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American Samoa

Official Country Name: American Samoa
Region: Oceania
Population: 65,446
Language(s): Samoan, English
Literacy Rate: 97%

American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States. The capital is Pago Pago, which is located on the island of Tutilla. The islands are located approximately 2200 hundred miles southwest of the Hawaiian Islands.

American Samoa has a total land area of 77 miles that includes 5 inhabited islands and 1 uninhabited coral atoll. The estimated population in 2000 was 65,446 and the literacy rate was 97 percent.

The area came under U.S. control in 1900 and was presided over by the Navy until 1951. In 2001, the Department of the Interior administered American Samoa.

The Director of Education in 2001 was Mr. Silia Sataua, who oversaw more than 14,000 students in the public school system. The system comprises 90 early childhood education centers (preschools for three- and four-year-olds situated in the villages); 22 consolidated elementary schools; and three high schools with three new high schools under construction. American Samoa also has a vocational-technical school and a community college.

Nine parochial schools and a Montessori preschool provide private education; the latter is operated by the Poor Sisters of Nazareth. The church-sponsored schools service approximately 2000 students.

Education is compulsory and free for all children between the ages of 6 and 18. The focus of American Samoan education is "education for export," since the majority of young people relocate to the United States.

The American Samoa Community College is an accredited, open admission, coeducational land grant institution. The two-year institution provides transfer programs, vocational training, programs in adult education and literacy, and Samoan and Pacific studies.


American Samoa U.S. Territory, 2000. Available from http://www.prel.org/pacific_region/am_samoa/index.html.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The World Factbook 2000. Directorate of Intelligence, 1 January 2000. Available from http://www.cia.gov.

Holmes, Lowell D., and Ellen Rhoads Holmes. Samoan Village Then and Now, 2nd ed. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1992.

Public Schools in American Samoa, 1999. Available from http://www.government.as/education.html.

—Morgan Axel Peterson

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