17 Jan 2005

Marshalls College removes politicians from board of regents

12:17 pm on 17 January 2005

The College of the Marshall Islands has taken steps to keep its United States accreditation.

Education Minister and board of regents chairman Wilfred Kendall introduced legislation Friday to do himself out of a job by insuring that elected leaders and the secretary of Education are no longer eligible to sit on the board of regents.

Currently, Mr Kendall and Health Minister Alvin Jacklick and Education Secretary Biram Stege are members of the board.

But the U.S.-based Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which accredits the college, identified political involvement in the college's board as a potential conflict of interest.

This is just one problem the association has identified that could lead to suspension of the college's accreditation and with it eligibility for more than $4 million annually in U.S. federal education funding.

That U.S. funding currently represents more than 50 per cent of the college's annual budget.

"The Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which held accreditation review meetings this week that concluded at the weekend (SAT NZT) in San Francisco, is expected to issue a decision on the College of the Marshall Islands' accreditation situation in about three weeks time."

The college is currently on "show cause", the final step before losing accreditation.