7 May 2007

UNESCO wants Marshalls to take up more programmes on offer

11:01 am on 7 May 2007

United Nations programme officials say that the Marshall Islands

is not taking advantage of the help UNESCO can offer.

But officials at the Ministry of Education, which coordinates activities

with UNESCO, say they put a priority on managing United States-funded education programmes because the US is injecting much higher-levels of assistance than the UN agency.

UN education officials in Majuro say that in contrast to links with other Pacific island nations, UNESCO is not funding core programmes in the Marshalls

The director of the Marshall' s Economic Policy, Planning and Statistics Office, Carl Hacker, said that after a recent meeting with UNESCO officials in New Caledonia it has become clear that the organisation is very concerned.

But the MArshall's Education Secretary, Biram Stege, said the US is injecting more than $25 million into education programmes and construction this year, while UNESCO's small grants programme provides about $100,000 annually.