Malo Sa'oloto Tuto'atasi o Samoa (The Independent State of Samoa) is an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean located approximately half-way between Hawaii and New Zealand. The population is 217,083 and the literacy rate is 99.7%. Samoan and English are the official languages.
Immigrants from Southeast Asia arrived in the area of present-day Samoa in approximately 1000 BC. The first European to visit the islands was Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen in 1722. British missionaries arrived in 1830. Britain, Germany and the United States claimed the islands which resulted in a civil war that lasted from 1881 to 1899. In 1900, the eastern island group became a territory of the United States known as American Samoa, and the western islands became known as German Samoa. At the end of World War I, German Samoa was controlled by New Zealand through a League of Nations mandate and became known as Western Samoa. Western Samoa was granted independence in 1962 and was the first Pacific colony to gain independence. In July 1997, the Constitution was amended to change the country's name to Samoa.
Education in Samoa is compulsory from ages 5 to 14. Local school districts levy fees to finance schools in their communities.
Primary and Secondary Education
Primary school is 8 years beginning at age 5 which includes one year of kindergarten. Students sit for a national examination at the end of Grade 8. Junior secondary school is 3 years and students are awarded a Year 11 Certificate at the end of the 3rd year. Upper secondary school is 2 years and, at the end of the 2nd year (Form 7), students sit for one or both national examinations leading to the Pacific Senior Secondary Certificate (PSSC) or the South Pacific Form 7 Examination Certificate.
Post-secondary programs are offered at the University of the South Pacific and the National University of Samoa.
The University of the South Pacific's School of Agriculture is located on Samoa. It offers a one-year Diploma in Tropical Agriculture which requires a Pacific Senior Secondary Certificate (PSSC) or the South Pacific Form 7 Examination Certificate for admission. Students have the option of continuing on in a 3-year program leading to the Bachelor of Agriculture.
The Institute of Technology of the National University of Samoa offers one-year certificate and 2-year intermediate certificate programs in business, general studies, engineering, and maritime training. Sufficient scores on the Pacific Senior Secondary Certificate (PSSC) are required for admission.
Students in bachelors degree programs at the National University of Samoa, except for the Bachelor of Samoan Studies program, must complete a one-year program leading to the University Foundation Year Certificate. Admission to this program requires a score of 1 - 5 in English, and scores of 1 - 4 in 3 other subjects on the Pacific Senior Secondary Certificate (PSSC). Students can continue on to a program of no more than 3 years leading to a Diploma, or to a program of at least 3 years leading to a Bachelors degree.
The Bachelor of Samoan Studies is a 4-year program that requires sufficient scores on the Pacific Senior Secondary Certificate (PSSC) for admission.
Second and Third Cycles
Graduate studies include programs leading to a one-semester Postgraduate Certificate, a 1-year Postgraduate Diploma, and 2-year Masters programs. All of these programs require a bachelors degree for admission. Three to 4-year programs leading to a Doctor of Philosophy require a masters degree for admission and defense of a thesis.
Primary and secondary school teachers are trained in a 3-year program leading to a Diploma in Education or in a Bachelor of Education program at the National University of Samoa.