PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARIAT



PIFS(04)FEDMA.06

EDUCATION MINISTERS MEETING

Apia, Samoa
28-29 January 2004





AGENDA ITEM 5




PRE-UNIVERSITY COURSES IN THE PACIFIC























This paper was prepared by the Forum Secretariat for the information of Ministers.

1




PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARIAT



PIFS(04)FEDMA.06

EDUCATION MINISTERS MEETING

Apia, Samoa
28-29 January 2004

Summary brief

PRE-UNIVERSITY COURSES IN THE PACIFIC


Purpose

To provide information on courses available for the pre-university year of the
secondary school cycle in the Pacific region.


Background

2.
There is a range of pre-university courses available for students in the Pacific.
Some countries have developed their own courses, others use qualifications from New
Zealand or the USA, others use regionally developed courses.

3.
This co-existence of the various courses was raised as a concern at the last
University of the South Pacific Council meeting and the last annual general meeting of
the South Pacific Board for Educational Assessment. A Forum member has requested
that a further opportunity to discuss this issue be provided at this meeting.

4.
This paper provides a summary of courses available in the region, with a
particular focus on the two regional courses, the University of the South Pacific
Foundation and the South Pacific Board for Educational Assessment’s new South Pacific
Form Seven Certificate.



2




PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARIAT



PIFS(04)FEDMA.06

EDUCATION MINISTERS MEETING

Apia, Samoa
28-29 January 2004


PRE-UNIVERSITY COURSES IN THE PACIFIC

Purpose

To provide information on courses available for the pre-university year of the
secondary school cycle in the Pacific region.

Background

2.
There is a range of pre-university courses available for students in the Pacific.
Some countries have developed their own courses, others use qualifications from New
Zealand or the USA, others use regionally developed courses.

3.
This co-existence of the various courses was raised as a concern at the last
University of the South Pacific Council meeting and the last annual general meeting of
the South Pacific Board for Educational Assessment. A Forum member has requested
that a further opportunity to discuss this issue be provided at this meeting.

Summary of Current Courses Available

University of the South Pacific foundation courses

4.
Foundation programmes in science or social science provide a pathway to degree
level study. This programme was initially established because many USP member
countries did not have their own equivalent course.

5.
USP foundation programmes have a sound reputation and are well regarded as an
entry into degree programmes. They have played a valuable role in opening up access
both to school leavers and to adults who wish to pursue tertiary education. There is
considerable demand for foundation courses.


3


6.
The USP foundation programmes are available by distance and flexible learning
from USP centres in USP member countries1. Enrolment may be full-time or part-time.

7.
The programmes are also taught face-to-face at the Form 7 level by special
arrangements in several schools in member countries. The cost per student for this
arrangement is considerably lower than enrolling individually through a USP centre.
Foundation courses taught by schools or with tuition at centres are referred to as
‘Augmented Foundation Programmes.’

8.
Member country contributions are not used to support the USP foundation
programmes as they are self-supporting courses.

9.
USP will be reviewing its foundation courses in 2004.

South Pacific Form Seven Certificate (SPFSC)

10.
The South Pacific Board for Educational Assessment (SPBEA) was requested by
its member countries2 to develop a regional Form 7 examination that would follow on
from the Pacific Secondary School Certificate (PSSC). The South Pacific Form Seven
Certificate (SPFSC) is on the lines of the New Zealand University Bursary Examination
and SPBEA has worked closely with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority in its
development.

11.
Course prescriptions, teachers’ guides for assessment; rules and procedures have
been developed. In addition, suitable textbooks and resources have been identified and
teaching programmes to help teachers develop schemes of work have been suggested.
Grading systems, fees schedules for examiners, moderators and markers all needed to be
approved.

12.
The New Zealand Committee of Vice Chancellors has given formal recognition to
the SPSFC. The University of the South Pacific has confirmed its recognition for
admission to USP. Consultation has taken place with the University of Papua New
Guinea for acceptance of the SPSFC and approval has been given.

13.
Eleven subjects have been developed, approved and distributed and more will be
developed in 2004.

14
Eleven schools in Kiribati, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have agreed to
take the SPSFC in 2004 with an estimated 600-700 students participating. In order to
maintain quality, schools need to go through an accreditation process. This also applies to
the PSSC.



1 Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga,
Tuvalu, Vanuatu,
2 Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

4


Fiji Form Seven Examination (FFSE)

15.
This examination was developed in the early 1980s to meet the growing demand
from students. It is now well established with over 3,000 students sitting 13 subjects.
Some students opt to take the USP foundation courses as an alternative to the FFSE.

University Preparatory Year at the National University of Samoa

16.
The National University of Samoa offers a University Preparatory Year for Year
13 students. Courses are offered in commerce, social science and science.

Metropolitan Country Courses and Examinations

17.
Several Forum Island Countries follow education systems that are closely linked
to countries such as New Zealand or the USA. These are often due to historical
associations between countries.

Private education providers

18.
With increasing globalisation and the commodification of education, various
education providers from countries outside of the Pacific Islands are offering pre-
university courses in the region. Such courses tend to be expensive and are therefore
limited to those who can afford them.

Recommendation

19.
Ministers may wish to consider noting this paper.

5



Table 1 Pre-university courses taken in Forum Island Countries*

Country

Pr-university courses
Notes
Cook Islands
NZ University Bursary

Federated States of
College of Micronesia (FSM) has its own entrance test.

Micronesia
Some students do US exams such as TEOFL, ACT, SAT
Fiji
Fiji Forum Seven Examination

USP Foundation (by extension)
Kiribati
USP Foundation offered in some schools.
Some schools will do
SPFS at s in 2004
Nauru
USP Foundation.

Niue
NZ University Bursary

Palau
US examinations: TOEFL, SAT and ACT**

Papua New Guinea
Secondary High School Certificate (Grade 12)

Republic of
USP Foundation offered in some schools as well as US

Marshall Islands
exams.
Samoa
University Preparatory Year at National University of

Samoa
Solomon Islands
USP Foundation offered in some schools.
Some schools will do
SPFS at s in 2004
Tonga
USP Foundation offered in some schools.
Some schools will do
SPFS at s in 2004;
Senior Cambridge also
being introduced.
Tuvalu
Highest exam offered has been PSSC. Tuvalu students
Tuvalu is interested in
have had to do pre-university years in Fiji, Samoa or NZ.
doing SPFSC in future.
USP Foundation will be offered in the only secondary
school from 2004
Vanuatu
USP Foundation offered in some schools.
Some schools will do
SPFS at s in 2004
* This table is based on information available at the time of writing ,but may contain errors and
omissions, which are regretted.
**TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language; SAT – Stanford Achievement Test; ACT-
American College Testing



6


   © 2006, USP Library. Copyright & Disclaimer                         Contact Us
last updated Sat Sep 01, 2012