- Early childhood care and education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Primary and secondary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Tertiary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
The 2009 Education Act states that “private schools” are by definition not directly managed by the Ministry. “Mission schools” are defined as schools that are operated by a church or religious organisation; a person or an organisation can operate a registered private or mission school. No further definition of non-state actors was found for the tertiary education level.
The 2019 Education Amendment Act extended compulsory schooling (previously five to 14 years of age) to four to 16 years of age. Both primary (years 1 to 7) and secondary education (years 8 to 11) are compulsory. The majority of schools at these levels are state schools (also named ministry schools). In 2019, there were 144 public primary schools (84.7% of the schools) and 24 public secondary schools (64.9%). The same year, 80.5% of students (n= 35,056) attended government primary schools and 60.4% (n=10,048) attended government secondary schools. Public schools are state-run and state-funded (2019 Statistical Digest, Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture).
Non-state managed, state schools
No information was found.
Non-state funded, state schools
Costs for tuition are eliminated under the School Fee Grant Scheme, but “other parental costs such as school uniforms, school lunches, transport costs or contributing to capital development and upkeep of the school still remain”.
Government schools are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC) in partnership with the communities in which the schools are located (represented by either a village school committee, a district school committee, or a school board) in which a variety of coalitions of interest are represented. The teachers are paid by the Government, while the communities build the schools and provide other resources.
Village schools include village primary schools and district secondary schools and colleges. Members of a village community can establish and run a registered school. The Minister approves the establishment of any village school. These schools must have a school committee as the management authority. They can charge “reasonable school fees” to the carers of students attending the school, only “to meet the cost of performing the school committee’s obligations.
Independent, non-state schools
In 2019, there were seven private primary schools (4.1% of all schools) and one private secondary school (2.7%). There was also one primary/secondary private school. In addition, there were 19 primary mission schools (11.17%) and 13 secondary mission schools (32.4%). There were also four primary/secondary mission schools. In parallel, 4.6% of students (n= 2,017) attended private primary schools and 1.5% (n=252) attended private secondary schools. The same year, 14.9% of students (n= 6,473) attended mission primary schools and 37% (n=6,065) attended mission secondary schools.
NGOs such as church organisations have taken the lead and are supported by the business community in provisioning disability-inclusive education services. The 1960 Constitution (Art. 12) states that every religious community or denomination “shall have the right to establish and maintain educational institutions of its own choice and to provide therein religious instruction for pupils of that community or denomination”.
Low-fee private schools have not been identified in the country in official government sources.
State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools
The government has played an integral role in coordinating and financing recurrent costs in the education sector; in this regard, it also provides an annual grant to assist mission and private schools. In addition, the Government’s commitment also takes the form of an annual grant for non-state providers of special needs education. In January 2021, the Samoa Government was looking at paying teacher salaries for private institutions, including church-run schools.
Contracted, non-state schools
No information was found.
No information was found. Homeschooling was chosen as a solution during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Home School Literacy Partnership programme is implemented in selected primary government schools (no information was found for private schools). It aims at encouraging and ensuring the community’s involvement to improve literacy and numeracy. The 2020 Education Sector’s COVID-19 response plan has also enabled a start to implement distance learning options, at all levels, for all types of learners. It states that teachers (retired or from the private sector) will design and develop audio clips for all secondary subjects or early childhood education activities. In addition, it indicates that in future, if there were a future nationwide closure of schools, students will be able to continue learning from home using distance modes until their school reopened. Finally, the Plan aims to ensure that, by May 2020, all children in the relevant age groups benefit from distance or home learning programmes.
Market contracted (Voucher schools)
No information was found.
No information was found for basic education levels, however, in 2015, at the TVET level, 50% of the private centres and 41% of the mission centres were not registered. In 2019, it was acknowledged that there were early childhood education centres that had not yet registered with the National Council of Early Childhood Education.
The Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC) and the Samoa Qualifications Authority (SQA) are the planning and regulatory agencies for basic and post-secondary education respectively. The MESC is responsible for delivering basic education and regulating private and mission schools and the Samoa Teachers Council, established in 2019, aims to regulate ECE, primary and secondary teachers from all schools including government, mission and private. At the early childhood care and education level, some activities are carried out by the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Culture, but this sub-sector is largely the responsibility of an NGO, the National Council for Early Childhood Education Samoa (NCECE). Early childhood centres are mainly governed by mission groups, with a large number of private centres. They are run by NGOs, which include the various churches and religious groups, boards, women’s committee groups, individuals and organisations namely: MAT (private), FAAEA (EFKS), Metotisi (Methodist) and Katoliko (Catholic).
Non-formal learning is provided by several NGOs, local not-for-profit organisations and government ministries. Established in 1997, the Samoa Umbrella for Non-Governmental Organisations (SUNGO) represents and coordinates training for NGOs. Most of this training is funded by donors and must comply with donor requirements. SUNGO has more than 110 member organisations and has its own pool of trainers who provide training to rural community organisations.
Samoa does not have a Religious ministry (separate from MESC) that makes decisions on non-state education.
Vision: Different regulations apply to all levels of education. The 2009 Education Act (and the 2019 amendment) and the 2016 Teachers Act regulate early childhood centres, private and mission schools (but do not apply to tertiary institutions). The 2019-24 Education Sector Plan stipulates that the education sector is made up of government and “non-government” primary and secondary schools; early childhood education and post-school education and training. It identifies the “private sector” as a “key stakeholder” in its implementation plan. The 2006-15 Strategic policies and plan guided public led educational initiatives in five key areas, including the coordination between private and public stakeholders. It also recognises the support of the private sector and the wider community. It stated that greater participation by non-government partners could increase the level of resources available to facilitate the effectiveness of learning processes. Finally, the 2020 Second Voluntary National Review on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals states that a “strong partnership between the government of Samoa and the church and private schools including the provision of government grants to provide an extensive network of educational facilities across Samoa” is one of the strengths of the education sector (p. 63).
Since 1976, there has been a rapid growth of preschools, kindergartens and early childhood centres. A total of 125 early childhood centres were registered in 2019. In 2018, 0% of students attended public early childhood centres; 62% attended mission centres and 38% private centres.
Registration and approval: The 2009 Education Act recognizes the formation of regulations for the establishment and registration of early childhood education centres. It describes the registration and approval process for early childhood centres (Part XI). A person or organisation must not operate an early childhood education centre unless the Chief Executive Officer has registered the centre under this Part.
Licence: The Chief Executive Officer (National Council of Early Childhood Education) is the body responsible for issuing notices for the recognition of the early childhood centres.
Profit-making: No information was found.
Taxes and subsidies: Early childhood centres are financed primarily by donations from community members, churches and tuition fees. The Government provides a per capita grant to preschools. This is 7.5% of $5,000,000.00 of a government grant to mission, private, ECE and special schools. The 2019-24 Education Sector Plan states that preschool facilities will continue to be mostly managed by private providers, but the Sector will assist with the cost of upgrading facilities and resources to meet the early childhood education policy.
Curriculum or learning standards: All private early childhood centres must deliver the curriculum specified by the Minister. In addition, private early childhood centres may also deliver curriculum in areas additional to those specified by the Minister “if this does not prevent the school from providing the curriculum specified by the Minister”. Early childhood centres may also modify the curriculum for students with special needs (Education Act, 2009, Part VIII). Finally, it is expected that the National Information and Communication Technology in Education Policy 2018-23 is applied in all childhood education centres.
Teaching profession: The Minister has a system of accreditation of teachers in early childhood learning centres. Teaching licences are issued under Division 5 of Part 2 of the 2016 Teachers Act, authorising registered teachers to teach in a school. Registered teachers hold qualifications from a recognised tertiary institution. The minimum qualifications are a diploma in education, a bachelor degree in education or a bachelor degree in other disciplines, plus a graduate diploma in education. Otherwise, registered teachers may hold a masters or doctorate in education or any other minimum or additional qualifications prescribed by regulations. No information was found on hiring and dismissal policies. The 2006-15 Strategic policies and plan affirms, however, that remuneration for early childhood education staff has been a “long-standing issue with some centres being able to afford salaries for staff while others depend on voluntary services” (p. 19). For this reason, the Ministry “will explore ways to fund ECE teachers’ salaries” (p. 19).
Fee-setting: Parents are required to pay fees to early childhood education centres, private centres generally charging more than mission centres.
Admission selection and processes: No information was found.
Policies to support children and families with disadvantaged backgrounds or from a specific population: The Ministry of Education aims at expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, “especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children” (p. 19), but no regulation was found for increase access to private schools.
Reporting requirements: No information was found.
Inspection: Inspectors carry out inspections of early childhood education centres (Education Act, 2009, Art. 72). An inspector may at any reasonable time “enter, search, inspect and photograph any premises of the early childhood education centre”, take copies of any records or documents and require any person to give any assistance to carry out the inspection (Art. 73).
Child assessment: No information was found.
Sanctions: The Ministry or an approved organisation can withdraw the approval if they believe that that the early childhood centre is no longer meeting one or more of the criteria of the registration. The person in charge of the centre may appeal to the Minister (Education Act, 2009, Art. 69).
Registration and approval: Part IV of the Education Act (2009) describes the registration and approval process for both private and mission schools. Article 27 states that a person or organisation must not operate a private school or mission school unless the Chief Executive Officer of the MESC has registered the school under the Education Act (2009) (Art. 27). Applicants must apply to the Minister or the approved organisation for approval of the school’s registration. The application must be in writing in a form approved by the Minister and be accompanied by the approved fee. The Minister considers the provision of adequate buildings, outdoor play areas and appropriate facilities in determining whether or not to register a school. However, the Act does not specify any size or space requirements (Art. 30). Finally, the Minister may approve the registration of a school on a probationary basis for up to one year, on the basis that the school complies with any conditions that the Minister or approved organisation may reasonably require before becoming fully registered (Art. 32).
Licence: The Chief Executive Officer is deemed to have registered the school “upon receiving notice that the Minister or an approved organisation has approved registration of the school” (Education Act, 2009, Art. 27).
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH): The 2006-15 Strategic policies and plan states that all schools must provide adequate and equitable provision of drinking water and toilet facilities in a clean, safe and hygienic environment.
Profit-making: No information was found.
Taxes and subsidies: In 2010, the Government with the support of Australia and New Zealand introduced the School Fee Grant Scheme (SSFGS) which enables ‘fee-free’ education for years 1 to 11. These funds are allocated to government and mission schools only covering tuition fees for all students enrolled at primary and since July 2013, also those at the secondary level from years 9 to 11 as well as school operations expenditures. In addition, an annual government grant is provided for all mission schools, private schools, early childhood centres and special schools.
Curriculum or learning standards: The standard of general education must be provided, including the delivery of curriculum, in the registration process (Education Act, 2009, Art. 27). All schools must deliver the curriculum specified by the Minister. In addition, schools may also deliver curriculum in areas additional to those specified by the Minister “if this does not prevent the school from providing the curriculum specified by the Minister”. Schools may also modify the curriculum or implement individual education programs for students with special needs (Part VIII).
The Curriculum, Materials and Assessment Division of the MESC designs, develops and revises curriculum and support materials. Each subject area has a Curriculum Officer within the Division and a subject committee comprising of selected teachers from mission and private schools.
Finally, it is expected that the 2018-23 National Information and Communication Technology in Education Policy is applied in all state, mission and private schools.
Textbooks and learning materials: The “curriculum” includes support materials and other learning resources (see subsection above) (Education Act, 2009).
Teaching profession: The Faculty of Education at the University of the South Pacific (USP) Alafua Campus is the sole Samoan provider of initial teacher training for primary and secondary schools, with support for secondary teachers by other faculties. The Minister takes into account “the employment of sufficient, appropriately qualified and experienced staff” in determining whether or not to register a private or mission school. In this regard, the Minister has a system of accreditation of teachers in schools (Education Act, 2009, Art. 31). The Chief Executive Officer may issue a Teacher’s Certificate “to any person whose qualifications, professional skills or experience meet the requirements of an accreditation system specified by the Minister” (Art. 63). Furthermore, regulations may be made to prohibit any person who is not registered from teaching in any school. In this regard, the minimum qualifications for registered teachers are a diploma in education, a bachelor degree in education or a bachelor degree in another discipline plus a graduate diploma in education. Otherwise, registered teachers may hold a masters or doctorate in education or any other minimum or additional qualifications prescribed by regulations (Art. 64).
The institutions are responsible for the recruitment of teachers and their salaries.
The country adopted the 2013 Labour and Employment Relations Act which applies to both state and non-state sectors.
Corporal punishment: A teacher or staff member of a school “must not administer corporal punishment to a school student at a school or during any activity organised by a school” (Education Act, 2009, Art. 23).
Other safety measures and COVID-19: E school shall foster a caring, productive and safe environment for learning (Education Act, 2009, Art. 22). Goal 1 of the 2020 Education Sector COVID Response Plan is that all schools and remain physically and psychosocially safe.
Fee-setting: The power to set and collect school fees is only regulated for village and ministry schools in the 2009 Education Act.
Admission selection and processes: The Minister and any approved organisation may place any reasonable restriction upon the basis on which a school is registered, including placing a limit on the period of registration, restricting student enrollments to specified age groups or restricting student enrollments to specified years of schooling (Education Act, 2009, Art. 31). The 2013-18 Education Sector Plan indicated that mission and private secondary colleges tend to have their own selection tests while one private school did not select its students.
Policies for vulnerable groups: The School Fee Grants Scheme funded by the Governments of New Zealand and Australia provides access to fee-free education at primary and secondary levels for all except private schools.
School board: The 2009 Education Act refers to the implementation of school committees and associations of teachers, parents and friends in village and ministry schools only. No information was found on private and mission schools in the Education Act. The MESC also encourage and support in the 2015 Review “Education for All” the collaborative partnership between school committees, families and schools to encourage the achievement of learners, especially in numeracy and literacy.
Reporting requirements: The Chief Executive Officer must report on student performance to the Minister (Education Act, 2009, Art. 60).
School inspection: The Ministry or an approved organisation shall be responsible for assessing and monitoring compliance of private and mission schools with the terms of registration (Education Act, 2009, Art. 28).
Student assessment: The Samoa Primary Education Certification Assessment (SPECA) targets the pedagogical, managerial, and communicative functions of educational assessment. Students sit the Samoa School Certificate (SSC) after year 12, after which successful students can attend a further year to sit the Samoa Secondary Leaving Certificate (SSLC). The Chief Executive Officer develops standards for assessments for school students and conducts assessments for any certificate available to a student in a school (Education Act, 2009, Art. 60).
Diplomas and degrees: The Chief Executive Officer at the Ministry of Education has the powers and functions to issue certificates relating to any course undertaken by a school student in any year up to Year 13 (Education Act, 2009, Art. 60).
Sanctions: The Ministry or an approved organisation shall be responsible for restricting or cancelling the registration of private and mission schools. If the State believes on reasonable grounds that an approved mission or private school does not comply with the conditions of its registration and the Education Act, it may restrict the operation of the school or remove the school from the register (Education Act, 2009, Art. 28).
The Post School Education and Training (PSET) sub-sector includes tertiary level education at university, pre and in-service professional education, technical and vocational education, theological and providers of religious instruction, apprenticeship, non-formal and on the job training.
In 2018, there were three government PSET facilities, 17 mission PSET facilities, two private facilities and four “other” types of facilities. In 2019, 4,804 students were enrolled in formal PSET education, including 3,301 students in universities studies and 405 students in religious providers. A total of 2,617 (54.5%) students were enrolled in tertiary education programmes mainly delivered by the three Universities in Samoa listed below. The country also had 10 religious providers.
The main provider of tertiary education is the National University of Samoa (NUS), which is owned by the governments of 12 member countries. The NUS was established by the Act of Parliament 2006. Students who receive the Samoa Secondary Leaving Certificate (SSLC) in year 13 can join a one-year programme, provided by NUS, to prepare them for undergraduate studies at NUS and regional institutions in Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. In addition, the University of the South Pacific (USP) offers degree and postgraduate studies in arts, science, law, and commerce (by distance and flexible learning), as well as agriculture and continuing education (in the face-to-face mode). It includes the Alafua Campus, which houses the School of Agriculture & Food Technology (SAFT). Finally, the Oceania University of Medicine is a Samoan chartered medical school run by a public-private partnership between the Government of Samoa and e-Medical Education.
The Samoa Qualifications Authority (SQA) oversees the registration of providers. The application form must include evidence that the applicant is a body corporate and define the educational purpose, goals and objectives of the institution. It is required to provide evidence of financial soundness and information on quality management system policies and procedures. Furthermore, the application form must include the names of the governing members and provide evidence that they are “persons of good character and standing”. There is also a registration fee. The accreditation processes finally include an evaluation process that assesses the general capabilities of the provider in providing support for a specified programme.
Licence: SQA may register an institution where it is satisfied that the prescribed standards and criteria have been satisfied. Each year, providers must fill the Provider Annual Registration Renewal (ARR) Form to obtain a certificate that they continue to meet the criteria for registration as a PSET provider. SQA shall establish and maintain a record of all PSET institutions and providers that are recognised (Samoa Qualifications Authority Act, 2010, Art. 18).
Profit-making: No information was found.
Taxes and subsidies: Article 34 of the Samoa Qualifications Authority Act 2010 stipulates that a provider applying for government funds shall consult with SQA. No government funds shall be granted to any provider unless the funding application is endorsed in writing by SQA.
Curriculum or learning standards: Providers may apply to the Samoa Qualifications Authority for the accreditation of their programmes (Samoa Qualifications Authority Act, 2010, Art. 21). A provider shall not provide an accredited programme unless it is a registered provider (Art. 22).
Teaching profession: SQA has the mandate to regulate qualifications and quality standards for all the PSET providers in Samoa (Samoa Qualifications Authority Act, 2010, Art. 4). No information was found on salaries.
Fee-setting: Institutions can set their tuition fees. In this regard, the 2020-24 SQA PSET Strategic Plan states that unaffordable tuition is an issue for 8% of the providers. The 2019-24 Education Sector Plan encourages private providers to administer financial schemes to address the fee barrier for vulnerable students.
Admission selection and processes: No information was found.
Board: No information was found.
Reporting requirements: The national PSET quality assurance system of the SQA aims at auditing quality and registering qualifications in the Samoa Qualifications Framework (SQF). SQA is responsible to develop criteria and processes for quality audit of all PSET providers (Samoa Qualifications Authority Act, 2010, Art. 4).
Inspection: SQA must verify that PSET providers are using “quality management policies and processes that ensure qualifications meet or exceed international standards and that their programmes align with national priorities” (Samoa Qualifications Authority Act, 2010, Art. 4). SQA must also evaluate a provider’s effectiveness against the Authority’s quality standards and criteria and monitor that such provider continues to comply with prescribed standards and criteria (Samoa Qualifications Authority Act, 2010, Art. 24).
Student assessment: No information was found.
Diplomas and degrees: Registered PSET formal providers can deliver certificates, diplomas, bachelors and postgraduates programmes. A registered provider must apply to SQA for its consent to use the terms “degree”, “bachelor degree”, “doctoral or doctorate degree”, “masters degree” to name the qualification to be awarded by the provider (Samoa Qualifications Authority Act, 2010, Art. 23).
Sanctions on school closures: SQA may cancel the registration of a provider “where it considers that such cancellation is in accordance with the prescribed criteria and processes required under this Act” (Samoa Qualifications Authority Act, 2010, Art. 19).
No information was found.
No information was found.
No information was found.