13 Jun 2008

High petrol prices said to be affecting schools in FSM

8:01 am on 13 June 2008

As petrol prices in American Samoa reach a high of $4.34 per gallon at some gas stations in the territory, one U.S. Pacific jurisdiction is facing much higher prices making it difficult to meet the needs of its education system.

In testimony to a congressional committee, the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for insular areas, Thomas Bussanich, said the higher cost of fuel and utilities is severely affecting the ability of education departments to maintain properly

functioning school systems in the Federated States of Micronesia.

He says the cost of fuel there which has reached $6.00 a gallon in some jurisdictions, is restricting central office staff from making routine trips to outer islands to conduct teacher training, deliver textbooks and related teaching supplies, and to conduct annual student testing.

Additionally, the increasing cost of electricity is causing black-outs.

He says random power disables teachers' ability to conduct computer classes and disrupts administrators'ability to send or receive faxes, and to complete and

electronically transmit required reports.