15 Nov 2004

College of Marshall Islands says basic education lacking from school leavers

2:13 pm on 15 November 2004

The College of the Marshall Islands is predicting that it will take many years to overcome basic failings in the education system.

The college's dean of student services, Richard Bruce, was speaking after the news that all 90 of the islands' candidates failed the U.S. army entrance test despite the pass mark being 31 out of 100.

He says the government is this year pumping a lot more money into primary and high school education but it may take five to six years for that to show results.

Mr Bruce says only seven percent of the school leavers that they tested, reached college credit level, so many of their first year courses cater for developmental or remedial levels.

"Instead of us focussing more on college level courses, we sort of spend much more time on the majority of our students coming in and preparing them for college. But, then I think it's important that the college also extend and provide a much stronger remediation programme for our students."

Mr Bruce says there are problems with the quality of teachers, the curriculum and the poor level of English that many students have.