Nuuausala College ready for transition: Principal

Nuuausala College is ready to assist its 2021 Year 9 students with the transition to the Ministry of Education’s new four-year level system, says Principal Rev. Fuatimu Posese.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer on Monday, the Principal said they had already begun some of the changes prior to the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.) announcing the education reforms.

He said based on his own experience as a principal about 20 per cent of students who finish college become eligible for university and the Nuuausala College tries to identify training options for the other 80 per cent.

“Judging from experience for 14 years since I have been the school principal, around 20 per cent of students are eligible for university, while the 80 per cent we are trying to target with other knowledge and skills instead of going home with no hope instilled within them,” said Rev. Fuatimu.

In line with the reforms, after students sit their Year 9 final exams, the college will identify those who will sit the SSC examinations while the rest will undertake vocational subjects such as visual arts, design technology, plumbing and agricultural science.

“These subjects will be easier for students that are below average to adapt. They will try to finish their academic studies [with the school] and already have the skills, which they can help earn some form of income to care for their families, instead of becoming unemployed and not having any skills to earn a living.

“With the new changes, imagine a new student attending Year 9 then the next class has to sit the S.S.C., it appears that there is not enough time for a child to prepare and then after one more year to sit S.S.L.C. in Year 12.”

Earlier this year the Cabinet approved the implementation of a four-year level (Years 9, 10, 11, 12) for all Secondary schools. The current five-year secondary curriculum has been re-packaged and re-organised by the Ministry.

Aside from the new four-year level system for colleges, students in Year 10 will now be required to sit the Secondary School Certificate [S.S.C.] previously sat by Year 12 students. While Year 12 students will sit the Samoa School Leaving Certificates [S.S.L.C.] which was originally designed for Year 13. 

A statement issued by the M.E.S.C. stated that the Ministry will develop curriculum subjects and options for students in the area of TVET over the next two years.

"Consequently, the four-year [secondary] level is a national response to addressing these issues in order to improve student's achievements, especially in the last year of secondary level," the Ministry added in a statement.

Furthermore, this will see the introduction of new courses such as tourism and hospitality, food and beverages, marine studies and carpentry.

The Ministry also emphasised that T.V.E.T. has huge economic potential for the majority of Samoa’s students when they finish secondary level.

In addition, Year 9 students in 2021 will be the first cohort to undertake the new system. Students will have to make a choice between four learning pathways when they get to Year 10: commerce; arts; technical, vocational education and training; and science.

Starting from Year 10 students will be streamed into the learning areas based on their strengths and interests, according to the Ministry.

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