Foreign qualifications on the agenda
The Samoa Qualifications Authority has completed an awareness workshop on the Foreign Qualifications Recognition Service (FQRS) at the Development Bank of Samoa conference room yesterday.
The workshop was to establish whether the foreign qualification is authentic and recognised in the country of award.
Samoa Qualification Authority C.E.O., Letuimanu’asina Dr. Emma Kruse-Va’ai believes the new service is significant because it safeguards Samoa.
“As you are aware, we are in a global community now and in the past, we used to know each other very well in our village, our church, the family that we grow up with,” Letuimanu’asina said.
“Most of the families have their walls decorated with certificates and achievements that members of the family achieved either from their school or university.
“I would say that probably all of those certificates in the past were authentic.
“Most of the time we also knew where they came from, whether it was from Samoa College, from Vaipouli or whether it was from Polytechnic or from N.U.S.
“But now, as I said before, we are living in a global community and we have to be careful with the kind of certificates that are being issued.”
Letuimanu’asina said there are lots of qualifications that come from institutions in different countries.
“We used to have just School C and U.E. (back in the days) and that was it, but now there are so many different qualifications and it’s very good because it shows the broadness of opportunities that are there for our young people.
“So the question is, who, where, when and what?
“Who got the qualification? Where did they get it from? When did they get it and what is the qualification and the most important thing, is it real?
“There are people with false qualifications and false documentations and then you welcome them to work for your institution and they say that they have qualifications in I.T, M.B.A...
“But with the advancements of modern times, we now have the technology and it’s very easy to reproduce exactly what a real certificate looks like.
“This also happens to local qualifications.”
Letuimanu’asina said the new service is all about safeguarding Samoa.
“We don’t want dishonest people to work in your institutions or to be doing your work and that’s why this service is so important.
“It’s really about safeguarding Samoa, workplaces, businesses, the institutions and we just want to ensure that when people work for you, they truly are what they say they are.”
The value and benefits of the service are provided for people with overseas qualifications who want to work and study in Samoa as well as their potential employers and P.S.E.T. providers.
While it is not currently mandatory for employment study in Samoa to have S.Q.A. recognised qualifications, this service offers assistance for employers, providers, learners, job seekers, government bodies and professional organisations and associations.
The key principles underpinning the Foreign Qualifications Recognition Service are: quality decision transparency, sustainability and continuous improvement.
In addition, the recognition of foreign qualifications in Samoa applies to all government ministries and State owned enterprises/corporations.
It also applies to all foreign workers on bilateral or multilateral aid projects, all contract foreign workers/consultants who intend to work in Samoa for a period of three months and all foreign workers who intend to obtain a work permit to live and work in Samoa.
While the Foreign Qualifications Recognition Service affords priority in assessment of authenticity and quality assured status of the qualification, organisations and individuals may also request an assessment of the comparable S.Q.F. level of the qualification utilising the same application.