The Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Solamalemalo Keneti Sio, has described “slight improvements” in the 2018 Samoa Primary Education Certificate of Achievement (SPECA) exams as not good enough.
Expressing his concerns while discussing the 2018 results for the various exams, he told the Samoa Observer that while there were slight improvements over the last two years, a lot more needs to be done.
“So far only SPECA results are out, but the Samoa Primary Education Literacy Levels (SPELL) tests — which are given for Years 2, Year 4 and Year 6 levels — are not out, but probably around the middle of this month, can we expect those results to be released.
“But according to the results from the Year 8, there is a slight improvement from the last two years, which is good. But we also need to address the gap that is present, for example, the last time there was an increase from 5 to 7 per cent of those that passed, for instance the English subject — but now its 10 per cent,” he said.
While the Minister acknowledged the improvement, he said more work needs to be done to improve the students’ grades.
“I am challenging my Ministry that these results are not good enough, we must all work together through collaboration, to ensure the success in (students) acquiring higher results.
“If Samoa had 4000 students that sat the exam, it only means 400 passed, that is not the expected result we are aiming for — and with that we need to find where the problem is present, so we can help fix it.
“We need to look for methods, ideas, and ways to help these students that need further improvement, because English is required for understanding various subjects that is being taught in schools,” he added.
Failure by the students to pass their English examinations will put them at a disadvantage when they enter colleges, the Minister added.
Loau said, “These students will continue to struggle in colleges if the problem is not addressed. When we would ask the teachers at Year 8, who is to be blamed for the failures, the arrow pointed towards Year 7 to 1.
“And in Year 1, the problem is blamed upon the students not attending early childhood education. The blame gets passed around and that is not how we can solve a problem, the key is to work together by helping each other find weaknesses in these areas, and address them immediately.”
According to the Ministry, over 4500 students sat the SPECA test last year and were tested in English, Samoan, science, social studies, mathematics, health and physical education, and visual arts. The exam was revised in 2017 and converted from being an aptitude test to an achievement test.
The Ministry is yet to release the 2018 results for the Samoa School Certificate and the Samoa Secondary Leaving Certificate.