Quality Assurance Division



Quality assurance is the assurance of quality that is accepted internationally as the result of systematic management activities. ‘Quality assurance’ in education is defined as:

  • All activity which ensures that the educational services of an organisation are being delivered effectively and efficiently and are in line with published goals and objectives. Quality assurance should be conducted in the first instance by an educational organisation to ensure it is delivering education services to a high standard, and also by an external regulatory body, verifying that the education services are meeting prescribed standards

SQA's Quality Assurance Responsibilities

Section 4 of the Samoa Qualifications Act 2010 lists seventeen functions of the Authority which can be summarized as follows:

  • Regulate Qualifications and Quality Standards for Post School Education and Training (PSET);
  • Determine a Samoa Qualifications structure;


  • Develop criteria and processes, coordinate and conduct Provider Registration; Programme Accreditation; Quality Audit; and Recognition of Non Formal Learning Activities;


  • Work collaboratively with PSET providers, overseas Quality Assurance agencies and other organisations to recognize overseas qualifications in Samoa and to achieve international recognition of Samoa Qualifications.


SQA is meeting these aims by setting a national SQA QUALITY STANDARD for PSET providers comprised of ten (10) elements as follows:

To ensure PSET are of Quality, the following QUALITY ASSURANCE PROCESSES are implemented:

Provider Registration

Process Overview

The following flowchart summarises the process for the SQA evaluation of provider registration applications

Provider fills and sends Provider Listing Form to SQA

Provider Listing Form received, logged and acknowledged by SQA

SQA enters Provider details on Full Application for Registration Form

SQA sends Full Application for Registration to Provider

Provider completes the Full Registration Form with relevant evidence and submits to SQA

SQA Quality Assurance Officers visits the Providers Delivery site and Prepares Report

Report submitted to CEO SQA

Report sent to SQA Board

SQA Board decides and informs the Provider of Registration status

For Registration, PSET providers will need to complete or update Section E of the Registration Form.  PSET provider registration with SQA should supply specific evidence of the establishment of quality systems.  This may be achieved through the provision of a copy of the provider’s Quality Management System (QMS) to SQA.  QMS documents are returned to the provider at the conclusion of the registration exercise.

Each application for provider registration should therefore consist of a copy of each of the following:

  1. The completed Registration Application Form for providers of PSET Services in Samoa
  2. (QA-FPR1; see Appendix B of these Guidelines);
  3. Specific documentation referenced in the above; including
  4. The Provider’s Quality Management System.

Registered PSET Providers

Annual Registration Renewal

Process overview

SQA sends reminding letters to PSET Providers of ARR with ARR Form

PSET Provider submits complete application with relevant evidence to SQA and pays the appropriate ARR fee

ARR fee receipted and application logged and acknowledged by SQA

SQA Quality Assurance Officer assesses the application, conducts site visit if required and prepares report

SQA Board decides and informs the PSET Provider of ARR status

Reminder of Annual Registration Renewal (ARR)

The SQA sends letters reminding PSET providers of their ARR in October of the year before ARR is due.  The letters are to be accompanied by the ARR Form. 

Notices to remind PSET providers of ARR will also be aired and printed in the media during November of the year before ARR is due.

Provider Annual Registration Renewal (ARR) Form

All PSET providers must fill in the ARR Form.  It provides the provider’s contact details and attestation of continuing to meet the criteria for registration as a PSET provider. 

Provider Annual Registration Renewal (ARR) Form

All PSET providers must fill in the ARR Form.  It provides the provider’s contact details and an attestation of continuing to meet the criteria for registration as a PSET provider. 

SQA completes information in all Sections of the ARR Form based on information provided during the initial registration and updates received.  Providers are required to update information entered in the spaces provided.

Each criterion and requirement for Provider Registration is restated in the ARR Form to check that providers continue to meet criteria for Registration as a PSET provider.  Each criterion/requirement must be attributed with either YES or NO in Section E. For criterion where the attribution is NO, providers must provide an explanation for the non-compliance and requires attaching an action plan towards meeting the criteria. 

Providers must also indicate if there have been changes to the information submitted for initial registration and updates forwarded to the Samoa Qualifications Authority.  Sufficient evidence that the changes meet the criteria for provider registration must accompany the application. The governing body from each PSET provider will be responsible in ensuring that the provider annual registration renewal form is correctly filled out and signed.

Programme Accreditation

Process overview

Organisation/Provider sends application to SQA

Application received, logged and acknowledged by SQA

QA Officer carries out preliminary evaluation and requests more information where necessary

CEO SQA appoints Accreditation Panel

Documents sent out to and evaluated by Accreditation Panel members individually

QA Officer collates Accreditation Panel comments

Panel meets and visits Provider and Report prepared

Moderated Report sent to Panel Members for Endorsement, and then to Provider

Report finalised after Panel requirements have been met

CEO submits Report to SQA Board

SQA Board decides and CEO informs the Provider and Panel members

Applications for Programme Accreditation

Programme Accreditation applications lodged with SQA should provide specific evidence of quality systems working at the PSET provider’s Faculty/Department/Programme level within the area of the application. The focus of Programme Accreditation is on specific evidence of the quality systems of the provider in a defined area – not simply provision of documented systems at the broad organisational level.

However, in order that Panel Members may judge whether the provider’s quality systems are being implemented at the Departmental and Programme level, sufficient information must be available to them concerning the provider’s QMS as a whole. Thus each Panel Member needs to be provided with a copy of the full QMS. QMS documents are returned to the provider at the conclusion of the Programme Accreditation exercise.

Each application for Programme Accreditation should therefore consist of the appropriate number of copies (at least four) of:

  • completed Programme Accreditation Application Form for Providers of PSET Services in Samoa;
  • completed PSET Programme Accreditation Self-Evaluation Forms – one for each programme or group of closely related programmes taught within a single department;
  • completed Qualification Registration Form, if the qualification has not already been registered
  • where the qualification(s) awarded, or to be awarded, at the end of the programme of learning has/have not yet been registered on the Samoa Qualifications Framework (SQF), specific documentation that demonstrates that the qualification(s) meet(s) the qualification registration criteria
  • specific documentation referenced in the above as evidence of the quality systems of the provider working at the Faculty/Department/Programme level
  • the provider’s QMS documentation

In situations where the Provider already holds accreditation for the programme from an overseas agency, the Provider is invited to submit a copy of the latest accreditation or quality audit report from that Agency, as evidence that it is meeting one or more of SQA’s Programme Accreditation criteria. Sufficient evidence must be submitted for SQA requirements that are not covered by the overseas Agency’s Quality Standards.

SQA will advise the Provider if more than four copies are required

For example: South Pacific Association of Theological Schools (SPATS); South Pacific Association of Bible Schools (SPABS); International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

List of Accredited Programmes

Accredited Programmes

  1. TIAS Certificate II Office Administration and Computing
  2. TIAS Certificate III in Office Administration and Computing
  3. TI Certificate IV in Office Administration & Computing

Accredited Programmes

  1. DBTC Certificate I in Basic Trades Skills
  2. Samoa Certificate II in Automotive Engineering
  3. Samoa Certificate II in Construction Trades

Accredited Programmes

  1. NUS Certificate II in Maritime (Basic Marine Engineering Rating 2)
  2. NUS Certificate IV in Maritime (Marine Engineering Class 5)
  3. NUS Certificate III in Maritime (Marine Engineering in Watchkeeping Rating 1)
  4. NUS Certificate II in Maritime (Basic Nautical Rating 2)
  5. NUS Certificate III in Maritime (Navigational Watchkeeping Rating I)
  6. NUS Certificate IV in Maritime (Master Class V)
  7. NUS Certificate IV in Adult Teaching
  8. NUS Certificate Level II in Tourism and Hospitality in Cookery
  9. NUS Certificate Level II in Tourism and Hospitality in Food and Beverage
  10. NUS Certificate Level II in T & H in Front Office and Accommodation Services
  11. NUS Certificate Level II T & H in Tour Guiding
  12. Samoa Certificate II in Automotive Engineering
  13. Samoa Certificate II in Construction Trades
  14. Samoa Certificate II in Electrical Engineering
  15. Samoa Certificate II in Fitting and Machining
  16. Samoa Certificate II in Plumbing
  17. Samoa Certificate II in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
  18. Samoa Certificate II in Welding
  19. NUS Trades Certificate II in Panel Beating and Spray Painting
  20. NUS Certificate IV in Computer Operating
  21. NUS Certificate IV in Tropical Horticulture.
  22. NUS Diploma V in Tourism
  23. NUS Diploma V in Business
  24. NUS Diploma V in Office Management
  25. NUS Certificate II in Qualified Fishing Deckhand
  26. Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education)

Accredited Programmes

  1. SBEC Small Business Operation Certificate (Level II)

Accredited Programmes

  1. Samoa Certificate I Trades Foundation Skills
  2. Samoa Certificate I Hospitality
  3. Samoa Certificate II in Construction Trades

Accredited Programmes

  1. ECETTI Certificate Level II in Early Childhood Teaching

Accredited Programmes

  1. UVC Certificate I in Welding and Fabrication
  2. UVC Certificate I in Automotive Engineering
  3. UVC Certificate I in Electrical Engineering

National External Moderation

Process overview

Provider is requested to submit an Annual Assessment Plan to SQA

Provider submits their Assessment Plans to SQA

SQA approves assessment plans and develops the NEM Plan and Schedule

SQA informs Providers of NEM Plan and Schedule & Selection of Moderators

Providers submit Assessment Samples using cover sheet

Panel Moderation is conducted (including Site Visits)

Moderation Panel submits Report and all forms (1-4) to SQA

SQA follows up issues in Moderation Reports with the relevant providers and requests feedback

Feedback is considered. If report is approved, go to step 11 otherwise, Round 2 starts

The two(2) types of Moderation:

(1) Internal Moderation:

This level of Moderation involves moderation of assessments within PSET Provider. It can occur among assessors at a single site, multiple sites or among provider’s registered workplace assessors. Internal Moderation helps to ensure consistency of assessment within organisations, over time and between assessors.

(2) External Moderation:

This level of Moderation takes a national perspective of how assessment decisions and approaches are consistent, fair and valid among assessors. This type is usually conducted by a Quality Assurance/Qualifications Agency and involves the contribution of PSET Providers and Assessors. External Moderation is intended to ensure that quality of assessment activities against NCS’s is consistent, fair and valid nationally.

Registration of Qualification on the SQF

Process overview

Application Checklist

Quality Audit

Process overview

The following flowchart summarises the porcess for the SQA evaluation of provider registration applications

SQA informs Provider of the pending quality audit

Provider conducts a self evaluation

Quality Audit Team Leader conducts pre-quality audit visit to Provider

Quality Audit plan confirmed; Documents submitted to SQA

Documents evaluated by Quality Audit Team

Quality Audit Team visit to Provider

Quality Audit Team drafts the Report; Provider comments; Report modified if appropriate

Final Draft Report sent to SQA Board via CEO

SQA Board decides and informs Provider and Audit Team members

SQA makes the final quality audit report available to the public

Quality Audit Notice

The SQA sends a letter to remind the PSET provider of the pending quality audit six months prior to the audit.

Self Evaluation

The SQA Quality Audit is based on the PSET provider’s self evaluation.  Self evaluation is one of the basic principle of SQA’s quality assurance.  The results provide the Quality Audit Team with core information needed for quality audit.  It should be part of the PSET provider’s Quality Management System.

PSET providers should use the Quality Audit Self Evaluation Form in Appendix B.

Legislative and Quality Assurance Environment

SQA Act 2010 Part IX Section 24 Sub-section 1) Authority to conduct quality audit states:

   The Authority shall evaluate a provider’s effectiveness against the Authority’s quality     standards and criteria and monitor that such provider continues to comply with             prescribed standards and criteria.

The quality audit is a systematic and independent examination of an organisation’s processes, documents and records to confirm alignment with identified quality standards, and whether these activities are effective.  It provides a snapshot of the PSET provider’s compliance with quality standards as demonstrated during registration and accreditation.  The primary purpose of SQA quality audit are to:

  1. assure both the audited PSET provider and stakeholders that the services provided consistenly meets the SQA Quality Standard; and,
  2. identify opportunities for improvement.

It also examines the impact of compliance on creating value from learning experience and, utilization of qualifications for employability and sustainability.  The outcome determines whether or not the registration and accreditation status of the PSET provider should continue (See Appendix A). 

Quality Audit Cycle

The SQA conducts quality audit of PSET providers in accordance to a five year Audit Cycle.  The Quality Audit focuses on Elements of the SQA Quality Standards as determined by the Authority from time to time depending on risks areas identified in quality assurance reports.

Audit Fee

The SQA Act 2010 Part IX Section 24 Sub-section 2 states that the Audited PSET Provider bears the audit fee as prescribed by the SQA Fee Structure within two months of completing the quality audit.

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