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INDICATORS 7 AND 8: Public Current Expenditure

As previously mentioned, GOS has accorded key priority to education and with it an increase in public current expenditure in education.

However, GNP figures could not be obtained in time for this report.

INDICATOR 9: Percentage of primary school teachers having the required academic qualifications

Teacher quality determines to a large extent the types of individuals that the education

system yields. The Faculty of Education (formerly known as the Samoa Teacher’s College) at the National University of Samoa as well as the Department of Education are conducting a lot of developmental efforts to enhance the quality of teachers.

Table 7: Government Primary school teachers with the required academic qualifications (1994-1999)



Total Number of Govt

Primary Teachers

Primary Teachers

with academic qualifications



























Source: Planning and Research Unit, Department of Education, 1999

Figures in the above table indicate that almost all primary teachers in the government primary schools have the minimum academic qualification. The range of academic qualifications spread from a form five certificate to a university degree. The high percentage revealed by Table 7 mirrors the strictness of the selection criteria at the Faculty of Education or the Samoa Teachers College as it was formerly called.

INDICATOR 10: Percentage of Primary school teachers who are certified to teach

Table 8: Percentage of Certified Teachers for government primary schools (1994-1999)



Total Number of Govt

Primary Teachers


Certified Primary Teachers



























Source: Planning and Research Unit, Department of Education, 1999

Again, figures in Table 8 above show that with the exception of 1994, the more recent years have had over ninety percent of certified teaching staff in the primary level for the government schools. It is encouraging to know that most of the primary government teachers have the necessary qualifications for effective relaying of the curriculum materials being produced by the Department of Education.

INDICATOR 11: Pupil/Teacher Ratio

Student/teacher ratio affects teaching and learning in any educational activity. Thus, the department has established and endorsed a base teacher-student ratio of 1:30. Table 9 shows student/teacher ratio for the last six years.

Table 9: Student/teacher ratio for the last 6 years (1994-1999)


Student/Teacher Ratio













Source: Department of Education, 1999

Despite the impressive ratios evident from the above table, the overall student teacher ratio conceals the overcrowding that currently exists in some urban schools especially the compound schools. The rural and private schools with an average of 15-20 students per teacher contribute to this low overall student/teacher ratio. However, efforts are being made by DOE to ensure that all government schools achieve the base ratio.

INDICATOR 12: Repetition rates by grade

The repetition rate in the primary level is very low. This is because of the fact that every child is to proceed to the next level regardless of academic performance. However, because of the competition to secure a place in the 4 government colleges (Samoa College, Avele, Vaipouli and Leifiifi) as well as private and mission colleges, there are quite a number of repeaters in Year 8 compared to the other grades. An example of the proportion of pupils enrolled in a given grade in one particular school year (1999) who were in the same grade the following school-year is attached as Appendix 3.

INDICATOR 13: Survival Rate to grade 5

This is looking at the percentage of a cohort when enrolled in grade 1 and how many of this cohort actually reaches grade 5. Looking at the 1999 figures attached as Appendix 4, the survival rate to Grade 5 is 84.4 which means that a significant number of students drop-out within the first four years of primary education. According to UNESCO definition of this indicator, completion of at least the first 4 years of primary schooling is commonly considered a pre-requisite for a sustainable level of literacy. However, in Samoa we have what is known as Pastor schools, which are scheduled for weekends and after formal schooling hours where all children in a village can attend. These schools have contributed to the literacy levels in the country since missionaries arrived in Samoa. So whether a child is in or out of formal schooling, they can still learn to read and write as well as numeracy skills from these schools.

INDICATOR 14: Coefficient of efficiency

This indicator looks at the ideal number of pupil years required to yield a number of graduates from a given pupil cohort in primary education as a percentage of the actual number of pupil years spent to produce the same number of graduates. Again 1999 figures are used as an example. The coefficient of efficiency in primary education for 1999 is 93.3% for females and 92.3 for males (refer Annex 4). This indicates a high level of internal efficiency and little wastage due to repetition and drop-out.

6.3 Improvement in Learning Achievement

The School-based assessment project sponsored by the South Pacific Board of Educational Assessment is currently underway. Its aim is to address the perceived assessment weaknesses in schools in the region.

Internal assessment components are slowly being introduced at Year 12 and Year 13 levels as well as the primary level. This is progressing well as educators in the country realise the importance of other methods of assessment apart from written examinations.

INDICATOR 15: Percentage of pupils having reached at least grade 4 of primary schooling who master a set of nationally defined basic learning competencies.

The SPELL tests as previously mentioned are now conducted annually as national determinants of basic learning competencies at Years 4 and 6 of primary education. Results of these tests for the last couple of years have shown improvement in student performance. This is a reflection of DOE’s commitment to improve literacy skills of students at this critical stage of their education.

6.4 Adult Literacy

Determine and Monitor the literacy skills in the primary level

The department carries out monitoring visits to check on those students identified to be "at risk" in the SPELL tests to see what has been done by the schools and the teachers responsible to assist these particular students.

In 1998, a set of new batteries for SPELL was developed for use alternatively with the original instruments.

INDICATORS 16 AND 17: Literacy rate of 15-24 year olds and adult literacy rate

The literacy level of Samoans has been recorded as very high. Official data as of the 1991 Census reported that 97.4 percent of females as literate and 98.4 males for those 15 years of age and above (refer Annex 5). For the age group 15-24, data shows that 98.9 percent of females and 99.1 of males are literate. These high literacy levels reinforce that formal schooling has been almost universal in Samoa for some time.

6.5 Training in Essential Skills

Secondary Education: Equity, Quality and Relevancy

Samoa Secondary Education Materials project sponsored by NZODA started in 1997. The project involves the development of a comprehensive single stream integrated curriculum for Years 9-13. A single stream integrated curriculum sets out the areas of learning that all secondary school students must experience and the standards against which of the students progress and achievement is to be measured. This project therefore reviews and where necessary make changes, develops materials to support curriculum and provide in-service training to introduce the new materials.

All Junior Secondary schools have been upgraded to include Year 12 to allow greater access to secondary education.

Adult Education: Formal

Adult education to a certain extent is addressed at post secondary or tertiary institutions and catered for through the Samoa Polytechnic and the National University.

Developments so far with regards to the strategies proposed include;

amalgamation of the Teachers College and NUS in 1997

relocation to new campus at Papaigalagala

post secondary and training committee established by Cabinet in 1997

fact finding mission to New Zealand and Australia

draft report has been prepared for submission to Cabinet for the establishment of a National Training Authority

merge of Samoa Polytechnic and Marine Training Centre

merge of Nursing school with NUS

report for areas of cooperation between NUS and SP completed

Other government ministries co-ordinate refresher and upgrading training courses through workshops and seminars. This collaborative effort ensures adult education in a range of needs. Adult education programs not catered for by the government is run through affiliated institutions like the University of the South Pacific and its Extension Centre for study in Apia. Churches also provide adult education programs for instance the three different technical institutes run by the Methodist, Congregational Christian Church of Samoa and the Catholic church.

Adult Education: Non-formal

Non-formal education is provided through government and non-governmental organisations including churches focussing mainly on catering for health and welfare needs as well as educating people on areas such as income generation, skills building and employment generation.

For the Health sector, educational programs they are currently running focus on:

the importance of breast feeding

healthy eating

different types of diseases (their causes and effects)

disease prevention

the symptoms associated with various diseases

filariasis, leprosy and tuberculosis control

The Lands and Environment Department in association with other government departments are running educational programs all over the country on how to care for the environment targeting schools and community groups especially women’s groups.

The Department of Agriculture is also conducting programs on the various farming methods for farmers to increase productivity as well as improving quality of produce.

Women’s needs are being catered for not only by the Women Affairs department but also non-government organisations like Women in Business. Their main focus is on income generating activities like sewing, handicrafts and cooking. In 1993, government ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, making Samoa the first and only small Pacific Island nation to do so. As a UN Convention is a legally binding document, Samoa has, as a party to the Convention, committed itself to improving through legislation and socio-economic policy development, the position of women. MWA in assisting the government towards the objective of equality for all is working on a National Women’s Policy. The policy’s overall goal is for women to have equal and unrestricted access to all development activities and become active participants (and beneficiaries) of the social and economic development of Samoa by recognising, incorporating and utilising the skills and experience of women in national plans and developments.

The Ministry of Youth is providing a wide range of educational programs for the youth as well as working on a National Youth policy not only to promote youth contribution to society but also to better equip youth for quality life.

As well UNESCO Apia and Peace Corps volunteers in partnership with the Ministry of Youth are running two-year youth programs which began with the training of a core group of four people from each of the 13 Pacific Island countries resulted in a National Youth forum and other activities which have contributed to education for better living for the youth.

6.6 Education for Better Living

There has been an increase in use of the mass media for educational programs by various sectors and organisations especially Education, Health, Agriculture and Lands and Environment. An increasing number of departments and organisations have realised the important role the mass media plays in educating the public on specific issues and concerns.

Radio and newspapers have a national coverage. The television corporation is working towards national coverage to enable citizens access to this means of valuable information.

4. Effectiveness of EFA Strategy

Principal achievements in EFA since 1990 are:

compulsory education policy

curriculum reviews and book productions for primary and secondary levels

more emphasis on vocational subjects

support for early-childhood education

support for special needs education

increase use of the media for educational programs

SPELL tests

teacher training in Early Childhood Education and Special Needs education

Overall, work to achieve the proposed changes for the education system outlined in the Education Policies and Strategies 1995-2005 is progressing accordingly. Reviews are conducted regularly to ensure that the major stakeholders are in agreement with where the education system is going. For instance, an Education mini summit was conducted in May 1999 to review the progress made according to what is stated in the Education Policies and Strategies. It was indicated by the views of the participants at the mini summit that no major changes to the policies and strategies are needed.

5. Problems Encountered

In government’s endeavor to achieve EFA goals and targets a number of problems hindered progress.

Human resource was a serious problem not only with regards to lack of but also the rapid turn over of staff. For the education sector, the initial staff member that dealt with EFA activities right from the start left the department in 1996 and no record was found of any initiative that might have happened straight after the first EFA meeting.

Not only is DOE experiencing staff turn over but also the fact that there is not enough people to perform the many tasks that the department is to carry out for education. For instance, the ever-present problem of lack of teachers. Every year, quite a substantial number of teachers leave their profession to take up work either overseas or with local organisations that offer a better salary. The number of graduates from the Faculty of Education has never been able to overcome the shortage of teachers not only in the primary level but in all levels of the education system.

This problem of staff shortage is not unique to the education sector but rather applies to the rest of the government departments especially. It also comes down to budget cuts and downsizing of Public Sector.

As well, the problem of limited finance mainly for sustainability after the life of a project which will continue to be a major obstacle in accomplishing EFA principles well into the next century.

6. Public awareness, political will and national capacities

Government has accorded first priority to the education sector and is willing to invest in all levels of the sector.

Developments already completed or are currently underway to confirm government’s commitment to achieving EFA goals include:

Education sector reform. Highlights of this reform so far include a review of primary and secondary curricula, increase in teacher salary, inclusion of ECE and Special Education in its developments, introduction of compulsory education, reviewing its assessment approach, upgrading of the tertiary institutions, emphasising teacher education, Departmental Management Institutional Strengthening program

Health Promoting Schools program

Development of non-formal education

Investment in vocational education

Free stationery

Teacher training developments

Putting greater value on educational programs and public campaigns in both government and non-government organisations alike

Improving access to media

Financial assistance to non-government schools including ECE providers

The community has showed support by their commitment to maintain and to build 4 more primary schools within the last two years. This is towards achieving the goal of equal access to education which is further supported by an increase in primary school enrolment since 1998.

The establishment of school committees and PTAs is another indication of community support of education. The Department of Education has and is still running workshops on school management to ensure effective management of schools. A School management manual has been developed and distributed to all government schools in the country. The department has put more emphasis on the role of school committees towards achieving the education system’s goals.

General assessment of the progress

The government of Samoa is proceeding well towards achieving its major goal of ensuring that all citizens achieve their full potential for quality lives. The government has shown commitment to continue to support EFA well into the new millenium. All government and non-government organisations’ strategic plans indicate a continuous endeavour towards better equipping all citizens to cope with life. The support of donor agencies will assist government in its efforts.

As discussed in Parts 1 and 11 of this report a major development in the Education Sector was the production of the Policies and Strategies documents for the decade 1995 – 2005. The Department of Education is progressing well in achieving the objectives specified in the Strategic Plan. The start of the AIGA project in 1998 has assisted in bridging some of the gaps identified in the department’s strategic plan to enable a successful achievement of EFA in the education system. Comments made from the Education Mini Summit conducted in May 1999 reveal that the stakeholders are generally in agreement with where the education system is heading.

The Institutional Strengthening Program for departmental management has just been launched. This is a 5 year project under AusAid funding. This will improve the capacity of the department to deliver its educational mission.

The Associated Schools Project has also contributed a lot to the schools involved. Samoa is leading the Pacific in having the most number of schools involved in this program, which encourages cooperation and tolerance, the essence of the Culture of Peace. The national co-ordinator for this program was also selected to represent the Pacific in the Lisbon conference.

As well, Samoa has been selected for the UNESCO Apia and NZODA Model Schools Project. Schools have already been identified who will substantially benefit from this program which aims at providing financial assistance for the schools’ most required resources.

For the Health Sector, a renewed emphasis on health education, health promotion and disease prevention is a valuable contribution to achieving EFA. The establishment in 1991 of the Ministry of Women Affairs saw the commitment of government to promote equality between males and females to ensure that the needs of women for better living is being catered for. Also, being the first Pacific Island nation to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women is an outstanding achievement to show the seriousness of government in its attempt to eliminate discrimination against women.

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