18 Sep 2006

Marshalls devotes a third of its budget to improving poor public education

11:37 am on 18 September 2006

The Marshall Islands is set to spend nearly one-third of its national budget of 124 million US dollars in an effort to improve its poorly performing public school system.

Around 40 million dollars is being set aside in the budget for the new fiscal year.

Seventy percent of the Marshall Islands budget is funded by United States, Taiwan and other donor grants.

The U.S. is providing more than 70 million dollars and Taiwan is contributing 13 million.

Taiwan has upped its usual annual funding of $10 million by adding $3 million to fund household solar systems for remote islands.

While education is getting the bulk of funding in the country, nearly 26 million, or 21 percent, is proposed for health-related improvements, including the launching of second-phase redevelopment for the main hospital in the capital, Majuro.

An education report issued last week, confirmed the learning crisis in Marshall Islands schools.

Results of a test given to all fourth graders in the country showed that 68 percent of fourth graders failed maths and 60 percent failed English.

Even in the local language, Marshallese, only about 50 percent of the

fourth grade students managed passing grades.