Marshalls’ Education Summit Aims To Address Poor Results At Kwajalein

Engage with the public, local educators and students to find ways to improve education outcomes

Giff Johnson

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, September 19, 2016) – A plan for an education summit for Kwajalein Atoll is gaining momentum, reported Kwajalein Atoll Development Authority Director Carl Hacker Friday.

Kwajalein Atoll public schools include those on Ebeye Island, where about 12,000 islanders live in over-crowded conditions near the U.S. Army’s Reagan Test Site, where many Marshall Islanders work. Kwajalein schools have historically produced among the lowest academic results in the Marshall Islands and this year’s national test results showed that only 25 percent of eighth graders at schools in Kwajalein Atoll were “proficient” at their grade level.

The education summit idea was initiated by Kwajalein Senator David Paul, who is in his first year as a member of parliament, and says he wants to bring in a few resource people to engage with the public, local educators and students to find ways to improve school results.

At a recent meeting at the College of the Marshall Islands, “there was an initial discussion on a summit for education and Kwajalein Atoll —what can we do to improve and expand education outcomes and opportunities?” said Hacker.

The tentative date for the summit is Nov. 9-10. People involved in organizing the summit are “looking to include as much participation as possible” along with public and private school representatives, Hacker said.

The summit aims to look at new approaches and new thinking, and what can be done to improve outcomes for students at Ebeye and other islands in Kwajalein Atoll. “How can we improve ownership of education and outcomes?” said Hacker, who is a former president of the College of the Marshall Islands.

The annual national test results released in July, which include Kwajalein Atoll schools, showed that 10th and 12th graders had overall “proficiency” rates of just 19 and 20 percent, respectively.

Regional test data recently released by the Pacific Islands Literacy and Numeracy Assessment also showed that Marshall Islands fifth and seventh graders tested among the lowest in the Pacific.

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