Developing a Record of Achievement system for Samoa
The Samoa Qualifications Authority (SQA) has been tasked with developing a holistic Record of Achievement (ROA) system for Samoa and its people. Learners in Samoa have, until now, been struggling to have their educational achievements recognised by employers and education institutions because there hasn’t been a central record of quality-assured learning for individuals. Without this, Samoa has been unable to fully leverage the potential of its education system.
Enter Skills Consulting Group, who were tasked with partnering with the SQA over 2018/2019 to help them develop a strategic policy to guide the implementation of the new ROA system.
This began with research to review the local situation and establish best practice. The Samoan government participated by supplying foundational literature and local knowledge. This initial research formed the basis of a discussion paper.
The next step was to ensure stakeholder engagement through a programme of public consultation. This ensured all voices were heard. Following this, staff were briefed on the process moving forward and the final policy document was then submitted.
Learners in Samoa are now on their way to having their learning achievements recognised consistently, reliably, and in a quality assured system. They will be able to prove their learning achievements and, therefore, gain employment more easily, change jobs, receive promotions and enter further education.
Another issue for Samoa has been the lack of a central record of learning for individuals. Without this system, Samoa has been unable to fully leverage the potential of its education system. as the ability to retrieve learner information, incompatibility of information between providers, and the inaccuracy of information meant there was little evidence of their learning achievements. was Again, this made it more difficult for learners to gain employment, change jobs, receive promotion, or enter further education.
In 2010, the Samoan government passed the Samoan Qualifications Act. In this, the Samoan Qualifications Authority (SQA) was tasked with developing the holistic Record of Achievement (ROA) system for Samoa and its people
Skills Consulting Group brought in Dr. Catherine Stevens, a consultant with significant experience in tertiary education and, importantly, direct policy experience with the New Zealand equivalent of the SQA, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).
Dr. Stevens, with support from the Skills Consulting Group team, developed a number of outputs for the project including a review of related policy, a discussion paper to frame the problem, a stakeholder consultation process where Samoan institutions and the public were given a clear, significant voice in the policy’s development, staff training on the new policies and expectations, and, finally, the new policy document.
Skills Consulting Group’s strong research function supported the desk review and discussion paper. Dr. Stevens also coordinated with the SQA and NZQA to deliver a review inclusive of local expert knowledge, at the same time as benchmarking the result to the New Zealand system.
Part of the Skills Consulting Group ethos is to partner with our clients to help them grow. For Samoa’s ROA project, both institutions and the public needed to fully engage with the new system. To this end, Dr. Stevens engaged in multiple rounds of stakeholder consultation to ensure engagement and inclusion of local cultural sensitivities. Consultation was also inclusive of organisations that covered the full range of learning achievements that needed to be recognized by the ROA. This included higher education institutions, government and non-government agencies, and religious education providers, who hold particular cultural significance to the people of Samoa.
The quality of stakeholder engagement was high, particularly in the staff training phase of the project. Individuals were so engaged from the get-go that they barely needed any familiarisation with the project, its intentions, or its processes. This showed a confidence in the process and the consultants working on the project.
Skills Consulting Group’s work with the SQA has set up a strong strategic foundation that will recognise learning achievements and immediate, positive impact on learners in Samoa. We are proud to have partnered with the SQA to achieve such a key milestone for their education system and look forward to opportunities to work together in future.