Statement of Economic Strategy 1998-1999 entitled "Strengthening the Partnership" summarises the GOS directions for public sector reform. These documents incorporate the Department of Education’s (DOE) policies and strategies for the period 1995-2005 designed to build an education system characterised by equity, quality, relevancy and efficiency. The SES ‘Strengthening the Partnership’ (April 1998) refers to the essential education, professional and technical skills being available to the private sector if the GOS’s planning vision is to be achieved. The same document also emphasises the importance of a cost-effective vocational and technical training as well as improving programs and facilities for primary and secondary education.

The Education Policies and Strategies documents are products of the Education Policy and Planning Development project funded by New Zealand that started in 1993 following a review by the World Bank in 1992 of the country’s Education Sector. The Education Policies and Strategies widen the focus of the department - to include early childhood education highlighting the role of parents as first teachers; include special education as a result of the introduction of universal (compulsory) primary education; to establish post secondary education policies and strategies and to suggest ways of strengthening and promoting departmental and school management.

1.1 Expansion of Early Childhood care and development activities1.1

The importance of early –childhood education is well recognised. The general aim as stated in the Education Policies 1995 – 2005 is to provide a sound foundation for future learning and development through a service which enhances family, community and village involvement.

1.2 Universal access to, and completion of primary education by the Year 2000

Primary education covers an eight year cycle divided into 3 year sections – lower primary (Years 1-3), middle primary (Years 4-6) and upper primary (Years 7 & 8). With reference to the 4 key concepts aforementioned that underpin the policy principles of DOE’s planning documents, the goals of primary education are:


Access: universal (compulsory) provision of, and access to primary education with a broad and enriching curriculum that will enable all students to realise their full potential as well as appropriate educational opportunities for students with special needs.


Academic Achievement: whole language approach – reading, writing, speaking and listening – programs using an approved bilingual methodology which will produce appropriate levels of literacy in Samoan and English; the systematic development of computational skills and numerical concepts; and introduction to scientific and technological concepts, skills and knowledge about, and understanding of, the need to protect the natural environment; and introduction to the processes and methods of social science through the study of social groups in Samoa and elsewhere; and stimulation of imagination and creativity through the expressive arts.


Individual Development: development of the emotional, spiritual and physical health of every student; recognition of developmental stages in learning, and individual differences in achievement; promotion of self-esteem, individual talents, and interests through learning programs based on the student’s own experiences; encouragement of independent and creative thought, confidence in expression and desire for knowledge; and the preparation of the individual for progression to higher learning.


Effective Management: a single system of management for all primary schools which strengthens the partnership between centralised and school-based structures; enforcement of universal primary education; and recognition and development of leadership qualities and organisational skills among primary school committee members to achieve the goals and objectives stated in the school charter.

1.3 Improvement in Learning Achievement

Current assessment is dominated by pen and paper tests both in schools and in national examinations.

However, the goal is to establish just and impartial evaluation and assessment methods which:

seek information which will benefit the student

recognise and enhance the developmental nature of learning

enable equitable access throughout the system

1.4 Reduction of the adult illiteracy rate, especially the disparity between male and female illiteracy rates.

One of the principal goals of Samoa’s education system is to produce individuals that are literate in both Samoan and English.

The department therefore aims to determine and monitor the level of literacy in the early stages of primary education, which will consequently reduce adult literacy.

1.5 Expansion of basic education and training in other essential skills required by youth and adults.

A major thrust of the Government of Samoa’s (GOS) development policy is to create an economic and social environment that enables all citizens to achieve their potential. Education and training is the driving force of this development policy. Without employment skills and levels of basic literacy needed to function in an increasingly competitive international economy, an individual’s opportunity for advancement will be severely handicapped. Achieving the development objectives in Education, Agriculture, Health and Commerce as outlined in the Government’s Statement of Economic Strategy 1998-1999 will substantially contribute to the capacity of citizens to realise their full potential and collectively enhance society’s ability to meet community obligations (SES, 1998).

As previously mentioned the government has placed emphasis on cost-effective vocational and technical training at both secondary and post-secondary levels (Strategy of Economic Statement 1998-1999). This will assist in reducing structural unemployment as well as ensuring a supply of skilled labour force.

This emphasis is reflected in the Education Policies and Strategies (1995 – 2005). With regards to the concept of Equity one of the goals of secondary education is to allow access of students to a comprehensive range of educational experiences which will enable students to make informed choices about their future.

For Quality, the aim to maintain a strong academic curriculum with focus on development of general subjects (language, mathematics, sciences, social sciences and arts) as the foundation for intellectual development and at the same time include in academic structures the applied subjects as the foundation for further education and training.

1.5.1 Adult Education: Formal System

Education in Samoa spans from early childhood, primary, secondary to tertiary levels of education. Educational policies of the GOS are underpinned by the philosophy that education is a life long process and the belief that it is the most vital factor in development and involves relationships between the individual, the community and the nation. It is a life long process to which the family, traditional village institutions, church, and other community groups all contribute. It is in this context that the relevant authorities in education realise the need to take a holistic view in considering education from infancy to adulthood. Hence, although basic education is the priority still with regards to literacy and numeracy, one must also develop the upper spectrum which is adult education.

It is stated in the Education Policies and Strategies 1995-2005 that a national post secondary system should be concerned with advancement of knowledge, scholarship and intellectual pursuit, and at the same time focus attention on employment-related skills development. All post secondary institutions should be characterised by equity, quality, relevancy and efficiency.

In whatever institution (Polytechnic, University, vocational or non-formal institution), a post secondary student should be able to access, command and criticise existing knowledge while exploring practical issues, creating new knowledge, identifying problem dimensions and working in a team.

Another important goal of post-secondary education is optimum use of scarce resources while still maintaining equity, quality, relevancy and efficiency.

1.5.2 Adult Education: Non-Formal

A lot of government and especially non-government organisations contribute to the quality of life through various educational programs on certain issues and concerns even though these organisations do not have explicit goals.

1.6 Increased acquisition by individuals and families of the knowledge, skills and values required for better living, made available through all education channels.I

n the Education Policies and Strategies 1995-2005, the importance of educational back-up programs for the teachers in the classrooms is emphasised. The aim therefore, is to strengthen the role of the Educational Broadcasting Unit (EBU) in primary education. It is also stated that institutions should empower students in the use of technology while developing an understanding that technology is not an end in itself but a means to social betterment and economic progress.

Radio is very much utilised by other government sectors like Health and Agriculture. Their goal as far as education is concerned is to continue using the media for their educational programs for it has proven to be an extremely effective means of forwarding messages regarding healthy and happy living.

2. EFA Strategy and/or plan of action


The government’s development policy previously mentioned aims at ensuring that all citizens achieve their potential by providing the necessary economic and social environment for growth. Developments in not only government but also non-government organisations are based on the GOS conviction that education and training is a life long process. That education and training is the driving force for the full development of the human capital.

Each organisation is responsible for designing as well as reviewing its own development activities. However, these organisational developments must be in accordance with government’s expectations as outlined in the SES.

2.1 Early Childhood Care and Development

The government’s medium term assistance includes:

Establishment of a Working Party under guidance of the Pre-schools Association to advise on issues relating to the sector.

Establishment of an advisory service for parents as first teachers.

Grants for selected recipients to enrol in early-childhood education courses through the University of the South Pacific Extension Centre.

Funding for the translation of the Pre-school Teachers Certificate program into the Samoan language: availability of the program in Samoan is seen as a positive way of promoting early-childhood education in rural areas.

Funding for attachment of pre-school teachers from rural areas at established Apia pre-schools for three-week periods.

Longer term assistance:

the introduction of pre and inservice training courses at the Faculty of Education, National University and,

production of early-childhood education materials by the Curriculum Development Unit.


2.2 Primary Education

In planning for further development of primary education, attention focusses on quality and delivery improvement. Planning issues identified include:

provision of adequate physical facilities

enforcement of established teacher-student ratios (1:30)

increased resourcing for rural schools where multigrade classes are taught

a review and development of curriculum materials across Years 1-8 with a focus on literacy in Samoan and English

establishment of national learning standards and development of assessment methods with which to measure achievement and diagnose learning needs

provision of pre- and in-service teacher education with focus on literacy development and bilingual methodology.

2.2.1 Special Needs Education

The Department of Education also recognises the rights of students with physical and learning disabilities to an appropriate education as a basic human right. Until very recently, the educational responsibility for students with special needs has been left to the collective effort and commitment of parents, teachers and community. It is the aim of the department therefore to ensure that children with special learning difficulties are able to receive schooling appropriate to their needs for them to achieve their potential learning levels and to become adults who are as independent as possible. Thus, a Special Education Development plan will be introduced to provide:

supplementation and support of existing community initiatives in special education

identification of special needs student by location and type of need, expert assessment of, and provision for, learning requirements.

training for teacher trainees to identify special needs students.

employment within the Faculty of Education of a blind lecturer, initially possibly on a part time basis to assist in this aspect of the program.

training to enable district nurses to assist in identification of special needs students in rural areas.

Production and maintenance of trained and qualified special needs educators through pre and in-service teacher education.

provision of an increasing demand for special education at the secondary level and beyond.

2.3 Learning Achievement and Outcomes

Primary Level

As previously mentioned, assessment at school is mainly by written examination. However, to achieve the goals specified in the previous section, the following strategies will be implemented:

national minimum achievement levels will be established in all subjects and at all levels against which individual student progress will be measured;

intervention strategies will ensure achievement of learning objectives by all students: particular attention will be paid to boys’ progress with regards to the continuous evidence of poor performance in literacy and numeracy skills in comparison to girls.

a range of formative and summative assessment methods will be used to measure student progress and evaluate teaching and learning programs.

A national assessment and evaluation program will include literacy and numeracy skills-monitoring:

benchmark testing in literacy – Samoan and English – and numeracy at Years 4 and 6 will be initiated in trial school before going nation wide.

the Year 8 national exam will be retained in the medium term for the purposes of secondary school selection and the evaluation of primary curriculum objectives.

Secondary Level

Like the primary level, assessment is dominated by pen and paper examinations. However, it has been realised that written examinations focus on the narrow range of knowledge and skills that can be assessed in written forms. Other assessment approaches will have to be developed for assessment to be valid.

The Junior Secondary School Certificate, Samoa School Certificate and the Pacific Senior Secondary Certificate examinations will remain in the medium-term until a review of the current curriculum. However, the range of subjects offered in all secondary examinations will be widened to include Samoan, agricultural science, business studies, home economics and industrial arts.

2.4 Adult Literacy

DOE believes that literacy in the first language is needed before the introduction of reading and writing in a second language can take place if bilingualism is to be successfully developed. To achieve this;

all schools will follow bilingual teaching methodologies that recognise Samoan as the first language of most students;

basic literacy in Samoan will be established before the introduction of English with provision for children whose first language is English;

Samoan and English must be taught systematically, according to an approved bilingual methodology;

development of literacy programs to ensure systematic teaching and learning of Samoan through out primary schooling and of English from Year 4 to 8, will be a priority of a Language Taskforce to be established;

the bilingual literacy needs of teachers will be identified and provided for.

The department’s approach is to focus on eliminating illiteracy (English, Samoan and Numeracy) in the primary level. It was proposed as discussed in 2.3 that literacy tests are to be introduced to determine and monitor the level of literacy at an early stage of primary education. Appropriate interventions are to be carried out to assist students identified to be "at risk" in these tests.

Developing literacy skills in the primary level contributes to improving adult literacy levels.

2.5 Training in Essential Skills

2.5.1 Education

In the government’s commitment to improve the quality of education for all learners in terms of relevancy, the secondary system is developed to enhance the self-concept and human potential of every student and develops self-reliance and independence in thought and action. As well, the program is designed for acquisition of the essential educational foundation for development into a productive and versatile citizen who is aware of his or her rights and responsibilities within the faasamoa (Samoan way of life). The program ensures each school-leaver has general knowledge and skills in language, mathematics, the sciences and social sciences as well as applicable practical knowledge and skills. The secondary system enhances attitudes and values upon which occupation-specific training can be built and an awareness of employment opportunities as well preparing the individual for further learning (Education Policies and Strategies 1995-2005).

To achieve this, the following are to be implemented:

expansion of senior secondary places through upgrading of selected Junior Secondary schools

development of an integrated Years 9 – 13 curricular in Samoan and applied subjects – home economics, industrial arts, agricultural science and business studies.

Agricultural science: the curriculum for this subject will be developed progressively, a taskforce is currently examining requirements and identifying issues to complement the existing Basic Education and Life Skills program.

Business Studies: a full curriculum review together with an assessment of resources is needed.

Home Economics: teaching of the subject in recent years has been hampered by inadequate trained teachers and a lack of resources – a full curriculum review together with an assessment of resource and training needs will be implemented.

Industrial Arts: as with home economics, a full curriculum review together with an assessment of resource and training needs will be implemented.

Inclusion of applied subjects in the Samoa School Certificate and Pacific Senior Secondary Certificate examinations.

To achieve post secondary goals as discussed in 1.5.1 above, the following strategies were proposed;

amalgamation of the Nurses Training School and NUS

amalgamation of the Teacher’s College and NUS

amalgamation of the Marine Training School and Polytechnic

a high level working group be set up to examine the nation’s longer term needs in post secondary education and training

a National Training Authority consisting of employer organisations and representatives of all relevant government and non-government institutions will be established

institutions will be given much autonomy as practical to make operational management decisions while ensuring efficient resource-use.

introduction of short term Teacher’s College courses for technical and vocational trainers will be considered

The amalgamation of institutions means that in the future, all government funded post secondary education and training will be in two institutions. This will enable clear guidelines to be issued concerning study options for secondary students and allow a greater degree of flexibility between and within courses, enhance career opportunities for lecturers and allow considerable synergy in facility and resource use.

The work of the National Training Authority will focus on strengthening the linkages and coordination in order that limited resources are not wasted through unnecessary course duplication, secondary school leavers have the subject knowledge, skills and attitudes required for further education and training and those entering the workforce have the knowledge and skills needed by the labour market.

2.5.2 Health

The ultimate goal of the Health sector is not only that people should live longer but for the Samoan people to age gracefully and die with dignity (Health Sector Strategic Plan, 1998-2003).

The health service has shifted focus from "disease and illness" to "health promotion and disease prevention". Greater emphasis is on strengthening preventive health services through more intensive program activities in health education, health promotion (for instance, Health Promoting Schools program) and improved environmental health services.

The department has a Health Education and Promotional Services (HEAPS) that was established in 1978. The Unit’s long-term goal is to develop national policies that will strengthen the promotion of healthy lifestyles in Samoa (HEAPS, 1996). HEAPS serves three main functions that are interrelated to ensure effective education and promotional services.

Service Promotion Programs

These include preventive community based plenaries throughout the country focussing on the promotion of healthy lifestyles and all health related issues concerning morbidity and mortality. Radio and television are also very much utilised. Interventive sessions, client consultations and counseling are provided in collaboration with other unit of the department. National promotional campaigns are coordinated under these services.

Preparation, production and distribution of information, education and communication materials (IEC)

The unit is also responsible for the production and distribution of all posters, flyers, pamphlets, booklets, billboards, T-shirts, banners and displays on health issues.

The unit’s role in Health promotion campaigns is in collaboration with community-based government and non-government organisations.

Research and training

The research function of HEAPS focuses on identifying areas of concern related to available statistics from which to determine appropriate intervention strategies. Training provides continuing and complimentary education for health personnel and teachers in the formal structure as well as informal health education or promotion for community leaders.

2.5.3 Agriculture

The main objectives of the Agricultural Sector include:

increasing productivity

improving competitiveness

improving quality

enhancing national security

supporting traditional food production systems

The department’s educational programs are therefore based on these objectives.

2.5.4 Ministry of Women Affairs

The Ministry of Women Affairs was established in 1991, which made Samoa the first Pacific Island country to set up a separate ministry to deal with women issues. This indicates Government’s commitment to ensure that the development of women in Samoa is openly supported and prioritised as a contributing factor to a balanced development of the nation as a whole and of all its citizens regardless of gender (MWA, 1994).

The Ministry of Women Affairs has established the following objectives towards it will work to achieve:

encouragement, promotion and coordination of the work of women particularly work relating to primary health care, village and district sanitation, child care, handicrafts, and domestic and community gardens, including vegetable gardens;

Provision of training for women in any of their areas of work;

Coordination of activities of government and non-government organisations involved in or dealing with women’s affairs;

Co-ordination of educational programs and project activities for women;

Planning in collaboration with relevant government departments for programs whereby women’s participation is necessary;

Liasing with women’s groups on all issues relevant to and involving women.

2.5.5 Non Government Organisations

Most non-formal education is provided by NGOs including churches to address health and welfare needs, income generation and skills building activities. YMCA for instance offers vocational (small engine repair) and agricultural (livestock and crop farming) training classes for the nation’s youth. The YMCA has an Urban Youth Work Committee which provides advisory support for youth work and peer education training.

Women in Business is another prominent NGO body providing various programs for women and lately youth groups, towards quality life.

2.5.6 Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture

This government ministry also provides non-formal education targeting youth. MYSCA acts as an advisory and resource body to all youth education providers in their efforts to improve and promote effective youth programs that would be of economic benefit to youth groups and the community at large.

MYSCA philosophies over the years include:

to develop and initiate apprenticeship, vocational and basic skills training programs

to make aware of the multiple needs and aspirations of young people

to co-ordinate through organised training, teaching and coaching programs, relevant activities for youth development

sports in schools and out of school youths

2.6 Education for Better Living

In the Education Policies 1995-2005, DOE emphasises the importance of radio broadcasts as effective supplementary teaching tools and a cost-effective means of improving primary school learning achievement. Radio broadcasts are also the most immediate and potentially effective form of teacher in-servicing. To obtain maximum benefit of the media:

educational radio will be relocated to within the Curriculum Development Unit

innovations aimed at improving the quality of what is offered through the use of radio in primary schools will be developed and,

in the longer-term, the use of educational video and television will be explored

The Health sector will also continue to use the media (television as well as newspapers and magazines) for educational programs. HEAPS of the Health sector is responsible for the production of radio, television, newspaper, national campaigns and magazine educational/promotional advertisements. This is their attempt to empower and enable individuals, families and communities to protect, promote and improve their health.

Like Health, educational programs for Agriculture – crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries and cottage industries, to be broadcasted on radio and television as well as in newspapers and magazines. This is to ensure that all citizens are aware of the concerns and issues that are of vital importance to agricultural developments.

As well, a lot of other government and non-government organisations will continue to utilise the mass media for the same purpose.

3. EFA decision making and management

Government departments and NGOs decide on their own policies and strategies provided that these policies and strategies adhere to what is outlined in the SES. The policies and strategies must reflect national consensus. Implementation and monitoring of any organisation’s developmental activities is the responsibility of the organisation.

4. Cooperation in EFA

Basic education services are provided by various government departments, non-profit oraganisations, religious institutions and media groups. The government offers assistance to these organisations to encourage success in promoting EFA. External Agencies have for many years made invaluable contribution to the promotion of EFA goals and targets. Such organisations include UN Agencies, bilateral donors, churches, regional bodies and non-government organisations.

One example of external assistance is the current development to achieve some of the goals specified in the Department of Education’s strategic plan which is a joint effort by UNDP and UNESCO Apia. This most needed support is named the AIGA (Augmenting Institutions for General Attainment) project, which focuses on five specific areas of Samoa’s education system. Firstly, it aims at implementing strategies under policy recommendations in early childhood education which will consequently encourage stronger links with NGOs as well as ensuring complementarity with UNICEF and other donor support to the sub-sector. The second objective of this program is to assist in the improvement of primary education in literacy and numeracy skills through a study of the use of Samoan as a medium of instruction and an establishment of a bilingual methodology. Thirdly, to develop diagnostic measures as well as intervention strategies for literacy and numeracy learning deficiencies. The fourth objective is to ascertain special needs requirements to help develop appropriate curricula and facilities as well as improving the quality of teacher training in this area. Lastly, to establish a National Training Authority to advise government on developmental needs of post secondary education and training in Samoa as well as establishing and monitoring training standards in the country.

5. Investment in EFA since 1990

The government’s commitment to Education as one of its two priority sectors is reflected in the increased level of Government input and external assistance being directed at improving all levels of education form 1996 and into the next decade. For instance UNDP’s AIGA project as aforementioned, AusAid’s Primary Education Materials Production project, the regional multi-laterally funded BELS program, NZODA’s Samoa Secondary Education Curriculum and Resource Development (SSECRP), the Associated Schools Project (ASP) funded by UNESCO Apia, Health Promoting Schools (HPS) project which is funded by NZODA and WHO, Early Primary Literacy Development Project funded by Canada and implemented by IOE/USP and the construction of a new primary school at Vaitele under China’s assistance.

As well, government’s budget allocation to education has increased. This budget increase has allowed for a salary raise for government teachers in 1998 as well as refurbishment of school buildings, curriculum and exam developments, production and administration of the SPELL tests, annual financial assistance to non-government schools including pre-schools, free stationery to government schools and in-servicing of teachers.

Major new investment by the community was the construction of new pre-schools and primary schools out in the villages for instance Uafato Pre-school in 1991, Fuamatala Pre-school in 1992, Lepuiai Pre-school in 1995, Losanita Pre-school in 1997, Apolima-uta pre-school in 1998, Fusi Primary school in 1999 to name a few. Religious groups and non-government organisations have also established new schools and institutions. For instance, Institute of Performing arts which was established in 1998, Logoipulotu Vocational School also established in 1998, Methodist Technical and Creative Centre 1999 and a number of pre-schools around the country.

Another major investment was the upgrading of the National University of Samoa (NUS). As well, the merging of the Samoa Teacher’s College and NUS in 1997. The Samoa Polytechnic has recently been upgraded and merged with the Marine Training Centre.

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