16 Dec 2010

Call for educational improvements to cope with Micronesian migration

6:45 pm on 16 December 2010

A discussion paper on Micronesian migration calls on regional leaders to use education funding more effectively.

Micronesia has the highest per capita net emigration rates in the world, with more than 50,000 citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Northern Mariana islands, Palau and the Marshall Islands, or about 20 percent of their combined resident populations, living abroad.

The Pacific Institute of Public Policy's release of the paper this week was timed to coincide with the bi-annual summit of the region's leaders in Palau.

A member of the institute's advisory council and a Marshall Islands policy analyst, Ben Graham, says many migrants from his country have very limited skills and struggle to integrate into their new environment - be it Honolulu or the mainland United States.

"That particular problem is something we can address. We do get a fair amount of resources that we spend on education but getting more out of those resources is really probably one of the other important messages of this discussion paper."

Ben Graham says that will also benefit people who choose not to emigrate.