Qualifications Authority plans for the future
The Samoa Qualification Authority (S.Q.A.) provided the opportunity for all its Post School Education and Training (P.S.E.T.) stakeholders to review the Authority's future plans for the next four years.
While planning for its future, the Authority revisited the highlights from the last four years, which includes the growing number of schools registered as formal and informal P.S.E.T. providers.
In the last four years, 2017-2020, seven new providers registered as formal P.S.E.T. institutions, including: Malua Theological College, Oceania University of Medicine, Pesega T.V.E.T. Institute, Congregational Christian Church of Samoa Vocational School, Vaiola T.V.E.T. and Assemblies of God Samoa of Samoa Theological College.
Another highlight includes the accreditation of 30 programmes from 14 formal P.S.E.T. providers.
But P.S.E.T. enrollment numbers have dropped since 2016 to 2018, according to the Education Sector Plan 2019-2024.
The S.Q.A. Chief Executive Officer, Leali'ifano Easter Silipa, said the issue is being addressed by the P.S.E.T. support fund. The fund is used by the Authority to provide assistance to providers.
This aligns with one of the key objectives of the S.Q.A. covered in the session on Wednesday: the need to enhance the relevance of and access to P.S.E.T. opportunities.
"Where we help them to get their programme accredited to deliver their programmes and in terms of accessibility, we give the assistance to vulnerable students," she said.
"When we say vulnerable students, we're looking at students that academically perform but families cannot afford to pay for tuition fees. So that's the accessibility that we've been giving out to our P.S.E.T. students."
According to the Education Sector Plan, the P.S.E.T. support fund is the biggest component of the Government's $13.4 million expenditure on Technical and Vocational Education and Training.
Other corporate plan objectives include: to regulate and quality assure P.S.E.T.s, to conduct research and formulate policy to provide sound P.S.E.T. policy advice, to provide strategic leadership and strengthen networking amongst the P.S.E.T. sector and to achieve effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of resources.
Currently, a total of 26 formal P.S.E.T. providers are registered with the S.Q.A..
In 2018, a total of 4777 students were enrolled by different P.S.E.T. provider types, 55 per cent of which are female and 61 per cent of the total enrollments were enrolled in undergraduate degree programmes.