30 Jun 2006

Marshalls graduates struggle to meet college standards

1:08 pm on 30 June 2006

A senior official of the College of the Marshall Islands has told a meeting of business leaders that up to 99 percent of high school graduates in the Marshall Islands are unable to qualify for credit-level college courses.

However, the college's vice president for academic and student affairs, John Tuthill, told the Majuro Chamber of Commerce that the poor academic qualifications of graduating high school seniors is not just an issue for the Marshall Islands.

Even in the United States, he said, as many as 70 percent of all high school graduates must take pre-credit college courses before they qualify for college-level work.

In the Marshall Islands, the vast majority of students must take at least two-to-three semesters of remedial English and math courses to improve their ability to be able to take credit level courses.

Education Secretary Biram Stege says the Ministry has started a pre-nine class at the main public high school on Majuro this past year to give students who didn't pass the high school entrance test another chance to raise their skills.

In addition, she said, the Ministry is working to develop an exit test for high school seniors that they are required to pass in order to receive their diplomas.

The aim is to step-up the expectations of the teachers to reach the required academic standards for graduation.