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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Dec. 1, 2000 – Marshall Islands Journal)---The number of students in public elementary schools has declined since 1988, according to a recently released report for the Ministry of Education by Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL).

During the 1978-1988 period, the number of public elementary students rose dramatically by 48 percent (from 6,067 to 8,958). But from 1988 to 1999, the number actually decreased by 195 students.

Private elementary schools, on the other hand, grew by 28 percent during the same period. But total public/private elementary enrollment grew just four percent compared to 53 percent from 1978 to 1988.

The Office of Planning and Statistics national census report explains this as the result of a decline in fertility (number of children per family) and a massive out-migration to the U.S. during the 1990s.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail:  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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