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By Moneth G. Deposa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, July 2) –Thirty principals from Korea were on island last week to look into the CNMI’s education system.

Ladera International School of Saipan president Yong Nam Park on Thursday met with the group as they inspected the school and three other Saipan schools.

"Their purpose was to physically witness the overall environment of the CNMI, understand the general education system on island and inspect our campus to come up with the idea or a plan to develop opportunities when sending their students abroad to study, either short or long term," Park said.

The Korean educators were on island since June 25 and were impressed with the natural and safe environment which the CNMI can offer to students, Park said.

"They were happy with the facilities LISS established to accommodate the students. Being principals and educators, they were mainly interested in the quality of education that can be provided here," he said.

LISS presented its academic standards, curriculum and staff to the visitors.

"They were satisfied and impressed with the staff members here at the school…as we look after the safety of our students," Park said.

He described the visit as important for LISS which he described as a pioneer in promoting the CNMI as an "edu-tourism" destination.

He said the school has been investing heavily in promoting the CNMI overseas.

"One of the greatest outcomes of these promotions was the Korean principals’ visit," Park said. "Who can be more effective than those principals from selected schools when recommending that their students study in the CNMI?"

He said the visit allowed the Korean educators to better understand the educational opportunities in the CNMI.

According to Park, LISS has received feedback from the school familiarization inspection tour conducted by 12 agents and coordinated by Asiana Airlines and the Marianas Visitor Authority.

Park said based on the assessment report provided by MVA, LISS topped all schools inspected that offer English as a second language, or ESL, program on Saipan.

These schools include Saipan International School, Mount Carmel School, Calvary Christian Academy and Northern Marianas College.

Park said LISS was highly rated for its strength in understanding about the Korean ESL market system and for having a dormitory.

He said LISS is also linked to Northwest Missouri State University, Missouri Academy and Horace Mann Elementary School.

"We were able to send 14 scholars to Missouri Academy this year from Korea and we have 18 slots open for scholarship in August. The potential to recruit students from Saipan is possible….we are opening opportunities not just for Asian countries but for Saipan. Through our curriculum and teacher exchange programs, LISS academic standards will become even higher," Park said.

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