NZODA scholarships : A study of the factors influencing the academic success of Western Samoan scholarship students in New Zealand and Fiji : A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Applied Science at Lincoln University
The New Zealand Government has offered scholarships to Western Samoan students to study overseas since 1922 under the NZODA programme. Since the late 1980's the National University of Samoa has provided the greatest number of these students through the University Preparatory Year programme. However, concern has been expressed by authorities in Western Samoa and by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the level of academic success of many of these students. Accordingly, NZMFAT decided to undertake the National University of Samoa Support and Development Project in the early 1990's in order to enhance the preparation of Samoan students for overseas study. Previously, NZMFAT policy had been to support regional institutions, in this case the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji. Component Seven of the NUSSDP was designed to ascertain the extent of academic success I failure of Western Samoan scholarship students studying in Fiji and in New Zealand, and to establish the key factors influencing the success rate, differentiating by gender. This would be to generate recommendations to improve academic performance. An examination of grades of Samoan men and women studying under the scholarship scheme revealed that significant rates of failure exist. Men tend to have significantly lower pass rates than women. Male students in Fiji in particular have the greatest difficulties, with science and science related subjects causing the biggest problems. This is related to scholarship allocation, as more men complete the science option at UPY. Male students in New Zealand and female students at USP however are currently achieving better grades than former students. A review of relevant literature provided the basis for interview topics. Interviews with students and key informants then revealed several areas of possible improvement. These relate specifically to the National University of Samoa as well as to the universities of New Zealand and USP in Fiji. Recent improvements such as a restructuring of NUS and the placement of a Student Counsellor in Wellington for New Zealand based students have proved beneficial: the suggestions made will enhance these improvements. Differences between students in New Zealand and Fiji in terms of achievement appear to be chiefly related to the level of support, both perceived and actual. New Zealand students feel supported, while students in Fiji report feeling isolated. Students in Fiji also receive their allowance in two lump sum payments yearly, increasing budgeting difficulties. A list of recommendations comprises the final chapter of this study, and relate chiefly to further enhancements of the UPY programme at NUS. Systems in place for monitoring student progress in all three study areas need upgrading, and support systems in place at UPY and at USP need improvement. Other recommendations include a more in - depth orientation programme in all study areas, study skills programmes at NUS, and suggestions for lecturers in New Zealand to better understand the specific needs of Samoan students.... [Show full abstract]
KeywordsNew Zealand Official Development Assistance; scholarships; academic success; international students; National University of Samoa; University of the South Pacific
Fields of Research390303 Higher education; 4514 Pacific Peoples education
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