The Ministry of Education Sports and Culture has expressed concern at the increasing number of dropout rates in secondary education and called for an investigation.
The Ministry’s concerns and appeal for an investigation are part of recommendations are outlined in a Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.) Statistical Digest 2017 Report, which contains statistical data that highlights the progress and change in the early childhood, primary and secondary levels of education in Samoa.
According to the report, the dropout rate for primary education fluctuated across all year levels with the highest percentage of 8 per cent recorded for the Year 2 level, which shows that there are students who are kept at home while some migrate overseas.
“A dropout rate of 3.4 per cent at Year 5 and 6.8 per cent at Year 7 suggest that many Year 4 and 6 students either repeat these year levels or stay home if they do not achieve the expectation to get them into the next year level.
The report noted that the Samoa School Fee Grant Scheme is in place for Years 1-11 to address compulsory education issues and assist parents pay school fees. However, the report highlighted that there are still too many students not in formal education."
“The retention rate has been consistently above 80 per cent up until this year as recorded at 78 per cent. It signifies the percentage of pupils who are retained from Year 1 through to Year 8 in primary education."
“It is assumed that students who dropped out during this progression either migrated overseas or were held at home and therefore unable to complete their primary education,” stated the report.
The report said a 20 per cent drop in the number of Year 13 students also suggest that a large number of students leav school before their final year of secondary education.
“Some of these students enroll at TVET institutions to continue non-formal education. Overall, there is a high dropout rate in secondary education for all year levels – a historical trend noted by the Ministry."
“Compared to other year levels, the Year 12 level shows the least drop out at 4.8 per cent. High dropout rates of 20.4 per cent at Year 11 and 28.6 per cent at Year 13 correspond to the low progression rate at these year levels and also reflective of common school practices of selective admission into Years 12 and 13 as described earlier,” the report added.
The report also revealed that the school dropout rate is higher among male students than females.