30 May 2006

Medical school in Cook Islands up and running - with four students

7:30 pm on 30 May 2006

The chief academic officer of the new South Pacific School of Medicine in the Cook Islands says it has already received a number of enquiries.

The medical school, which has been approved by the Ministry of Health, the Cabinet and the Cook Islands Development Investment Board, has just opened its doors to its first students.

The chief academic officer, Dr Edward Dick, says the first group of four students is from the United States.

And, Dr Dick says he has had a number enquiries from Pacific Island countries.

"i have fielded some from Australia - I have faculty persons who have offered to come and teach - it really has sparked quite a interest and I should say a positive interest"

Despite the government's official support, sources in the Cook Islands say there are conserns over credibility, the level of due diligence undertaken, the quality of lecturers and the curriculum.

A committee, formed by the deputy prime minister in the Cook Islands, is investigating these concerns.