Cabinet pursuant to FK (20)21 has approved the implementation of a 4 four year level (Years 9, 10, 11, 12) for all Secondary schools. This is a change from the previous 5 year level currently in place for Secondary schools. The current 5 year Secondary curriculum has been re-packaged and reorganised by the Ministry since 2016, to ensure the alignment of curricula standards and learning outcomes are reflected in the four year level shift.

This curriculum development is informed by research evidence and National trends in students’ performances over the last 10 years at both Primary and Secondary level. The growing rate of early school leavers after Year 9 has led to this reform. Furthermore, back to back assessment for years 12 and year 13 (particularly boys) in the current 5 year level was also monitored closely by the Ministry. The decline of students’ achievements in Year 13 SSLC after sitting the SSC in the previous year indicates a need for an appropriate interventions in between the two National Examinations (SSC & SSLC). Consequently, the 4 year level is a national response to addressing these issues in order to improve students’ achievements especially in the last year of Secondary level.

Learning pathways

The implementation of the 4 year level (Years, 9, 10, 11, 12) will commence in 2021 using Year 9 as the first cohort. The provision of four (4) learning pathways (Commerce, Arts, TVET, and Science) will be made important in this 4 year level. Starting from Year 10, students will be streamed into learning areas based on their strengths and interests.

2 Streams of core subjects

Two streams for Mathematics, English and Samoan will be introduced in Year 9. These 2 streams of subjects will enable students to take General Mathematics for all Non-Science students and Mathematics for Science students. The same will apply for English and Samoan so that students are equipped with the relevant skills and knowledge most suitable to their area of study.

Expanding curriculum subjects (TVET subjects)

The Ministry will be developing curriculum subjects and options for students in the area of TVET in the next 2 years. This will see the introduction of new courses such as tourism and hospitality, food and beverages, marine studies, and carpentry. TVET has huge economic potential for the majority of our students when they finish Secondary level.

Changes to assessments

The new 4 year level will introduce new changes in the implementation of assessments. In Year 10 (for 2022) students would sit the SSC assessment that was sat at Year 12 in the current 5 year level. This assessment would no longer be achievement but a diagnostic assessment will identify student’s strength as Year 11 interventions. In Year 12 students will sit the SSLC that was sat in year 13 in the current system. This will remain as an achievement test to qualify students for Foundation Entry at the University of Samoa.

Transitioning into the 4 year level

The Ministry will take transitional and phase-out approach for the implementation of the 4 year level. Students who will be in Year 9 will be the first cohort in (2021), Year 10 (for 2022 will sit SSC) Year 11 (for 2023) and Year 12 (2024 – sit SSLC).

It is anticipated that by 2024, the first cohort (year 9) in 2021 would reach (year 12) 2024 to fully complete the implementation of the 4 year level, and the phasing out of the last cohort for the existing 5 year level.

Awareness and consultation

The Ministry has already begun its awareness programs with School Inspectors recently and School Principals Association to follow by. Unfortunately, Teachers Conference Week for this year was cancelled due to the unforeseen weather and global pandemic affecting all our programs. It is expected that in Term 3, an awareness program will take place with school principals and teachers for the 4 year level approach.


Afamasaga Dr. Karoline Afamasaga-Fuata’i

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