Samoa

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Overview

Samoa, officially the Independent State of Samoa (formerly known as Western Samoa and German Samoa), is a country governing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. The entire island group, inclusive of American Samoa, was called Navigators Islands by European explorers before the 20th century because of the Samoans' seafaring skills. Samoa became independent from New Zealand in 1962. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and Savai'i (one of the biggest islands in Polynesia). The population of Samoa is 194,320 (July 2012 estimate according to CIA's World Factbook). The capital (and largest city) is Apia, situated on the island of Upolu. Samoa was admitted to the United Nations on 15 December 1976.

Further information

For further general information see Wikipedia:Samoa.

Education in Samoa

For a general description of education in Samoa see Education:Samoa.


e-learning

For a description more focussed to e-learning see E-learning:Samoa.


The major distance education provider in Samoa for many years was the USP. The USP Samoa Centre was established in 1976. In 1998, the Centre relocated from the Education Compound in Malifa to a new home at Alafua Campus. Two years later, the Centre was able to offer audio and video-conferencing to students as a result of the 2000 USPNet upgrade. The 2006 upgrade of USPNet led to a substantial increase in the bandwidth available to local students. The Alafua Campus now provides Samoan students with extensive audio and video-conferencing facilities, Internet and email contact with teaching staff in Fiji and access to the USP’s Moodle LMS and electronic teaching resources through the USP Library. USP students at Alafua can choose from the hundreds of distance and flexible Learning courses available from USP. (3)

The integration of computer and communications technology into education is still in its initial stages and implemented through a variety of projects such as Schoolnet and the UNDP proposed funded e-bus. There are currently two broad initiatives in the area of ICT: the provision of ICT support and services and the provision of ICT training and education directed towards schools. The issue of online delivery is still relatively undeveloped and distance education is primarily delivered in a more traditional manner, with the USP providing distance and online options. The regulatory framework in Samoa is most appropriate for that mode. However, it is likely in the future that the interest in the online environment will increase rapidly and it is unclear as to whether Samoa is ready for that change. (1)

In Samoa, many government secondary schools are currently offering computer studies and communications technology at Years 9, 10, 12 and 13. For a number of years now, Samoan students have sat the PSSC computer studies examination. Samoa designed and developed a Computer Studies curriculum for Years 12 and 13, which was implemented in 2005 at selected secondary schools. However, national ICT policies and strategic plan as such have scarcely been implemented. (2)

AusAID’s usually through the Primary Education and Materials Project donate to each primary school a CD player and CDs containing additional materials to support the curriculum. New equipment to produce these educational CDs are also provided to the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture Broadcasting Unit. (2)

The National University of Samoa launched its Moodle-based Learning Management System (LMS) in 2003. Despite this early start, use of Moodle at the NUS has been unadventurous. The Moodle LMS is used only to supplement face-to-face instruction, not for distance education. Most of the content in Moodle consists of course notes in Word and PowerPoint. Chatrooms, bulletin boards, discussion forum and student email facilities are all underutilised. (3)

Samoa is part of the OLPC Oceania initiative. In May 2010, XO laptops were distributed to children and teachers at two primary schools on Savaii Island as part of a pilot project. At Laumoli Primary School, 48 laptops were given to children. At Paia Primary School, 27 laptops were given out. At both schools, additional laptops were given to teachers. (3)

Since 2002, the Oceania University of Medicine has represented a revolution in the private sector delivery of distance education in Samoa. The OUM’s blended-learning programs use problem-based learning to present and integrate basic sciences and clinical content to on-campus and distance students. Teaching is by means of online classes presented by experienced instructors based in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The OUM uses Moodle to host multiple choice practice questions, quizzes, electronic case studies, drug lists, animations, videos and web links. Students are able make use of online discussion boards to analyse cases cooperatively and to send electronic messages to instructors and fellow classmates. The OUM also employs Elluminate Live to build virtual classrooms in which students attend online lectures, study groups and tutorial sessions. Online lectures are also available after delivery as podcasts, either as audio only or full video/audio format. OUM’s integrated, state-of-the-art approach is a departure from previous private colleges in the Pacific. (3)

The Samoa SchoolNet and Community Access Pilot (SchoolNet) was intended to run from March 2005 to December 2006. SchoolNet was a pilot project that aimed to improve the quality and efficiency of Samoan education and to enable local community access to global information. As part of the project, Computer Learning Centres were created at one private and four government schools in Samoa. Each Centre was equipped with a comprehensive range of hardware and software and linked to a SchoolNet Portal that hosted learning objects and e-resources. The results of the project were disappointing. The original project timeframe was too short—in the end, the project only began in July 2007 and ended in August 2008, and there was not enough time for teachers and students to become familiar with the facilities at their Centres. At some schools, officials locked up the equipment in fear of damage or loss, a policy that restricted community access. Most critically, teachers lacked the support that they needed to engage effectively with the e-learning concept. Few realised the potential of the Portal and most made little use of it for teaching. The Ministry of Education intends to revisit SchoolNet in 2012, hopefully building on the lessons of the original pilot. (3)

Quality procedures

Internet in Samoa

Broadband Internet subscribers per 100 inhabitants - Fixed 0.11

Internet hosts (2010) - 17,044

Internet users (2009) - 9,000

Internet users per 100 inhabitants (2009) - 5.03

Computers (2002) - 7/1000 inhabitants (3)

Internet in Education

Copyright law in Samoa

Copyright law in Education

OER Initiatives in Samoa

Samoa is part of the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VSSU) sponsored by the Commonwealth of Learning. In addition, representatives from Samoa have participated in the Learning4Content initiative. (3)

National OER initiatives

Radio broadcasts are still produced by the Ministry to support the delivery of the curriculum in primary schools. (2)

Regional OER initiatives

Institutional OER initiatives

References

2. ReVica/VISCED page for Samoa (http://virtualcampuses.eu/index.php/Samoa)

3. ICDE Country Report for Samoa (http://www.icde.org/projects/regulatory_frameworks_for_distance_education/country_profiles/samoa/)

Reports

1. ICDE Report: 'Regulatory frameworks for distance education: A pilot study in the Southwest Pacific/South East Asia region - Final report'. December 2011. Prepared by the Project Team (Team leader, Dr. Rosalind James) (accessed at http://www.icde.org/filestore/Regulatory_Framework/RegulatoryFrameworksforDEfinalreport2.pdf on Monday 9th July 2012)


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