23 Apr 2007

Principals lack control over quality of teachers in Marshall Islands

1:36 pm on 23 April 2007

There are still major concerns being voiced over the public school education system in the Marshall Islands despite a modest improvement in students test scores.

The government has allocated more than 25 percent of its budget to the education sector and is building new school rooms and providing textbooks.

But, our correspondent, Giff Johnson, says the majority of the funds goes towards salaries for teachers, half of whom only have a high school diploma.

He says there's also little discretion for principals to control the quality of public school teachers who are employed by the public service commission.

"The principals have no control over their staff in terms of hiring, firing or discipline. So, whether somebody shows up to work or not, does a good job or not, they have no ability to intervene in a positive or negative way. So, how can you get improvement in your workforce if you have no control of it."

Giff Johnson says there is also a problem with high truancy rates of students.