Theme: “Breakthrough to Excellence: facing the challenges -

Fa’aeainai lu’itau”.

Lotu 2018 webThe Samoa Teachers Annual conference 2018 was held this week on Monday 22nd January at the TATTE Conference Centre. The conference was preceded as usual by a Thanksgiving Service on Sunday 21stJanuary at the Mulivai Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Father Muliau Stowers led the service and he encouraged the principals, teachers and all present to serve with honesty, courage and perseverance.

The Honourable Prime Minister, Afioga Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi opened the conference and in his address he reminded the participants of the reality that “challenges will always be there but it is how we address them that will make the difference.” The Prime Minister reminded the participants of the SAMOA Pathway “SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action” adopted by Leaders of the Small Island Developing States in Apia in September 2014 and by the United Nation in New York in 2015. He said that the UN’s 4th Development Goal for 2030 envisioned that by 2030 there would be inclusive and equitable quality education and promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all. Therefore the need for interventions is needed to achieve this goal -and to break through to excellence.The Prime Minister challenged all to make a difference:“whether you are a member of the school committee, a school inspector, teacher, principal, parent or employee, through purposeful collaboration and commitment, education must and can face those challenges now”.

Conference 2018 groupThe Ministry Chief Executive Officer Afamasaga Dr Karoline Afamasaga-Fuata’i presented an overview of what the Ministry has achieved and the challenges that remain to be addressed. She also presented an analysis of the results for the national assessments and examinations for both primary and secondary schools.

In her overview, Afamasaga noted some of the positive achievements made in the previous year. These include the following (i) completion & approval of Early Childhood Education & National Safe School Policies (ii) ECE Curriculum Guidelines reviewed and finalized (iii) Re-establishment of Schools Inspectors (iv) Development of an Implementation Plan for the MESC Inclusive Education (IE) (v) Program for the use of ICT tools in schools (vi) successful implementation of the Pilot Initiative for National Diagnostic Primary Assessment Years 1 – 3 & 5 (vii) Successful 2nd year of the School Sports Initiative – Boxing & Weightlifting competition (viii) TVET Strategic Framework and Policy developed and (ix) completion of Intangible Cultural Heritage Database..

She also noted some of the key challenges faced by the Ministry such as (i) timely completion of processes (ii) capacity issues (iii) compliance with expected minimum service standards for schools and (iv) the need for improved systems to facilitate the flow of data between the Ministry and schools. She encouraged School Principals, School Committee members and teachers to keep striving to achieve excellence in their schools.

In terms of the assessment and examination results 2017, there have been improvements in some of the subjects for both primary and secondary, but there are also subjects where the results show a decline and this is a challenge the Ministry will continue to address through various forms of targeted support including training.

According to the CEO, Afamasaga Dr Karoline Afamasaga Fuata’i, one of the concerns is evident in the results for Year 8 where there is a marked decline in students’ abilities to tackle high level skill questions. This is a clear reflection of the teaching in classrooms and it is crucial that MESC carries out a more rigorous program of support for teachers to improve the situation. The move to bring back school inspectors was acknowledged as one mechanism of support that the Ministry is fortunate to have re-established and one they will utilise to bring about positive change.

Other presentations at the conference included presentations by the Principals of Nofoalii and Vaimea Primary Schools. Good leadership, successful partnerships with the community and the use of ICT tools to facilitate teaching and learning in the classrooms were highlighted by the two principals as fundamental to the success of any school.

Presentations from the Ministry of Health “Draft Nurse School Policy” and Ministry of Police “Schools and the Law” provided lots of interest and raised questions from the participants.

Following the conference on Monday, more than 500 school personnel (school principals and teachers) then dispersed to attend training on Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th. The trainings were held at four different venues and focused on various areas pertinent to their work for 2018.  The trainings were led by the CEO, Afamasaga Dr Karoline Afamasaga-Fuata’i and staff of the Curriculum Design and Materials and ICT & Media Divisions.

Participants Topics of Training Venue

School Principals

Primary & Secondary

Using data to drive interventions

EFKS Hall
Year 4 & 6 teachers from selected districts in Upolu Literacy & Numeracy strategies to address gaps from last year’s assessments Ministry of Health Conference Facility
Year 5 & 7 teachers from selected Upolu schools Use of ICT tools to improve teaching and learning (Transforming Education Innovatively in Samoan Schools – TEISS) Ministry of Education, Sports & Culture
Year 8 teachers from selected Upolu schools Classroom based assessment and strategies to address gaps from last year’s assessments TATTE / Leifiifi College Hall

 

For Term1, 2018, the School Inspectors and School Principals will be working collaboratively through district and school based workshops to disseminate and consolidate knowledge and skills learnt from the national workshops for the benefit of all other teachers. Furthermore additional workshops will be held by the Ministry for teachers in Savaii.