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By Gemma Q. Casas

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, May 5) - A reading specialist of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Public School System says the majority of students are neither proficient in English nor their own native languages.

Josephine Jones-Lizama said most PSS students come from different ethnic backgrounds, which, she added, poses a problem.

"One of our biggest challenges is in English language proficiency. Majority of our students are not proficient in English," she said.

"Our students speak English but they are not proficient. Some of our students are not proficient in English nor are they proficient in their native languages. They are kind of in the middle," she added.

She said not all students are capable of building a strong grasp of different languages at the same time.

"Students who have a little bit of both have a hard time transitioning to the concepts and really grasping the roots of the English language," she said.

PSS, she added, has formed a team that will make recommendations on how to make the students more proficient in English.

May 6, 2005

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