A long time educator for the Marshall Islands Hilda Heine blames people's attitudes to education, for its bleak state in the region.
The former secretary for education says the country needs more schools, and better qualified and paid staff to improve education standards.
Hilda Heine, has told graduating Marshall Islands High school students the country is at the bottom of college graduation rates compared to neighbouring countries.
She says that despite the need for college-level training to compete in the job market, fewer than 130 students are enrolled in tertiary education this year.
And Ms Heine says despite education having a high budget, that's not necessarily the solution.
She says people's attitudes towards education need to change.
"We can improve education if we are all committed to it. We talk a lot about it, but we just don't do enough to change how things are. We can't just blame the ministry of education. The schools exist within the context of the communities so communities and families and everyone needs to see the importance of education and do their part."
Hilda Heine says other countries in the region can assist by urging the Marshalls government to spend more on education.