Samoa is a small state of the Commonwealth, with a population of about 190,000. 


School-age Population by Education Level1









Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Secondary Education
for the school year ending 20161









Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Tertiary Education1









Percentage of female teachers in 1




Secondary (2016)


Tertiary (2000)



1. UNESCO Institute for Statistics Data Centre, retrieved in March 2020


Literacy rate (2012)1




Adult (15+) literacy rate


Adult (15+) literacy rate



Economic Activity (2010)1




Adult (15+) economic activity


Adult (15+) economic activity



Political Decision Making (2014)1


Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament



Life expectancy (2012)1









1. COL gender country profile April 2015 


4.3 63.6
Fixed-telephone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants1 Mobile-cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitants1



0.9 26.2
Fixed-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants1 Mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants1



24 33.6
Households with a computer (%)1 Individuals using the internet (%)1



1. International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ICT Eye Country profile, retrieved in March 2020



COL’s work in Samoa is primarily in the areas of tertiary education through the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth, technical and vocational skills development, and technology-enabled learning. The work includes promoting open educational resources (OER) policy development and course design, as well as identifying innovations to support teaching and learning in both formal and informal education settings.

Higher Education

  • COL sponsored nine students from Samoa to follow the COL-supported legislative drafting course for professionals, which is offered by USP.

Learn more about the Higher Education initiative.

Knowledge Management and Technology

  • COL’s Aptus technology is an off-grid, offline virtual classroom — a classroom without walls. A structured trial was conducted on Aptus at NUS, starting in July 2016. At NUS, most students have access only to the public computers in the library. Aptus was expected to increase the reach of library materials, since it can be loaded with a large amount of digital resources and then deployed in classrooms. The research team hailed the possibilities offered by Aptus as a “monumental breakthrough” for education in Samoa.
  • Following this research study, in 2018, Aptus was deployed extensively in support of primary schools in Samoa.

Learn more about Aptus.

Pacific Centre for Flexible and Open Learning for Development

  • COL and the University of the South Pacific work collaboratively in supporting the Pacific Centre for Flexible and Open Learning for Development (PACFOLD), a regional centre for capacity-building in open and distance learning (ODL) in the Pacific. The centre’s priorities include: advocacy and capacity building for flexible and open learning for sustainable development; the development of regional and national policies on open, distance and flexible learning; and research on flexible and open learning.
  • The online community PACFOLD Learn was launched in early 2017. Also in 2017, PACFOLD offered its online course on Flexible Skills Development, with participants from across the region.

Learn more about the Pacific Centre for Open and Flexible Learning for Development.

Technical and Vocational Skills Development

  • With the help of COL and other agencies, Matuaileoo Environment Trust Inc. (METI) is providing local solutions to national challenges. COL’s interventions have improved their organisational capacity through support for resource-based, flexible learning, which blends carefully designed materials with collaborative community learning under the guidance of a facilitator. That 636 people were trained in 2016 indicates there has been increased access to quality learning opportunities. Learners have reported that the training is impacting their livelihoods through improvements to health, income and empowerment. Following the programme on life skills and kitchen gardens, 132 out of 636 learners immediately started a kitchen garden, and all 636 joined village co-operatives — the main vehicle for METI’s continued engagement with the community.
  • A COL workshop was held in 2017 on the topic of OER for Skills Training. The workshop, which was the third in a series, was held in Fiji. Nine Pacific countries, including Samoa, were represented.

Learn more about the Technical and Vocational Skills Development initiative.

Technology-Enabled Learning

  • COL is supporting NUS with a project to institutionalise TEL at the university. Policy development and capacity-building in the integration of technology in teaching and learning at the university are key components of the project.
  • A baseline study was conducted to develop TEL policy. COL’s Education Specialist: eLearning facilitated a workshop on TEL policy development in 2017 at NUS.
  • Also in 2017, as a follow-up to the TEL policy developed at NUS, and to assist teachers with planning and developing blended courses that could be used by learners, a capacity-building workshop on developing blended learning courses using Moodle was organised at NUS.
  • In 2017, four teachers from Samoa participated in COL’s TEL MOOC course. A number of people from Samoa participated in a MOOC on climate change, offered by USP in collaboration with COL and UNESCO.

Learn more about the Technology-Enabled Learning initiative.

Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth

  • Samoa continues to be a member of the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC). Over the period 2016–2017, COL worked with NUS in response to the university’s request that some of its programmes and qualifications be registered on the Transnational Qualifications Framework (TQF) developed by VUSSC.
  • In 2016, COL and NUS discussed the delivery of new VUSSC courses at NUS. To date, NUS has offered the VUSSC Diploma in Sustainable Agriculture twice and has taken steps to align its courses with the TQF.
  • COL is also working with the Centre of Maritime Studies on course development related to fishing technology and fisheries science. The centre has agreed to offer two new VUSSC courses, in Fishing Technology and Fisheries Science, which will build on the Port Management course they now offer.
  • A programme in Environmental Management for Sustainable Development has been developed and was launched in Samoa in 2017.
  • In 2017, COL and the University of the Seychelles launched a new massive open online course (MOOC) titled “Understanding the Blue Economy,” which was developed through VUSSC. The course is of particular interest to small island states and was made available to learners globally.

Learn more about the VUSSC initiative.


Partnerships are fundamental to COL’s work. Strategic partnerships allow COL to broaden its reach and engage at global, regional and national levels, while implementation partners support COL’s work in communities and institutions across Commonwealth Member States. Partners include multilateral organisations, regional bodies, national governments, government agencies, foundations, civil society organisations, public and private (not-for-profit) institutions and the private sector.

COL’s partners in Samoa include:

  •  Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture
  •  National University of Samoa
  •  Samoa Qualifications Authority