6 Sep 2005

Recommendations made to overhaul Marshall Islands education system

3:39 pm on 6 September 2005

An overhaul of the poorly performing public education system in the Marshall Islands is being recommended to the president and the cabinet.

A study of the sector showed many teachers were unqualified or had only basic skills, some were not turning up for work, and many schools in the outer islands failed to provide students with a proper education.

A local consultant, Ben Chutaro, says nearly 70 of the 76 public schools are in the outer islands and despite education receiving the largest funds of any sector, it's difficult to find the right people and the right training.

He says a number of recommendations are before the cabinet, including an overhaul of the Public Service Commission which controls education, independent accreditation for schools, and decentralisation of some decision making.

"By having a local school board, they could have a better oversight of what's going on in their community. That was one option, another - because a lot of the schools are small and have very small student populations, consideration of creating a middle school or school consolidation to try to have a rational level of students in a school."

Mr Chutaro says it is now up to the government to make decisions on what recommendations should be implemented.

The study, which he took part in, is a pilot project funded by the Asian Development Bank, on reform in the public service.