20 Sep 2006

Money not problem behind Marshall Islands school system crisis, says pastor

7:27 pm on 20 September 2006

The pastor at a prominent private school in the Marshall Islands says a lack of money is not the problem behind the country's poorly performing education system.

About 40 million US dollars, nearly a third of the national budget, is to be set aside for the education system in the new fiscal year.

A recent education reports confirmed the learning crisis in the country's schools, with about two thirds of all fourth graders failing Maths and English.

The pastor at Assumption School, Father Richard McAuliff, says their students are thriving from getting basic things like attendance right.

But he says that's not happening in the overall education system, where children who arrive at school late are automatically sent home.

"And the school is not doing them the job of socialising these kids so that they can actually start learning education. So I don't think it has anything to do with money. I think the big thing is if you had teachers who are dedicated in knowing what they're doing so far as socialisation first and then teaching the kids, I think they could make some real terrific headway."