15 Nov 2004

College of Marshall Islands says basic education lacking in school leavers

7:59 pm on 15 November 2004

The College of the Marshall Islands says there are fundamental problems with primary and secondary schooling which are failing too many students.

The college's dean of student services, Richard Bruce, was speaking after the news that all 90 of the islands' candidates failed the U.S. army entrance test despite the pass mark being 31 out of 100.

Mr Bruce says they also find many school leavers don't have sufficient English to cope with college courses so they put them through developmental or remedial courses.

"We went out and tested students from all over the RMI. Basically for last year, 2004, only seven percent of the students tested were able to make it into the English credit level. There were 521 students that were tested. You can see that there's a very, very small number of students here in the RMI that are able to make it into the college level classes"

Mr Bruce says this year the government is putting a lot more money into education and teacher quality control but the results are unlikely to be seen for the next five to six years.