10 Apr 2006

Marshalls registers literacy improvements

3:39 pm on 10 April 2006

Officials in the Marshall Islands are pleased with a slight improvement in the quality of education there.

The Marshalls public education system has long been seen as one of the worst among American-affiliated islands in the Pacific.

Test scores and consultants' reports confirm the low levels of achievement among grade four students, so the latest results have delighted the Minister of Education, Wilfred Kendall and Secretary Biram Stege.

The Pacific Islands Literacy Levels, or PILL, test shows a modest overall improvement in English language skills among public and private school students.

Mr Stege says this shows that the focus on literacy is paying off.

The PILL test showed that those with poor skills in English went down from 69 percent in 1998 to 60 percent in 2005.

The improvement in Marshallese literacy went from 76 percent at risk in 1998 to 53 percent last year.

However in mathematics the at risk percentage increased slightly from 66 to 68 percent.

The Ministry says not withstanding the language improvements there is no room for complacency given a substantial majority of the grade four population remains at risk.