Translated from the files of FaaSamoa. Thousands of parents and family members flooded the Samoa College grounds last week to sit and tapuai in support their children as they took the two-test entrance exam for Samoa College.
Samoa College School Principal Ms Karene Faasisila said 948 students from primary schools across Samoa had registered to sit the entrance exam that comprises a two-hour English paper, followed by a two-hour Math paper.
On the day, a total of 933 students sat. There were a few no-shows and a few students who hadn’t registered but came that morning wanting to sit.
“We cannot stop parents wanting to give their children an opportunity to sit the entrance exams,” said Ms Faasisila.
“Every year we are in awe of the commitment shown by parents who come from as far as Aleipata and Falelatai here in Upolu, and of course the many who travel from Savaii..
“We are humbled here at Samoa College to think of the hundreds who want to attend.”
Last year the exact same number 933 students sat the entrance exam, with 190 places offered.
Last year saw the number surge to over 900 from the 778 who sat in 2021.
Ms Faasisila says the number of places they are able to offer for the 2023 Year 9 intake remains the same as every year, around 180.
The limited resources and capacity of Samoa College means a mere 19% of students showing an interest to attend the prestigious college will be offered a placement for next year.
The school started its entrance exams in 2014 and since then, the number of primary school students who travel from across Samoa to try out for a place has ranged from 535 (2019) to 933 (2022).
Karene Faasisila says the drop in 2019 was because they had disallowed Year 7 students to sit. The number has, however, climbed back up over recent years.
The tapuaiga of parents, grandparents, family and even teachers from Primary Schools across Samoa is always such a heartwarming sight each year.
Parents travel from as far as the most western point of Samoa in Falealupo and Asau in Savaii, to the east coast of Upolu in Aleipata.
They are seen sitting in prayerful anticipation as their children sit back-to-back exams. A two-hour English paper followed by a two-hour Mathematics paper.
Ms Faasisila says she does sympathise with the hundreds of students who miss out every year, however, the college is only able to offer placings for five Year 9 classes, which they try to max at 36 students per class.
There are 34 teachers and 5 resource staff including a librabrian who make up Ms Faasisila’s total staff of 39.
As is the case for most high schools across Samoa, Ms Faasisila and her Vice Principal both continue to carry full teaching loads in addition to their admin work.
The exams are set and marked by the 10 teachers who teach Math and English at the college.
Each year teachers work late into the night to mark the hundreds of papers and have the results released as soon as practicable.
Last year 190 successful students from 43 primary schools across Samoa were offered a placement after results of two examinations were compiled and issued.
The results of the Samoa College entrance exams for 2022 will be available free of charge on the Samoa Global News website as soon as they are available.