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Education in Samoa gets $42 million boost

Australia and New Zealand have come on board to support the education sector in Samoa with an injection of AU$23 million (T$42 million) aimed at improving the quality of education.

The money is channeled through the Samoa Government’s Education Sector Support Programme (E.S.S.P.) 2020–2024. 

The Australian government will contribute AUD $13 million [T$23.7 million] over the four years duration of the programme’s implementation with New Zealand giving NZ$11 million [T$18.9 million].

The funding support for the E.S.S.P. was announced by the three Governments in a joint press statement.

The programme’s objective is to enhance the quality of education and training, and increase rates of participation in education and training opportunities in Samoa.

The programme will also build on the existing agreement which supported long-term improvements in education outcomes by upgrading teacher qualifications, providing innovative models for teacher in-service training, supporting the implementation of Minimum Service Standards, and the upskilling Technical and Vocational Education and Training (T.V.E.T.) trainers.

The E.S.S.P. will be implemented through the Government of Samoa’s Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture [M.E.S.C.]; the National University of Samoa [N.U.S.]; and the Samoa Qualifications Authority.

An expanded focus of the E.S.S.P. includes education information systems as a tool for remote teaching and learning as a response to COVID-19, and the provision of technical assistance at strategic and school level.

The Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, acknowledged the support from both the Governments of Australia and New Zealand. 

He also noted the alignment with key priorities of the sector as articulated in the new Education Sector Plan. which are closely linked to the national priorities as reflected in Samoa’s National Development Strategy and the financing framework outlined in the Budget.

Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, Sara Moriarty, said a healthy and educated community will be crucial to Samoa’s economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19. 

“Australia's investment in education, in partnership with Samoa and New Zealand, will enable all children including those with a disability, to gain the skills they need to obtain work or go on to further study and to lead productive lives,” she added.

The New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa, Dr. Trevor Matheson, added that working together — particularly against the backdrop of the global impact of COVID-19 — will help Samoa improve its capacity and realise its goals for the education sector. 

“The signing of this joint funding agreement is an important achievement in our shared and ongoing commitment to supporting and further developing skills, knowledge and learning opportunities in Samoa,” he said.

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